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We are the ones who know the bliss of waking on a weekday morning to a calm and clutter-free home, with time to grind the coffee beans, bathe to the sound of Bach and perhaps do a few yoga stretches before setting off for work - pretty well impossible if you share your home with others.Then there's the deep contentment of turning the key in your own front door on a Friday night, slamming it behind you, pouring a glass of wine and settling down to watch a favourite movie with no one else commandeering the remote control and channel-flicking during the breaks.
Reports are filtering into the press that women are increasingly living alone not because they are single, divorced, widowed, or nuts - but because they want to.This confounded them in varying degrees, depending on how much booze they'd put away, but it got the message across to even the most befuddled brain: I lived alone because I liked it that way.Not because of a lack of men, but because it meant I could have my bathroom exactly as I liked it - spotless, toasty-hot, always replete with loo roll. I clung to that bathroom for as long as I could before my need to breed overwhelmed my enjoyment of languorous, leisurely soaks. Getting on for ten years later, I share my house with a partner and two children (I now have a lock on the bathroom door and a shed - my own secret retreat - in the garden).Studies show their health suffers more and they lose out in other ways, too.As couples counsellor Carol Martin-Sperry says, "I hate to generalise, but I think it is fair to say that most men want to be taken care of in a relationship, and for some men - a lot of men, perhaps - being taken care of is the raison d'étre of a relationship." If Martin-Sperry is right, men don't just want companionship; they also want someone to keep house for them.