The thing is, before Jim and I got together, I had reached an understanding with life. I had learned that being alone is not the worst thing in the world.
I could picture my life, as I segued into my elder years; living alone in a little apartment, with a cat or two, and my grown children within calling distance and grandchildren on demand. I knew getting through raising the rest of the kids was going to be a bear, but I could finally see beyond that, after they had all gone out into the world to make their own way. I hoped to have been a good enough mother that they would stay in touch, but I was willing to let them get on with their lives, and to recognize that child-rearing was just a part of my life, and not my whole reason for being.
I had known Jim since 1984, and realized I loved him five years later. It was eight years after that when we started our romantic relationship--in the Autumn.
I was ecstatic. It seemed as if all the hard times had melted away. He was all I had ever wanted in a man, and when he asked me to marry him, I thought heaven had to be right there and then.
I was not looking at him through rose-coloured glasses. I knew he had a dark side. I knew he drank too much. I knew he was prone to melancholy. I knew he was stubborn and opinionated. I loved him--in spite of...because of...who knows? I loved him.
So my thoughts and plans of a single elder life got thrown out the window.
Now, I must find them again, and work my mind around to liking the idea. Again.
It was easier to do when all my romantic relationships had been destructive. It is definitely more difficult after having known what it is to love and be loved by the most wonderful man.
Still, at least I have that. And being alone is much better than having a relationship on any other terms.