Essays

Solo Bliss – On Searching and Finding (Self)-Love

Our society distorts individual values related to happiness.

By Anne Lomberg on January 2, 2024 -
Updated on January 8, 2024

Also available in German
Solo-Glück

How does it feel to be single for several years, and what kind of revolution is actually going on there? Whereas in the past, our happiness was related to finding a partner, getting married, and having children as quickly as possible, today, it’s much more about self-fulfillment. Not having a partner is more in vogue than ever, and I, too, boldly join the ranks of the permanently single woman without feeling any less loved or inferior. On the contrary, being alone is incredibly powerful; it allows me to get to know myself better, grow beyond myself, and build an intimate relationship with myself that makes me my best partner. Something everyone should discover once: being solo for several years, a real revelation.

However, that doesn’t mean I’m ruling out a relationship outright; it has more to do with who I want to be with; there’s neither a huge selection of potential men nor enough soul mates in this one life. Sure, I also go on dates and like to be surprised, but my compatibility ideas have already taken a new course for a few years. Today, I look very closely and pay attention to the details of what is said. Today, I am no longer looking for a man to complete my life because my life is already complete. Today, I am connected with myself and think twice about who I take home and who I would rather not. Because even the once seductive one-night stands are now just a boring series of similar events that bring no satisfaction. Then, I better do it myself and share my sensuality with someone who truly understands me.

Old relationship models are no longer up to date

But why do women nowadays consciously choose to be alone? It’s a question that can’t be answered in general but has similar parallels, at least when I think about my circle of single female friends and the conversations we’ve had. One reason is energy shortage. If you’ve already put energy into, let’s say, a toxic relationship for many years and found out it was a complete waste of time, you’ll think twice in the future about who deserves attention and whether it’s even worth sticking around. Add to that age; the older we get, the less we compromise, especially when we’ve completely settled into our solo routine. Financial independence also plays a role. While it used to be about the man providing and the woman staying at home, today, we strive for our own careers, a self-fulfillment that has long been denied.

There were times when I was permanently looking for love that I associated with a man, sometimes craving physical closeness so intensely that it hurt. At the time, I was talking to a friend who now lives in London. She said to me, and I haven’t forgotten this: “But Anne, think about it, is this really what you long for, waking up next to the same person day in and day out? Just imagine he’s lying in your bed, you’re breathing the same air, he’s probably even starting to integrate his things into your apartment, and suddenly nothing is yours anymore. Not to mention that sex becomes boring because you already know each other inside and out.” I admit I was ambivalent about this idea, not because I’ve shared these exact thoughts before when I was coming out of a monogamous long-term relationship, but because I couldn’t imagine anything more beautiful at that moment. I wanted to be with someone again at any cost, no matter how monotonous and restricted my life might be.

Basically, it can be said that our society distorts individual values related to happiness, namely the illusion that ultimate happiness can only be found in love for another person. With this, I don’t want to badmouth if some people have found their happiness exactly like that, and this is their personal pursuit of perfection. But there should be differentiation, and marriage, for example, should not be rewarded with tax benefits.

Everyone has his own fortune

After I took some time off, moved to a foreign country alone, and stopped looking for happiness in any partnership, I realized that my happiness is not related to anyone but mainly to fulfilling my creative work, brooding on upcoming stories, or philosophizing about new projects. In the meantime, I spend more time with cats than with people, treat myself to an extensive spoiling program every single day with masturbation, meditation, and long walks. I deal intensively with my thoughts, analyze feelings without distractions, only with myself. My inner love has grown; I think for a long time, this love was not there at all because the vision of happiness was always linked to someone else, hoping that existence might be more fulfilling. But of course, I also believe in love for one person, the growing together, the monotonous stories of everyday life that you hold on to until the end, the true love when it comes your way; a crucial point that I cannot ignore in my self-chosen singleness.

I believe in friendship, a relationship that is becoming more and more important, which in turn reminds me of a friend who prefers to date women rather than men, and it’s not about sexual encounters but about making time meaningful and building a deep relationship. She, like me —a self-determined woman who doesn’t compromise: We’ve settled in, we’re single and damn happy.

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