Featured in The Huffington Post, by Susan Winter

I must make this admission: I’m lazy lover. I apply no energy whatsoever to creating a love life. Why any man would seek my company at this juncture in my life is a complete mystery to me. I lack all desire to be receptive to a man’s advances and give no hint of interest. My attitude of laziness is compounded beyond its formal definition, as I have neither guilt nor remorse for my current state of affairs.

I wasn’t always this lazy. There was a time in my life when I craved a loving relationship. I loved being in love, and I loved with unbridled passion. Broken furniture, lamps toppled on the nightstand and a mattress half resting on the floor were a normal part of romantic expression. Now, I find myself incapable of supplying the most minimal appearance of interest in a prospective mate’s attention. Making an attempt to be responsive to romantic partnership is far too grand an expenditure of my energy. What happened to the woman who light-heartedly broke a fine handcrafted Italian dining chair and tore a window treatment from its fixture in the heat of passion with my boyfriend?

Once upon a time I knew the thrill of unbridled passion. When in love, I gave no thought to the aftermath of my home furnishings. I was patient in combing the knots out of my hair after two days of bliss. I was content to walk in public wearing the revealing smile of one who’d been supremely satisfied. My unfinished books waited silently upon my desk without guilt, calling for their completion.

Now I prefer the solitude of my own company, politely declining advances from any and all prospective partners that seek to lure me from this private paradise of current existence. I thrill over the prospect of watching a Netflix movie alone rather than yearning for the taste of a lover’s kiss. The woman who was part wild beast and part observer of this tendency toward love’s expression has now become a tame, docile bystander to the world of romantic interludes.

How and why did this radical shift occur? Was it the aftermath of too many tears and too much confusion in the pursuit of love? Was it the meticulous cleaning required of the rooms in ruin after a night’s pleasure? Was it the eventual realization that I’m at heart a serial monogamist and another bus (and another man) is always on schedule for an upcoming arrival?

I silently delight in the days and months I’ve spent enjoying the solitude of my own company. I luxuriate in the immense joy I’ve experienced in this phase of my life; the inner reward of creative work accomplished, the clarity of my thoughts, and the knowledge that my time is my own to enjoy as I please.

I’m certain this current attitude is a passing, yet necessary phase. Perhaps it’s the realization that partnership is not the only means by which to experience love. To love oneself without the need of “another” to ignite that flame, is to own a love that’s eternal.

Life has its own wisdom. The paths we chose to take hold their own unique brilliance, as each journey illuminates a greater learning we must gain in the quest of our own oneness. Each phase has its value in leading us to our next understanding. To love completely, we may be called to enter a time of solitude. The gift within this choice is to reemerge with a greater love to share when in unity with another.

There will be a time I will love again. There will be the joy of communion with another heart and soul. I may choose to preserve my furnishings or not. I no longer know how I’ll choose to express my love in the future.

But I do know this. I’ve taken time to invest in myself. Whatever I had to offer in the past is far less than what I have to offer today. Loving the life I have and loving the person I’ve become, was a gift I was never fully able to share. Knowing I can only bring to my partner what I already possess, this is the gift I look forward to giving.

The merits of taking time to be with one’s self allows for greater clarity on what we want (and don’t want) in partnership. The ultimate take-away from this experience is the release from our fear of being alone. We realize we can enjoy all the moments of our life, both in and out of partnership. Having a man becomes an elective choice, not a desperate need.

Tonight I have a date. It’s the first “yes” in a long series of automatic “nos.” The reason? There’s something special about this man. He has an inherent sweetness of disposition that feels both safe and exciting. It’s a worthy adventure. Now, a new woman will walk into that discovery and bring with her all the awareness of that precious time of inward joy.