No Man Is an Island

John Donne wrote: “No man is an island, entire of itself.” But are some people more suited for island life? Are some people better off on their own, alone, rather than in a committed relationship?

I’m 47. I’ve never been married. I lived with Mack for six weeks. It was an epic failure. There are myriad explanations why this six-week foray into cohabitation didn’t work out: we didn’t know each other long enough, Mack hadn’t completely cut ties with his former girlfriend, firm merger, the stress of the holidays, disparity in income, differences in lifestyles. Or we simply gave up too quickly.

But the thought that keeps rolling around in my head, the thought that plagued me on my darkest night after Mack moved out: Am I incapable of a truly committed relationship? Am I too damaged, too broken, too flawed to live with another human being? Am I only capable of serial monogamy? Am I only capable of being in relationships from a distance? Am I that fearful of being vulnerable that I can’t let another person all the way in? Am I meant to be alone? Am I, unlike the majority of human beings, really meant to be an island?

Let’s assume that I am meant to be an island. Entire of myself. At least romantically. Is that so bad? The advantages to living alone are great: With regard to everything that happens in my castle, or on my island, I do what I want when and how I want to do it. Period. I’m trying to think of one true negative aspect to living alone. Or living without a man, to be more accurate. I can’t think of one. If something breaks, I hire a handyman. They’re usually better at fixing things than the guy you live with, anyway. If you get one of those rubber things to open jars, you can open your own almond butter. If you don’t want to take the trash out, you hire a maid. Or a yardboy. Or a poolboy. Or whatever you need. You don’t have to live with a man to have help with your chores. You also don’t need to live with a man to have great sex. According to people who have lived with someone long-term, the sex is better when you live apart, anyway. Okay, yes, it’s nice to have a warm body next to you in bed. But not when they’re snoring. Or when you’re snoring. Or when you have to get up in the morning and they don’t.

One might argue that you can’t be a fully-realized human being until you are in a committed relationship with another person. But what about Tom Hanks in Castaway? I’m guessing he was more transformed after being an island than by living with his wife. And hell, I’m better off than he was. I don’t need a soccer ball. I have cats.

Ella a/k/a unConfirmed Bachelorette

Ella a/k/a Confirmed Bachelorette (f/k/a Unconfirmed Bachelorette) is a 50-something recovered lawyer who left the practice of law to embrace a full-time writing life. Never-married, child-free Ella resides in Austin, Texas and Ontario, Canada with her four bad cats.


  • I know that you, Ella, the blog owner, are the only one who will probably ever see this comment… because the blog I’m reading is nearly 2 years old by now. I just wanted to say that I can definitely identify with some of what you’ve posted here. I’m commenting on an “older” blog posting because I had to start at the very beginning, to get the entire story… so I may end up posting comments on a few other blogs that you’ve written in the past (future, from this blog), as I attempt to catch up to the “modern day” Ella. Hopefully that won’t be too bothersome. On to the next blog… 😉


    • Oh boy. My earliest posts are quite embarrassing. I wrote them when I had no audience (before I learned about tagging). I was writing to Mack, who was the only one who read them. I’ve often thought about deleting the ones before I ended things for good. Yes, he was a master manipulator, but still I was a dolt. In any case, I’m impressed you’re slogging through them all. I started reading yours last night. You’re quite sketchy in the details. Like why you broke up with the woman for whom you bought the house. Maybe I’ll find out when I keep reading.



      • I understand about having no audience (posting infrequently can do that to you, I guess). Maybe that will change for me as well (like it did for you) if I keep it up, and start following others’ blogs and commenting. That said, your earlier posts were a part of who you were back then, and very relevant at the time. You were very open and expressive about what you were feeling, and about how you were being treated by someone who supposedly loved you, and it seems that having that outlet (writing a blog) helped you with a little bit of self-therapy (one of the reasons I started writing as well). I don’t think you were a “dolt,” just someone blinded by love (and I can certainly understand that!). I’m glad that your earlier blogs were there for me to read, because it helped to give me a better picture of you (at least mentally, since you’re so “shy” with any pictures or information that might be too personal 😉 ). I have enjoyed reading through the past couple years of your life, and am now caught up to December of last year (probably one more evening and I’ll be in the present… gotta go to bed now). Reading of the time you spent with your dad before his passing was particularly moving, as it made me re-live the death of my mother a few years ago, to a certain extent (the tears did well up). I can sympathize, and am truly sorry for your loss.

        I don’t intentionally try to be evasive or sketchy with the details. I’m still a bit of a noob at this blogging thing. As I’m writing about a particular topic and other ideas pop into my head, I think to myself “there’s another blog idea, for a future post.” I do plan to write about the history of my “love life” (as I mentioned in another comment reply to you), but I know that it’s going to be a “series” of posts, and I just haven’t taken the time to dive in and tackle it yet. It will happen soon… your prodding is giving me incentive to sit down and start. 😉


    • Thank you. I don’t really think. I just write. And to write without thinking, anonymity is necessary. Maybe some day, it won’t matter.

      I look forward to reading your upcoming series .;)


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