Alone Time

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Alone Time
With Frank away for four days Audrey ponders being home alone.

Well, so Frank left Sunday morning for a four-day business trip to San Francisco. Which is great for him, I mean, San Francisco is awesome. I’d love a free trip there. It’s just weird because that’s kind of almost the longest Frank and I have gone being apart, pretty much since we met. Probably a Christmas or Thanksgiving trip has topped it, but at least then we were both home visiting family, not one person left alone in a two-person apartment.

And I realize that is completely vomit-inducing to be like “Oh we’ve never been apart so long waah.” I am fully aware that I’m totally lucky that I’m not dating someone who has to travel for work a lot or is in the military or who has to live apart from me for an extended period of time. My intention is not to complain. Or well actually I guess it is but I’m trying to mitigate the irritatingness with self-awareness.

I detest the idea that I am now the sort of person who doesn’t feel complete without their partner around, and to be fair, I don’t think it’s that exactly. I mean, Frank and I do plenty of stuff separately. I guess I’m just always amazed at the extent to which living with a person can be habit forming.

If I were single, I think I’d like living alone, but being alone in a two-person apartment isn’t the same as living alone. Just so much of each of our day-to-day routine is intertwined with the other’s—when I get up in the morning, when and what I have for dinner, who gets to pick what’s on the TV, the cleanliness of the apartment. Everything.

And so to be alone for a day or four is an odd feeling, because on the one hand, it’s not like I have time to develop entirely new habits and ways of doing things by myself because as soon as I get adjusted to them, Frank will be home again. But it’s a long enough time that the fun of leaving dirty clothes on floor and talking to myself and eating stuff he hates and staying out extra-late with friends has worn off.

So I basically end up sticking to a routine that feels completely arbitrary without the other person there, and at the same time feeling sort of sad because the routine makes the absence all the more noticeable. Plus also on top of that I get this feminist guilt that it shouldn’t matter whether Frank’s around or not and if I’m changing my routines to suit him then that’s a problem on its own anyway. 

Which by the way, can I just add that my ideas about what is a feminist decision has changed so much since deciding to live with a partner? Hopefully this doesn’t mean that I have bowed to the patriarchy. I think maybe it’s just that my ideas were kind of jerky. I mean, sure, a woman shouldn’t have to change her ways and preferences to keep a man happy, but any two people are going to both have to bend a little and find a compromise to any point of contention, or else it’s sorta not fair. Anyway.

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