Treading on Eggshells

January 30, 2012 § 59 Comments

I went to see a friend this weekend who is deeply depressed because she and her partner are getting on atrociously and constantly arguing.  He demeans her all the time, puts her down.  She is the most upbeat person I know, and yet he has brought her very low.  Whittling away daily at her confidence by telling her how crap she is in every which way.  This is a man who, in my view, should be counting his lucky stars that he is with this funny, clever, youthful, gorgeous woman.  But no.  She has given him beautiful children and is a wonderful mother and human being and he tells her she has ruined his life.

“It’s funny,” she said, as we sat on her sofa together, “when you are single, all you pine for is to be with somebody; but when you are with somebody, you pine to be single again.”

She is so right in some ways.  It’s a funny thing to say as the Plankton, but there are many ways in which I relish being on my own.  And I am not talking about autonomy with regards to the television remote control.  Perhaps the greatest gift of being alone is no longer having eggshells beneath one’s feet and to be living in fear of treading on them.

This is the phrase I hear all the time from my girlfriends in unhappy marriages or relationships (and I am sorry to say that the unhappy v happy ones stand at about 90/10).  The sheer strain of eggshell treading, day in, day out, as a heart-in-mouth method of trying to prevent The Male Mood, which in some cases can go on for days and days.  Men are less inclined to bury their Moods.  They are happy to cast a pall over an entire household if they so wish.  Women are better at covering up, I think, suspending their mood so as not to sully the atmosphere to everyone’s cost and misery.  I may be wrong.  But observation tells me loudly and clearly that this is the case.

Sometimes, no amount of light-footed treading can avert the Male Mood; then it’s sickness in the stomach until it lifts.  Another friend was telling me that her partner has it for days, sometimes weeks.  He calls it depression.  She thinks “depression” in his case is no more than being spoilt, and a license to behave with supreme selfishness.  She has contemplated being alone and speaks of it holding no fear for her.  She has an extraordinary strength and confidence and spirituality, way beyond my own.  “I’d never be alone,” she says, “even if I were alone.”  And she means it.  Plankton does not enter her vocabulary.

So many friends are telling me of the bad times they are going through.  The strong, spiritual one believes there is something in the water, something extraordinary going on in our times.  Men lost and weird.  Women in pain.  Marriages going down like victims of the plague.

Of course, I see and know all this, but it still doesn’t stop me from wanting to be with someone.  Because there are just a few marriages one observes which have their small-scale struggles, sure, but which are fundamentally oozing with love and respect.  There are Mr and Mrs Standard Bearer, those lovely stalwarts, but I can think of a handful of others I know, such as the incredible pair I saw this weekend.  I know them so well, they are both extremely special, both as individuals and as a couple, and I have looked and listened (not in a nasty way, I assure you, more in an admiring one) and I swear there just is no chink.

So for all my railing in former posts about it being better to be in a shitty marriage/partnership than none at all, perhaps I only believe that to a certain extent and don’t in fact live by it when it comes down to it.  I do relish the fact there isn’t an eggshell to be seen or trodden upon in my life.  And when I come upon a distressed friend, I do not instantly urge her to hang on in there daily to be reduced and perennially to carry on trying to render herself as light as fucking meringue so as never to smithereen the vista of eggshells covering every surface of her tension home.  No, instead, I gently ask if she has ever considered bailing out and the answer comes back, All the time.

“He went away for five days, and it was bliss,” she admits.  “In many ways, I yearn to be alone.”

I simply tell her that it isn’t easy, and in many ways it is hell.  Not in every way, but many.

And that it is always an option.


§ 59 Responses to Treading on Eggshells

  • Elle says:

    It is better to be alone than to be with somebody and treading eggshells all the time. Many of these women who tread eggshells are women who “settled”. While they were dating they turned a blind eye to their partner’s sarcasm, criticism, cheating, drinking or depression (or any combination of these). These women were in the minority when I was younger but I think that more young women are putting up with such behaviour today because there is such a stigma attached to being a single woman.

