The book “Approaching Eye Level” by Vivian Gornick has some great insights on life as a single woman. I recommend the chapter “On Living Alone,” which includes this passage (p. 141):
It was the early seventies, an exciting time, and a great many women shared the excitement. We had become converts to the women’s movement. When we met, all of us, in public places, coming together again and again for the pleasure of elaborating the insight and repeating the analysis, the world expanded into an extended companionateness of extraordinary dimension. This companionateness exhilirated and sustained…
But the closeness was a function of the moment– that moment when feminism had felt revolutionary– and when the moment passed, the comradeliness passed with it. Then it was as though I knew a great many people, but none of them knew each other. The illusion of an integrated life evaporated. It was back to urban social life as I had known it before my marriage: fragmented and highly strung, marked by the tension and withdrawals of exacerbated lives and personalities, friendships that were always in and out of phase. Without domestic companionship, it startled me to see, daily connection was by no means a given.
The chapter “What Feminism Means to Me” is another good one, and it includes this gem (p. 69): I have endured the loss of three salvation romances– the idea of love, the idea of community, the idea of work.
On a similar note, I read recently that in their later years, Susan B. Anthony asked Elizabeth Cady Stanton to live with her, but Stanton instead chose to move in with her two children, crushing Anthony. A bit on that here under the section entitled “Disappointment for Susan B. Anthony”: