No one in a long relationship has not sometimes wished they were single again. And no, most often it's not because of the interesting blonde that has just started working in the distribution section. Often it is just a desire to lie on your bed, alone, reading a good book, while all around you is quiet and you are having camembert and beetroot and melon for supper.
But then, there are also those times you are so glad you are not on your own. And that's not only on Valentine's Day.
Household hurricane. The morning after a party in your house, you view the debris littering the lounge, kitchen and the garden. The thought of cleaning it all up yourself is enough to make you get back into bed. But having someone chatting to you while you both clean up, makes it all so much easier.
Instant babysitter. There's a crisis at the office on a Sunday or your mother suddenly needs to be taken to hospital. Your spouse can simply take over and look after the children. Imagine if you were on your own, you might have had to lug them with you, and the smaller they are, the bigger a performance this is.
Someone on your side. If you've had a bad day at work or you've had a fight with your mother, your partner can always (OK, most of the time) be relied upon to support you and take your side. Or take you out for supper if you're really stressed or at least give you a foot massage. If these things are not true for you, what are you still doing in this relationship?
Look what your son has done. The duties of parenthood become a shared responsibility. There is another pair of hands that can change nappies, take kids to the doctor, entertain toddlers and deal with the teacher/school when there is a problem. Also someone else who can partially shoulder the responsibility when you child bites another preschooler or throws up on the couch minutes before your dinner guests arrive.
Cocooning. Sunday mornings or holidays or whenever, it is sometimes very pleasant to just withdraw into your own world. Disconnect the phone, forget about the rest of the world, have a good snuggle, or more, if you're lucky and just be on your own together.
Movers and shakers. When anything has to be carried, or shifted or moved, it is always better to have someone who can help. While this on its own is not exactly a good reason to start a relationship, many hands do make light work. You try and move the fridge on your own or cart a month's grocery shopping from the car.
A shoulder to cry on. Sometimes you feel just plain miserable – it's Sunday night, the cat's sick, you're not looking forward to work Monday morning and your mother insulted your new hairstyle. The TV on its own just won't do and you're not in the type of mood where you feel like going out. Then it's nice to have someone who will give you a hug and make you a cup of tea.
No more first date jitters. Remember the terror of first dates? Having a partner, means that those are over, at least for the time being. You still take trouble with your appearance, but no longer feel you have to go out on a shopping spree to find something new to wear so you can go to the movies. And what's more, sex is not such a rare commodity in your life as it might have been before.
Dual income. In these economic times, this makes a huge difference. If you suddenly have too much month at the end of your money, you can always ask for a small loan. If this happens every month, though, there could be a problem. If you want to buy a house together, you will also qualify for a much bigger bond than you would on your own.
Family fiasco. Lots of things can go wrong with families – from your younger brother losing his job to your partner's mother hitting the bottle or getting sick, to your sister-in-law walking out on her husband. These things are always easier to cope with if you have some measure of support from a partner. They can also give perspective to you and make you feel less alone when having to make, often painful, decisions regarding family members.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated February 2010)
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