“Why aren’t you back out there yet?”

“Cougar Town” is now available on Hulu. I haven’t watched any of it before now but for years people have been telling me I’d love it. They were right. I’ve been binge watching for hours.

I don’t have kids and I wasn’t married for twenty years, but I can completely identify with being 40 and single again and completely uncertain about how to navigate the waters of being single and trying to get laid.

The last time I was single was six years and forty pounds ago. I can’t imagine trying to date now and I’m not sure I even find the idea desirable. People ask about my social life and it’s a struggle to answer politely and not simply burst out laughing at them. The idea of me dating seems so ludicrous to me.

Getting laid, though… that would be fun if I were emotionally able to do it. I’m not. I know I could find someone who wants to sleep with me if I tried at all, but for so many reasons, the idea disgusts me.

And yet, I want it. So, I’m completely torn, struggling against myself, trying to figure out what to do. Trying to figure out if I even want to do anything about it.

It’s now Saturday evening. I canceled plans with friends because of this headache I’ve been rocking all week and I’m sitting on the couch in flannel pajamas and fuzzy socks waiting for dinner to be delivered. There’s a cat on either side of me.

This is my life now. I look forward to weekends so I can do this all day without the rude interruption of having to work. I’ve been watching TV since 10am. (I did shower today. That’s not always a given, but today I did.)

To be honest, I love it. But there are times when it’s horribly lonely.

I think about having a man in my life again in an absent-minded way. Like, “Oh, right, I’m supposed to want that. Yeah, I guess that could be cool.” But when I think about it in any concrete sort of way, I immediately think, “Good lord, that sounds like a lot of work.”

I remember years of not being able to hang around in my pajamas watching TV all day on a Saturday whenever I wanted to. Of being held accountable for getting things around the house done. Of having to actually clean up after myself and not leave my living space so cluttered all the time. Of feeling like my freedom had been taken away.

I didn’t even have my freedom of expression. How I talked, walked across a room, sat down on a couch. How I cooked, what seasonings I chose to use, what dishes I chose to make. What pajamas I wore. How long it took me to get ready to go somewhere. What makeup I wore. How I decorated myself and my surroundings.

I hated it. I don’t want that back.

But, well, it would be nice to have someone to order delivery with on a Saturday night. We could drink a little too much wine together and watch TV together. We could go to bed together at a hilariously reasonable hour and cuddle and read. We could wake up on Sunday and have morning sex and then lie around as long as we wanted to. Maybe he would be the one to get up and get the coffeemaker started.

The odds of finding someone like that are so slim, though. My ex wouldn’t watch anything I wanted to watch on TV. If I was the one who suggested it, he wasn’t interested. If we opened a bottle of wine together, he would finish the bottle before I was done with my first glass. Even trying to sit together on the couch was uncomfortable because he would take up more space than me.

I spent years being unhappy because I had a man in my life. It’s hard to both feel lonely and yet to have no desire to have that again. It’s conflicting. It’s a struggle against myself.

I both want a man and am scared shitless at the idea of even trying to meet someone.

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