I Married Young. I Was Widowed Young. I Never Want A Long-Term Partner Again

I Married Young. I Was Widowed Young. I Never Want A Long-Term Partner Again

When my husband died, I vowed to stay single in my after-life. Not because I was grieving, but because domestic partnership was something I had no interest in doing again. My marriage was traumatic in a way that I wasn’t fully cognizant of until it ended abruptly and my need to raise my four children in a household free of toxicity became my first priority.  My vow to stay a single mother would not mean limiting myself sexually and emotionally. I decided I would keep lovers — non-committal but satisfying short-term pairings. What I came to find was that this decision, which steered me away from the kind of relationships I was conditioned to accept as status quo, would lead to the least toxic and most beneficial relationships I have ever been in.. They would be non-monogamous. Queer. Sex-positive. Often involving multiple partners — sometimes together. They would be shameless. Transparent. Communicative. Respectful and loving in a way I didn’t think was possible. They would be long-distance. Short-distance. Boundaried. Safe. Liberating and paradoxically stable. And always outside my home. Within months of casual dating, though, I fell in love. He met my children; he came to our home. But because he lived in another state and was only in my hometown of Los Angeles part-time, it still felt safe, like I wasn’t overcommitted. In order to preserve my quest for casual, we continued to see other people, to explore non-monogamy. But when he moved to LA, something shifted. I realized I was not capable of a “normal” relationship. That the boundaries drawn at the beginning weren’t enough. Our relationship began to resemble something I didn’t want, and I ended it rather suddenly.  As it turned out, relationship security for me would come from separating “church and state.” Since then, I have kept my intimate relationships apart from my children.  It is often expected of women, especially single mothers with children, to yearn for stability — “get off the apps” and “find your person.” But often, conventional relationships don’t benefit women. I have watched many heteronormative marriages dissolve in quarantine for this reason. Women are tapped out. We do not have the energy to support the emotional demands of husbands, especially when we are doing the bulk of the domestic labor, not to mention holding down jobs.  Beyond that, so many single women are traumatized by our past relationships. We know what we want, and certainly what we don’t want g

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