    In the 80s and 90s feminism still had some clout and women could leave abusive men and live a single life with pride. Nowadays being single is so stigmatised that women are covertly encouraged via tabloid newspapers, trashy magazines and trashy TV to stay with abusive men. Every month there is a story about a WAG type who has opted to “stand by her man” despite his disgraceful carry-on. Otherwise it’s a story about a woman who has been dumped by her partner and is pining away while he lives it up with new women (eg Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher and Katy Perry/Russell Brand). No thinking person pays heed to these celebrities but why does the popular press put pressure on women to have a man in order to validate their existence? In the 21st century when we are all well capable of earning our own living!

    Many plankton women who have been single all their lives grew up in a household where everyone had to tread eggshells on account of a father’s moods. These women, despite the pressures of society today, have opted for a single life and the freedom of choice that goes with it.

  • MissM says:

    Stating up front this is only my opinion, and others will most likely disagree, which is fine, just going to share my feelings for the sake of it. Those feeling are that in those circumstances there is something in still feeling you have an option (to bail out or not to bail out). It gives you a certain sense of still having some very small amount of control over your life. You are in a position of being able to make a choice in whether to stay or go. Once you do become a plankton however, options are gone, you can have no choice at all, and it could well be that you never have a chance to bail ‘in’ ever again.

    The only women I know who left their husbands and didn’t subsequently end up alone, had lined up their new man before they left their old one. Personally I dislike the dubious ethics of that but it seems like the only practical way to do it unless you are not 100% certain you will be content with being single for the rest of your life. It is easy to find five days alone blissful, but five years alone can be a whole different thing.

    True that male moods may be lengthy and frequent, but they are not as permanent as being a plankton. I would happily tread on eggshells periodically rather than be alone constantly. But alas, being a plankton, that is not an option I have.

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear MissM, I think I agree with all of this. px

    • MissBates says:

      Hi Elle — YES! to your comment that “it’s easy to find five days alone blissful, but five years alone can be a whole different thing.” I had a good friend who left her husband after a 10-12 year marriage, no children, because things “just weren’t working anymore.” (No infidelity, cruelty, or anything like that — it was just a bit “blah” and she readily admitted that her husband was still a decent guy. So they had a very civilized split and moved on with their lives.) Although she denied it, I was pretty sure at the time that she was leaving him because she thought she’d find something better, and I told her “if you’re leaving him because you will be happier ALONE for the rest of your life, then that’s what you should do, but please understand that THAT is likely your choice, and NOT between him and some other guy.” As she had been out of the dating market for the duration of her marriage, and that happened to coincide with the rise of the internet (not to mention that she was no longer 36, but 48 years of age), she was utterly unprepared to deal with midlife dating,, J-Date, etc. I think she enjoyed the first year of so of her new independent life, but fast forward — she’s now been single for a little over five years without so much as a twinkle or a long shot or a poppy seed, to use Plankton’s nomenclature, and is utterly bereft, so lonely she’s sunk into a depression requiring medication. And her nice ex? Remarried a couple of years ago to some nice, age-appropriate divorcee he met at church, and who snatched him up while the ink was still wet on his divorce decree.

      • The Plankton says:

        Of course! If I haven’t heard this same story 1000 times, I have heard it 10,000. A sorry tale indeed. Poor, foolish friend, but I guess she wasn’t to know, or rather didn’t listen to your wise words. xx

      • Elle says:

        “it’s easy to find five days alone blissful, but five years alone can be a whole different thing” is MissM’s comment. I’m all for bailing out of an abusive relationship.

        I think that most women who leave abusive relationships do so for the sake of their children more than themselves. Many will take years of emotional and physical abuse but once an abusive partner lays hands on the children she is gone. Unfortunately some stay even if the partner hits the children.

