Loners, do not try to change your loner into a family man–it might not work

I miss my girls


Some people like to be surrounded by others; some like to spend more of their time alone. Let’s dissect loners for a moment into their different categories:

1. The awkward shy type. Wouldn’t know what to do with a partner if one were naked in front of him/her. Probably doesn’t care for nudity in the first place unless it’s onscreen and therefore safe. Think of the protagonist in Stranger than Fiction.
2. The Clint Eastwood model—This one likes to act on the world and then retreat to brood in silence about one’s prowess and how much one wishes someone were there to do the silent adoration (hopefully combined with quiet sexual activity) and then disappear to the kitchen to scramble eggs.
3. The smart awkward type, think A Beautiful Mind, who really can’t relate to people very well, but wants a spouse and family.

What’s odd about being human is that many of these loner types are really not that fun to be with, but end up having families anyway. Families who they will not be very close to. My husband is a bit of a loner, but he likes having a close family. He has raised four kids, only one of whom is his blood, and we have a pretty tight family because he and I have worked to make it that way. We didn’t get married for six years until we were sure that we could put our two families together and it was going to work. At no time, did he leave the kids and wander off for a few years or even a few months. He stuck it out.

Often loners will simply wander off from the spouse and family and then be surprised that everyone isn’t eagerly waiting to see them when they come back. Loners have this appeal to women because women think they can pull them in, win them. It’s possible to win them temporarily (sex helps,) but then what you get is a man who’s mostly emotionally unavailable and who actually prefers mostly to be alone. The loner guy, and I think there are more guys than gals, is perfectly capable of spending most of his time alone—and having very limited time with the wife. He can see his kids and grand kids once every ten years and be fine with that. He can have kids and/or step kids with whom he has no relationship and be fine with that too.

When women are choosing a partner, it’s worth thinking long and hard, like people do on Eharmony about what you actually want in a partner. If you want someone to be there for you, and have interesting stimulating conversations with you and be there for your kids and be a great father, don’t pick a loner. They don’t tend to change. And when you are around them, because they’re not used to being around people, they have one main subject to discuss: themselves and their work. So choose wisely, my friends.

You think loners will change, but it’s part of the DNA.

Things I value in a partner:

1. Emotional availability.
2. That thing where they want to know how you are doing and what you are doing.
3. That thing where they know what’s most important to you—writing, the kids, the press, and they’re willing to discuss that with you. (If my husband reads this, he’s going to say what about a little reciprocity? Because sometimes he wants to talk about something and I am Le Tired, then I go to sleep. It’s sad. But I’m trying!)
4. That they share my belief that your kids are your family and you have to do what it takes to keep that relationship afloat, and it isn’t always easy, but it takes presence. Active engagement.
5. Respect for women. Let’s face it, women are just as smart as men, just as savvy, just as capable. I don’t want someone discussing the domestic with me. I want to discuss the life of the mind. I want to keep my name, my style, make my life our life, but not lose my life.

I don’t think this is too much to ask, do you?

On the other hand, if you are a loner yourself, and just like tiny spoonfuls of human company, maybe you might like a loner.


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Interesting reading, just now came across your writing. The creative loner seems to value self-identity-improvement as number one priority. This is essential. The rest is pure luxury-children, relationships and the like. Society is set up in a way to anchor dependency through these avenues of responsibility, which is ok some of the time. But full time is just expecting too much upon an individual. Two parents and two lovers has its time, but is also quite restrictive. Children need more experience than with only two parents, they get bored of the same authority, just as two lovers need others sometimes as they get bored. So the loner simply won’t give up their own responsible freedom even if committed. Hence their time with you is committment and their time away from you is absolute freedom. That’s just one angle of perspective upon the loner. There are many others, that would prob take a book to write.

  2. As a self-identified, very satisfied (and single, male) introvert and perhaps even a ‘loner’, I have to dissent with the suggestion that ‘we’ are so self-absorbed that “because they’re not used to being around people, they have one main subject to discuss: themselves and their work”. This is a crass and unfortunate caricature. Sure, there may be loners that fit that description, just as there are highly social, extroverted people who are the same.

    I like socialising in limited spurts, and on my own terms. I love solitude, and prefer doing most things alone. That said, I’m not shy, nor suffer any form of ‘social anxiety’. It’s just that I have a very low threshold for tolerating human company. But I have a few very close friends, and am close with a few members within my family. I think that the flak that introverts/loners get from other people stems from the lack of understanding, resentment, even envy, these people feel toward the contented, non-needy lives that solitary types lead.

  3. Ridiculously bad article. First off , 3 types? And those three are basically all the same? Further a loner will wander off from his spouse and family… Stop. Loners don’t want families they don’t have families. So I don’t know what this article is about but it’s not loners.

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