Shacking Up at 49

I swore I’d live alone forever, and then I met someone who knew how to spell “Hemingway”

Happy together.

When my husband left three-and-a-half years ago, I was angry and scared and sad … and so happy to have a whole house to myself that I could have spit nickels.

It’d been years — 16, to be exact — since I’d lived alone. I wandered into the half-empty rooms that no longer held 47 different guitars and speakers and giant extension cords and old Creem magazines, and I was gladdened.

My ex is a musician, and I didn't play a single note of music in my house for the first six months after he left. I enjoyed the quiet, which had been so rare before. If music hadn’t been blaring from a computer or Victrola (swear) or our collection of 8-track players (swear, again), there was a music documentary on the TV. So for six months? Nothing. Just the birds outside and the click of my dogs’ paws on the wood floors.

I loved that it took three days to fill up the dishwasher. I loved that if I left half the pizza in the fridge, it’d all still be there next time I looked. Toilet paper always got replaced. Towels stayed off the floor. Living alone was heaven, and I decided it was how I was going to live forever.

So why, then, is all my stuff in boxes, on its way to live with my new man?

A little more than two years ago, I met someone. I’d been dating the universe, because it turns out a divorced woman with a job, her own house and no kids is like the middle-aged single dude’s dream girl. But once this man showed up, no one else was interesting.

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He spelled “Hemingway” right in his emails. He opened doors for me, and did not expect to go halfsies at brunch the way some men did. He loved Woody Allen movies, and he could kiss like a demon. So I fell in love with him. And for a while, that was enough.

We’d spend our weekends together; Sundays meant an independent, depressing movie (he loves depressing movies) followed by dinner, and if the weather was good, drinks on my patio. Then he’d leave and we’d see each other later in the week.

After a while, I started to notice that on Sunday evenings, on our drive from dinner to my deck, I would get sad. And wistful. And when I’d watch his car back out of my drive, all of my fibers were aching to pull him back.

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And I knew then, when my fibers got all pully, that I wanted more, and that my stupid living-alone plan was not working for me. That I’d be willing to run the dishwasher every day, and maybe have boy things like cords back in the drawers again. I was willing to pretty much put up with anything, as long as I could have that good-spelling man around me all the time.

So at age 49, we’re loading the trucks and heading into the unknown as we share a big old 1913 house that we’re renting. I hate unknowns; did I mention that?

What if we’re too set in our ways and we hate each other after a month? What if my "Long Island Medium" habit is too much for him? What if his cat abhors my dogs and their clicky nails?

But. What if we watch the sunset from our pretty deck every night? What if seeing him every morning is just what I need to soothe my chaotic, ridiculous soul? What if we lie in bed and listen to the crickets, and laugh at stupid things, and buy measuring cups together, and it’s wonderful?

That is what I’m hoping for. It’s what I really, really hope. And you know what’s nice? Do you know what’s better than finding half a pizza left intact?


Tags: dating