        I left an abusive boyfriend when I was in my 20s. He had always been verbally abusive but started hitting me after I moved in with him. Years on he appears to be a model family man, a multimillionaire and is the picture of success. I am a struggling singleton and will probably be single for the rest of my days. Relatives who didn’t know the full story often say to me “why didn’t you marry X, you were too fussy in your younger days and now you’re on your own.” On days when I am really down about being single I wonder if I should have stayed with him and put up with the abuse (married to him I could have afforded the plastic surgery for facial injuries, if necessary) but 99.9% of the time I am glad I left him even if I am single for the rest of my life.

        I hasten to add that many men are in relationships where they have to walk on eggshells, it’s not just men who have intractable moods.

        There is a saying “it is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees”. I will take this further and say “it is better to live as a single woman on your feet than to live with a man and be on your knees”.

      • Lulu says:

        Of course there’s no guarantee that she wouldn’t have sunk into a depression if she HAD stayed with him. If it was heading in the direction you state, sooner or later ‘blah’ would have become anger/irritation/resentment/boredom/feeling trapped … and maybe depression. I’ve been there. I am happier out the other side.

      • MissBates says:

        Oops — sorry, Elle, I confused your and Miss M’s comments. I must not have been fully caffeinated when I wrote that this morning. I quite agree that you could not have stayed with the abusive boyfriend (and brava to you for getting out). Independence from that situation — however lonely — is infinitely better than having stuck it out to become someone’s punching bag, literally or figuratively.

    • ToneDeafSinger says:

      Sorry to be so brutal but … if you feel that way it suggests to me that you have not had it bad enough in the marriage. If you had, like me, suffered constant downputting in front of family, friends and strangers, undermining in front of children, humiliation, lack of sex, looks of disgust when you enter the room, being ordered to bed because your presence spoils the husband’s relaxation, being pushed out of the house with the pushchair in any weather including rain and snow for the same reason as above, knowing that he is off to Thailand to have sex with young women while he locks his room against you entering it when he’s home, the loneliness of being shushed constantly, the raising of the TV volume if you open your mouth, being forbidden to allow anyone into the house including your mother, your neighbour, the electrician, slowly seeing any social life dry up because couples get fed up with you turning up on your own, and then late because you’re allowed out only when child (only child as sex was never repeated afterwards) is asleep… in short, everything short of physical violence, sorry, but if you had been in that situation for 14 years – and I have not said it all – you’d be thanking your lucky star you’re shot of him as I have been for the past four years, even if I have not had a single date for 4 years or sex, for that matter, for much longer than that… If you think it’s better to “tread on eggshells” rather than being alone, you have not had it bad enough.

      • fi says:

        TDS – that sounds dreadful. Well done to you deciding that you’d had enough and taking the chance again at a new life. Very brave of you and I hope you’re really proud of yourself

      • MissM says:

        You have a valid point ToneDeafSinger. Indeed I have not had it bad enough. The situation you describe is not what I’d describe as one where you sometimes have to tread on eggshells because of a male mood at all! That was downright abuse from someone who is clearly not all that well balanced mentally. That is an extreme that no one on the planet should put up with, ever, and being alone is definitely the better option.

        Having said that there are women who will gripe about something their husband does that is nowhere near the horror of what you just told us happened to you. They too could do with some appreciation that their situation is possibly not as bad as they like to make out.

      • MissM says:

        On the flip side to that, some people perhaps have never had it good enough in a relationship either. I notice a difference in attitudes from people who enjoyed a good mutually loving relationship at some point in their life who wish to repeat that, versus those whose only experience of marriage was that of an unhealthy abusive one. It is probably harder to miss having a good relationship if you have never had one in the first place to know what exactly it is you are missing.

      • Elle says:

        TDS, I agree. You have been very brave. Your freedom must be very sweet after all you and your child went through.

      • ToneDeafSinger says:

        thank you (Fi and MissM) for the messages. On the plus side I would like to say that the day he left (I kicked him out) I made a decision and a choice to be happy.

