Yesterday, dumb as a brick, I changed the status on my Facebook page from single to “in a relationship.” It was the truth. I would gently edge into my new identity. I thought no one would notice.
Ha. Within minutes I received dozens of comments from all around the country, including from many Open Salon friends.
You see, I have this brand. Single woman. Solo traveler. Solo lady. For eight years, since my husband died, I’ve nurtured it along, with a book and a website and interviews and panels. My anthem, viral post Why I’m Alone, written in March, was quoted all over the place because of its authenticity about loving my solitary existence. I was noted around the web as a "role model.” A “happy single” rather than a “crappy single.”
So what do I go and do? I meet this man a week after I wrote that post. And now, seven months later I’m in a relationship. No, even more. Living with the man. Absolutely in love.
Some of you caught it in my comments here and messaged me. I admitted it, but wasn’t ready to go public.
Oh yes, I fought it, let me tell you. “I need space.” “I want to be alone.” (Greta Garbo had nothing on me.) “I’m too old for this.” “I’m too formed.” “I like to stay up until 2 am.” “I’m not giving up the Housewives Series on Bravo.” “I want to go out with my single girlfriends whenever I want.” “I like quiet.” “I like my own bathroom.”
The man didn’t budge. We worked things out. He wants me to be happy. He says, “Why should you change?"
I didn’t tell him I loved him for a long time, even though he declared it early on. The man said he’d wait it out. I put him through the trauma of moving out of my New York house. He was patient and caring. He slept in a top bunk in my granddaughter’s room and did the cleanup when I was redecorating my son’s house.
He was incorrigible. He doesn't care that I don't fish or sail, or that I've gained weight from all the wining and dining and traveling around. He likes me just the way I am.
He is age-appropriate, he loves his work, he unabashedly loves me. He does the dishes, does his laundry, acts like a teenager in the bedroom, and makes me laugh.
And Sweetie, my cat, sits between us whenever possible and nudges him out of the way, but she hasn’t nipped him in weeks.
A couple of weeks ago I went to New England to see where he used to live and then on to meet his sister. I had a load of questions, including “Has he always been so sweet?” (Yes, except for an early period when he was full of himself.)
So I decided he is as good as he seems. I declared my love. I introduced him to my friends last weekend (“Lovely, witty, attractive man. A keeper”)
So I guess it’s official. I'm outed. I’m changing my brand from “solo lady” to “independent lady.”
And no one is more surprised, and delighted, than I am.