This past week I had some fun–including drinks out with a lively, smart, successful, never-married NoMo and a gorgeous, visually riotous bike ride along the beach– but overall, I found it to be a rather brutal seven days. I call it “death by a thousand paper cuts.” Over the course of the week, there occurred a series of small, humiliating, deflating moments that added up to one big overall feeling of defeat.

I used to yearn for a partner during these times, imagining someone who would always be in my corner, bolstering me along and soothing my wounds. The truth is, however, that a partner, even a good one, could just as likely be another source of ego-bruising.

I am happy to report, though, that I’ve come along way to being my own source of support. My apartment is a warm, happy place– a cozy retreat from the world. When I’m home alone, I don’t allow thoughts of self-blame or self-harm to take over. I’ve pretty much eradicated those impulses. Instead, I take the time to understand what I’m feeling, why I’m feeling it, and why I made a mistake (or a perceived mistake)– something that other people often don’t have the time or inclination to do. I’m gentle with myself.

I admit all this is making me more cautious about the idea of opening my life up to someone, someone who might upset the equilibrium I so carefully manage to restore at the end of each long day.