  • MissBates says:

    I suppose the silver lining to the dark cloud of my 25-year career as a divorce lawyer (yup, just about as much fun as it sounds) is that I have NO illusions about the grass always being greener, etc. It was this perspective, in part, that informed my decision to Just Give Up, despite the rather grim prospect of navigating the wider social world (I’m not talking about the dating scene) as a middle-aged single woman. It’s not that I think it’s impossible to have a happy marriage/committed relationship, but the odds are not great. However, even with this admittedly skewed viewpoint, I still struggle occasionally with the notion of spending the remainder of my life alone, because I think we all long for that connection.

    And Plankton, don’t underestimate the importance of autonomy over the television remote control! : )

    • The Plankton says:

      Oh, never, I promise, but I can think of greater advantages to being alone and, remember, I still tussle with that wretched remote as a plankton – because I have children! x

    • rantywoman says:

      Yes, it is rather grim to navigate the wider social world as a middle-aged single woman, isn’t it? I’m writing about that struggle at

      • MissBates says:

        Hi Ranty Woman: Don’t get me started on the topics of marginalization, invisibility, condescension, maddening assumptions, etc. etc. I’ll come visit soon and torture you at your own website. ; )

  • Lulu says:

    Well said Elle, couldn’t agree more.
    My parents divorced when I was six and both parents remarried: my mum to an abusive, over-bearing man who ruled the house with his moods; my father to a woman who was recovering from her own abusive childhood and suffered from mood swings.
    As a consequence, I never knew the ‘safety’ of home as I was not happy being at either parent’s house, nor were my siblings.
    Not to bore everyone with my sob story, I was in long-term relationships since I was 16, but have never married nor had kids. I am now living on my own, which for the sake of my emotional wellbeing and sanity, is the preferable option.
    All the tea in China wouldn’t encourage me to live with someone just to avoid being alone.
    Sure, it takes courage and a completely different skill set to live alone, but the payoff can be extraordinary.
    I am still hopeful that someday I will meet that certain someone with whom I could have a new relationship, but I have worked so hard to overcome demons from a chaotic, conflict-ridden childhood that walking on eggshells – at this age – is simply not a compromise I am prepared to make for anyone.

  • Sarah says:

    I know that situation well and being alone is a vast improvement. Freedom and independence are priceless and worth so much more than some grumpy old git who won’t admit he’s fucked things up.

    I love living alone (with my kids). Love it love it love it. May carry on forever in fact as my man likes living alone too (most of the time). We’ll see, it’s great to have options.

  • Barry says:

    Because the grass is ALWAYS greener in your neighbours (friends) gardens n’est pas ?

  • Brigitte says:

    I was just thinking, on my way to work this morning, about how much effort it is to find a mate and then started thinking about my chances of finding a good one. I’m afraid I don’t have the energy or interest to endure many toads, but that won’t be a problem because there are no men of any kind in my vicinity. And if I have to wait years between toads before finally meeting a decent man, then I’m afraid I’m not interested.

    I’m starting to find the search for even just a lover, let alone a boyfriend, a bit tedious and will soon be packing it in. It has happened before where I just settled into my singlehood and didn’t think at all about being with a man. The last time it happened was in the mid 1990’s after being single for a couple of years. I simply lost interest in the search and remained single for over 10 years. There is a lot to be said about “doing your own thing” and not having to worry about pleasing a boyfriend or worrying about him leaving. I was never lonely during those 10+ years I was alone. It’s only since a boyfriend left me in 2010 that I have felt lonely. I’m just waiting for that to go away so I can be at peace and enjoy being single again.

    • EmGee says:

      Same thing happened to me, you have my sympathy. I was relieved to be freed from my marriage and not looking at all when I met ‘him’, and he treated me with such kindness and respect that it broke my heart when he broke it off. I hope you are able to get over the lonely feelings soon.

      • Brigitte says:

        The lonely feelings are just starting to dissipate. That boyfriend in 2010 was also good to me, partly because he was a good man and was accustomed to treating his wife with kindness. His wife called him back after 16 months of separation after he and I had been dating for only six months. When he told me they were going to try again and attend marriage councelling, I was devestated. I’m sad that I will probably never love this way again, but I have been alone most of my adult life and I’m good at it (too good, perhaps).

