Amy Gahran, “Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator: Uncommon Love and Life”

Solohood can be expressed in many ways that influence how intimate relationships work. For instance:

— Not living together (nesting) with intimate partners.

— Taking a fair amount of alone time, or at least time apart from intimate partners — without guilt, apology, justification or asking permission. The default becomes “me time,” not “we time.”

— Prioritizing oneself in key life decisions and commitments, such as whether to move to another state — rather than prioritizing a relationship or partner when making such choices.

— Socializing or going out alone, at least sometimes, by choice — rather than simply as a last resort if a partner or date is not available.

— Having and enforcing clear personal boundaries. Being sure about which kinds of relationships or situations one is not willing to engage in. Also, being willing to communicate one’s boundaries, and being able to withdraw or renegotiate should these be crossed.

— Presenting oneself primarily as an individual, rather than as part of a couple, family or other relational group. For instance, saying “I” more than “we,” even when discussing things that might be shared with an intimate partner.

— Exercising personal efficacy. Declining to enter or remain in relationships, or to make agreements, that would restrict or undermine one’s ability to make independent choices, or to negotiate effectively in a relationship. This can make relationship hierarchy a poor fit for many solos.

— Respecting the autonomy of others. Not limiting or controlling the choices made by others — including intimate partners or metamours — via rules, manipulation or ultimatums. Boundaries are rooted inpersonal autonomy; control can compromise it.