Friday, April 19, 2024

Ask Amy: I don’t know how to tell my family that I want to be alone

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Dear Amy: I am a 50-something mother of adult children. I have healthy relationships with my parents, siblings, children, and loving partner.

All that said: I want to be alone. I have never lived alone. I lived with my family, then in a university residence, with roommates, with a partner, then children. I got divorced but had kids at home, developed a new romantic relationship, merged households and now the kids are grown and everything is fine. The world may be going to hell, but I’m grateful that my little corner of the world is happy and healthy.

I’m a brand new empty nester and that has delighted me – because I can be more alone. I love my partner and my family, but I want to be fully and completely alone in my own home for weeks on end. (I’m not talking about downtime or a weekend.) My job is such that I could manage to be alone for one to three months, but I feel like my family would be so injured!

I share a house with my partner, so they would have to leave – or I would. I could afford this option. This has nothing to do with anyone but me. I just want to live in isolation for a while. Any advice on how I might approach this topic with those I love and those who love me and need me? I would like a script to explain that it’s not them, it’s me!

— Modern-day Greta Garbo

Greta: Every year for the past 15 years, I have spent a month alone – isolated and away from family and friends – so I understand this distinct motivation well.

Women of our generation tend to be the caretakers of the “kinship”, and once the chickens leave the nest, the desire to take stock and perhaps not tend to the needs of others for a while weather can be very strong. But you don’t have to ask permission from your children or other family members to be alone. They are all adults and they will have to deal with what may seem like an oddity to them, but which is a real need for you.

No script is therefore necessary. You’re trying something new (and – if your loved ones are healthy and doing well – now is the time for you to do it). Did you take it personally or feel hurt when your children left home? You didn’t, and neither should they.

You and your partner can solve this problem in a variety of creative ways. You can rent somewhere nearby where you can live in the house for two weeks at a time, perhaps spending a night together every once in a while.

Dear Amy: I am a 35 year old man. My wife and I married in our 20s and immediately became “parents” to her niece, who moved in with us just before her 10th birthday. We raised her exclusively and, in my opinion, we did a very good job. Our niece is no longer home and we have mutually agreed that we do not want to have children together.

I appreciate this stage of our lives. We are both successful in our profession and are physically active on the weekends – hiking, biking, and skiing in the winter. My wife seems depressed lately. She picks on me for things that didn’t bother her before.

We finally had a heart-to-heart and she said she wanted to have an “open” marriage. She set the ground rules and basically said if I didn’t agree to this she would cheat on me. I absolutely don’t want to do that. I feel trapped and don’t know what to do next.

Hurt: I think your wife is probably already cheating and is now trying to get you to accept it retroactively. Even if not, she has presented you with a non-negotiable unacceptable. Maintain your dignity and contact a lawyer.

Dear Amy: Superstitious» was wondering how to get rid of a wedding ring from her previous marriage. The ring had really bad mojo.

As I drove away from my cheating husband, I rolled down the passenger side window, ripped off my gold wedding ring, and threw it out the window. It made the most beautiful ringing sound as it hit the pavement.

Free: Many readers disagree, but I argue that sometimes you just have to throw the ring.

© 2024 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

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