  • Steve H says:

    Hmmmmm. “the male mood”.

    I know that this certainly exists(my father certainly proved that), but as I’ve had to walk on the proverbial eggshells with my last two relationships, I don’t think we can be putting things into simple boxes like “male mood”.

    It’s all about anger/moods and how you deal with it. That is very definitely not sex-specific!

    • Jo says:

      I am so with you there Steve H. Was about to say a similar thing myself.
      P. You are so on the button with so many many things. But, forgive me, I do have some difficulty with views that say ‘most men are like…..’
      I just feel that this is really dodgy territory. There are of course obvious truisms that apply to men, but there are equally other ways of behaving that are not the sole territory of men. Indeed they can as well apply to women. This particular narrative of ‘the Male Mood’ and ‘eggshell walking’ etc. ‘Less inclined to bury their mood. Casting a pall over the entire household. No amount of light – footed treading can avert the Male Mood’. I’m sorry. This can as well apply to women.
      The ‘men do this’ v the ‘women do this’ (usually superior or somehow faultless) viewpoint can be misleading and not terribly helpful to us.
      I think we must beware of projecting ourselves as being somehow ‘better’ at these things or that they apply only to men. Women are quite capable of indulging in the very same behaviour.

      • Jo says:

        I don’t mean ‘not helpful to us’ by you. I mean none of us help ourselves by pitching the ‘men do this’ v ‘women do this’ (better) thing.

      • The Plankton says:

        I agree, I really do. Women can be hellish moody, I know. I was just referring to the male moods a lot of my women friends have been mentioning of late. Px

      • fi says:

        We so often hear only the woman’s side of things though. And women do often have a support network that men don’t have. Not to detract from TDS story above which is very sad, but my brother suffered violence at thE hands of his mental alcoholic bitchy neurotic wife for nearly 20 years and got little support because firstly it wasn’t talked about it so he didn’t realise how common it was, secondly when he did talk about it nobody believed that a woman a foot smaller than him could assault him and believed her version rather than him, and thirdly he would have had to leave and leave the kids with her. It was only after she stabbed him and all the kids gave statements supporting him, that she got turfed out. So women do it too.

  • EmGee says:

    I totally sympathize with your friend. It has nothing to do with her, it’s him using her as a convenient target, and his ammunition is “everything that’s wrong with [his] life”. The worst of it has got to be the fact that he mirrors his own negativity, and suddenly you are the one who’s angry, hostile, demeaning, etc. Hear it often enough and you start to believe it.

    It takes a lot of strength to overcome the constant onslaught of verbal and emotional abuse from a loved one and frankly, having come through the other side, I don’t think it’s worth it.

    I don’t think men or women in general are more or less moody, it is an individual thing. You, Ms P, may think men are moodier because you have lived closely with a man. Most people are good at hiding their their true feelings when around friends and in public generally. I would also say though that you are correct about men being less likely to bury their moods, but it is more because women are more likely to be people pleasers to get what they want, and men more likely to pout.

    3: There is a difference being being in a ‘shitty’ marriage and an abusive one. Your friend is in an abusive one. I too used to rejoice when my husband would be gone for days at a time. It also doesn’t stop me from wanting to be with someone, the difference being that when I find myself even contemplating ‘walking on eggshells’ for fear of rocking the boat, I realize I am dealing with an implacable person and I am better off without him. I deliberately use the word ‘implacable, because everyone is entitled to have and show their feelings, but not heap on the abuse on someone else just because it makes *him/herself* feel better.

  • June says:

    Well yes P i am inclined to agree with you,there are advantages in being alone and ,living withiout the “male mood”. If i think about all my friends relationships, the two happiest couples i know are couples where the males do not seem to have these male moods, but are nice easy going blokes who do not demean their partners in any way. My dad was like this, i never saw him in a mood, he had a temper but he would say what he had to say and that would be it, nexr minute hed be b ack to his happy self, which is probably why im alone, ive always looked for that in men and not found it.

    So although being alone can be crap, yes being with wrong person is crap too, my friend who dreads being a plankton and has an up and down relationship, but hates being alone, so puts up with it, says its bad being on your own, but its often bad being in a relationship. Whats the answer. I once read that women shouldnt live wih men permanently, something i agree with, i dont think i could, all the time. id always keep my flat. Maybe have them for sex perhaps, and live with each other for companionship and economics, maybe thats the way forward! .

  • Joules says:

    Plankton, very strange, been having similar conversation as this with my sister over the weekend, discussing the marriage counseling that her and her husband are going through.

    I remember at Christmas, as she negotiated his alcholic mother living in their home (which she pays all the mortgage for as her job is pretty high powered but also lucrative), trying to keep her husband from having a go at their four year old son (who is having some kind of power struggle with his dad that would be nipped in the bud if the adult in the situation would act like an adult) and make her husband feel that she is paying attention to his interest in conspicuous consumption – not really high on my family’s list of interests. According to him she ruined his life by not having the less high-powered job and not following him around in life, being the “little woman”.

    What worries me is that she thinks that she can manage him like I see her managing her clients (she is a lawyer, contract law though, not divorce as Miss Bates). Give him enough of what he wants to keep him happy and in that way keep the marriage together – she does think that this is best for the kids. Sometimes I wonder and sometimes I wonder what is best for her. She has already had some serious health issues and this type of behaviour could only build up problems in the future.

    And also think that just when she might think she has done enough to keep him happy he is going to walk out anyway.

    And she does realise that there would be no other partner in her future – that doesn’t really scare her that much – in fact I think she would relish it. She is doing it for the children. Not sure that it is the best for the children.

    After all that not really sure I want that internet dating stuff to work out that well. Might just be better to be on my own.

    • tspoon says:

      So obviously, in a competition between a four year old and a grown adult, the adult needs to yield? Yeah she should definitely go it alone and find out what other adult partner would submit to her 4 year old son.

      • Joules says:


        You misread my comment – I am not saying he should yield to a 4 year old, trick is not to get into the power struggle in the first place. Don’t tell me that an adult cannot see this behaviour coming from a long way out and counteract it without it leading to a confrontation. Be smarter than the kid.

        It is not rocket science.

      • fi says:

        Well it sort of depends on what the child is doing, and what the adult is doing in response.

  • Jo says:

    Hi Joules. That’s quite a thing to say!
    You can be fairly sure that the ‘internet dating stuff’ has even less chance of working out with that mindset. Actually, it’s not exclusive to the internet at all. Even if you were wishing to meet someone elsewhere, by any number of other means, your not being sure and thinking it ‘might just be better to be on my own’ would hinder you from being open to meeting someone. Wherever that is.
    Nothing wrong with thinking that perhaps you would be better on your own. Just don’t let your sister’s relationship put you off. It doesn’t mean anything you may have would be the same. It’s not some kind of blueprint. Is it?

    • Joules says:


      It could be – I spent years trying to walk on eggshells to keep someone happy. The number of times he made me miserable with not talking to me for days like some spoiled child, putting me down in front of our friends (who now tell me how angry it used to make them feel to be around it) and belittling my career and decisions. I know I should not have put up with it.

      You think that it must be the way that couples get on – everyone has to make compromises.

      But what happens is either he doesn’t make any or doesn’t recognise the ones you make. Often because you make them without bringing the fact to his attention so he does not value the fact you have made a compromise.

  • Chris says:

    Hi Planky. Your friends partner is a complrte prick. How do I know that ? Because I used to be a complete prick. Now I know better. Maybe one day she will find a man who appreciates her. I hope she does. The tragedy of men is they do not realise they are complete pricks until it is too late Then again, some never realise it..

  • Twinkletoes says:

    I’ve sat here nodding at so much of what’s been said that I must have done a passable impression of the Churchill Dog – even going so far as to say “Oh Yes” a couple of times!

    That’s not to belittle the gravity of other people’s experiences. I also endured a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship for too long. Why? Because I loved him and hoped he’d stop being a complete prick and become the nice man that I’d initially fallen in love with. His verbal abuse, control-freakery, manipulation and public belittling had sapped my confidence and self-esteem to the point I could no longer stand up for myself.

    Eventually there were more bad days than good days and I plucked up the courage to say I wanted out. Neither of us could afford to move out and get somewhere else. I wasn’t going to do that either, knowing that he would run the house we jointly owned into the ground out of spite. It was another 3 years before he met someone else and suddenly he wanted out asap.

    I found living alone impossibly lonely, despite having been lonely in the relationship, but at the same time I was relieved not to be suffering his behaviour any longer. Heck, even the cat blossomed into a different animal without him around.

    I’ve heard on the grapevine that the ‘new’ woman is now suffering the same as I did, the difference being that she married him and they have a child together, so I expect she’s more tied to him than I was. He’s still a selfish prick, and I doubt he will ever change.

    Many many years later, I’m still single, because I will not put up with any hint of the treatment that I got from him. That’s my choice and I’m happy with it. I’m standing on my feet single and I’ve grown to like it – if I’d stayed with him, I’d have been on my knees a long time.

    Hmmm, just read all that back. There’s no point to it really, just my story. Thanks for reading and thanks for letting me share.

    • EmGee says:

      Thanks for sharing your story. That’s what this blog is all about: sharing our thoughts and experiences helps us all realize that we are not alone in this world.
      Good for you for leaving. I too hung on, waiting for the nice man I married to return. It was night and day the moment we said our vows; it was as though once he had me, he no longer felt any need to nurture a healthy relationship, just run it into the ground.

      I’ll never take a chance on marriage again either.

  • rosie says:

    My planktonhood is now so unmitigated I don’t think I’ll even meet anyone to walk on eggshells with, ever again.

    Of course it’s better to be alone (although ‘better’ is a moot word) than being with some prick who’s happy with his fists or inflicts mental abuse, but one person’s misery doesn’t cancel out another’s. No amount of battered women, abused wives and wronged girlfriends is ever going to stop the longing and yearning that comes with being alone. Otherwise there’d be no no poetry, no literature, no art, no music. And imagine that.

    • Twinkletoes says:

      Rosie, the part I missed out from my long ramble above, is that I subsequently had two relationships. One of four years that ran its course and ended because we wanted different things in life. And a second who I met online, but which lasted only six months because of the distance between us. Neither of us was able to move to be with the other.

      With both of those relationship, I didn’t walk on eggshells. They were, and are, good men who know how to treat others.

      So don’t give up – you never know who is around the corner.

      As to ‘better’, perhaps the word to use in its place in that situation is ‘preferable’.

      EmGee, thanks for your kind words.

  • Jo says:

    Twinkletoes. Do you mind me asking? Your second relationship. What was the distance between you?
    Thank you.

  • Jo says:

    Obviously I know you’re talking about in mileage!

    • TwinkleToes says:

      Jo, in miles, a measly 50. Doesn’t sound much, does it? Until you start doing the maths. One of us would do a 100 mile round trip of a weekend, so we could spend 24 hours together. That became 2,400 miles over the course of the six months.

      The tale has a happy ending for us both though, as we made contact again a few months on from the split, have kept in touch ever since as friends and meet up a few times a year. I consider him to be one of my very best friends.

  • Jo says:

    Thank you Twinkletoes. Just had to ask you. The lovely man I met online lives 60 miles away. What you say is familiar and it’s good to ask someone else about it. Thank you so much.

    • EmGee says:

      When I met my ex bf a year and a half ago, he was splitting his time between here and San Diego, because he had work in both places, a 3 hour drive. In the throes of love and passion, he would drive up just to see me. or drive down there for just one day to check mail and work schedules and race right back. It all became overwhelming and I am sure it contributed to our break up. He has been staying w/ me for the last 6 weeks because of his (nonexistent) work situation, but he is anxious to find another place in San Diego, where he will have work again soon, probably next week. He does plan on keeping a workshop at my place and pay me a little rent for the trouble, so he isn’t disappearing forever, and I can stay at his place anytime.

      Who knows, maybe the relationship will rekindle. Anyway, we are still great friends obviously, like Twinkletoes and her second guy. It is a nice, unconditional relationship.

      • Jo says:

        Twinkletoes and EmGee. Forgive me if I am overstepping the mark here. But what about your former attraction to them? As best friends now, is it still there? If so, how are you dealing with that? Do excuse me. x

      • EmGee says:

        Jo, speaking for myself, my relationship is somewhat unique in that it is somewhere between platonic and committed. There is love and affection, but I think he fears that with commitment, he will stop himself from doing things he wants to do solo: study a specialty up in Oregon, play some musical dates with a friend in China, etc.

        On the other hand, I love him for the person he is, so I have to find the situation acceptable or end it. I am comfortable with things the way they are, because I have a life of my own that doesn’t rely on hom.

        As for “meeting someone and disappearing”, that can happen in any relationship. Part of life is not knowing how things will turn out, and just be happy in the moment.

        Maybe tomorrow, maybe next month, I will be living completely alone, just me and the cats. Maybe I’ll be wishing he *would* leave. But why dwell on ‘maybes’ that may never come to pass?

        “I know worry works because nothing I worry about ever happens.” <– Anon said that! 🙂

  • Jo says:

    How would you feel if your best friend (with maybe a possibility of rekindling), met someone else and disappeared?

    • TwinkleToes says:

      Jo, re your thanks earlier, you’re welcome of course. This distance is a blasted nuisance, isn’t it? I know I felt every mile every time I drove home. I hope it works out for you and your man.

      As to rekindling, no, it’s extremely unlikely some eight years after we split. The attraction went in time, as other men came and went from my life. My friend is not even looking any more, having decided he no longer wants a relationship and is content living alone. If he suddenly found someone, I’d be pleased for him and hope that in time I could be friends with both of them.

      You could look at it from the other way, what if I found someone? I certainly would not lose contact with my friend, any more than I would give up other friends 🙂

      • Jo says:

        Thank you Twinkletoes. So generous of you to reply and to be open. I really apprciate it.
        You’re right about looking at it the other way of course. (And I hope it happens for you in the future.).
        Things are really really great so far and we’re trying to work out this distance thing. But was interested in your view about it.
        Thank you to EmGee too. x

  • TwinkleToes says:

    Other men came and went from my life… what kind of trollop does that make me sound?! But that’s the nature of internet dating. I had my share of first dates. I rejected (nicely) far more than rejected me (sounding like Lydia now and I’m not at all!). Of those that I saw again, I found that after a few more dates their guard would drop and that was when I started to discover the lies they’d told. That’s why I don’t jump into bed with them too quickly – I much prefer to give them enough rope to hang themselves with first! :o)

    • Jo says:

      You didn’t sound like a trollope at all! Daft thing.
      What you’re doing sounds infinitely sensible. Oh you sound lovely.
      Good luck to you.

  • Jo says:

    Hasty typing meant appreciate. Not apprciate!

  • Jo says:

    Twinkletoes. I guess the rekindling part of my question was to EmGee (hello EmGee), in response to her words.
    None of that applies to me btw at this present time, it was just of interest to me vis-a-vis the distance thing, as it’s tricky to work out….
    I so wish occasionally that one could have a quick call to someone here – i.e. Twinkletoes – rather than having to broadcast the question on the blog. Although I completely and totally understand the structure of this blog P.
    Just rarely – as in this case – it would be nice to ask the question by email or phone to the one person, alone.
    But hey ho. No worries.

    • Twinkletoes says:

      Jo, thanks for saying I sound lovely, that brought a warm feeling to me on a cold day!

      I’ve always been a good adviser to my friends. Should really have trained to be a therapist! Not always so easy taking my own advice though 🙂

  • Jo says:

    x Twinkletoes. Thank you.

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