Iwas married once. I lived in a beautiful house with my husband, one child, two dogs, three cats and a guinea pig. Now I am divorced (I don’t know why I can’t just be ‘single’ again, but apparently it doesn’t work like that) and I live completely alone. I had been married almost 25 years when the heartbreaking decision to leave my husband was made. Approaching 45, I felt decidedly middle-aged, not very attractive, and thought it quite unlikely that I would ever again meet anyone who might be interested in me. Which goes to show just how wrong a girl can be.

On an evening out with a group of friends not even a year later, I was introduced to a man with whom I would eventually fall in love. In the dizzying first months we were barely apart.

I discovered that my new lover and I were compatible in all the little ways that make being together uncomplicated. We just seemed to fit. Spending blissful hours together sharing stories, cooking, talking, laughing, and lying in each other’s arms listening to Paulo Nutini — as if the words had been written just for us.

The first time I fell in love, I hadn’t hesitated to pack up my worldly possessions, a suitcase of clothes and some cassette tapes, and set-up home with the object of my desire. This time it was different. As much as I loved being with my new man, and as right as the relationship felt, I realised that I felt a deep need to retain my new-found independence, my identity, and a home that was my own.

That was ten years ago, and today we are still together, but we still live apart. Most people are puzzled when they first hear of our arrangement. Are we exclusive? Do we sleep with other people? Would I marry him if he asked me to? WHY NOT?

My boyfriend (and yes, I still find the term rather humorous) often informs me of how of his male friends’ eyes light up at the thought of all the women – young and hot no doubt – that must always be tripping through his apartment. The women I speak to are concerned that I have no idea what he gets up to while he is on his own, unsupervised. They are convinced that if he just popped the question, all of this silliness could come to its necessary end.

I love the idea that we are together for no other reason than that we choose to be, and that we are free to make that choice each day. I feel as committed to the relationship as is possible; I don’t sleep with anyone else, and I have no reason to believe that he does.

We don’t see each other every day, but he is still my partner, my go-to person, my shoulder to cry on, and my chief advisor. We don’t feel the need to check up on each other, though we do touch base with a short Skype date on the days that we don’t see each other. This is highly amusing to my friends, not least because our apartments are only 200 metres apart.

I treasure the times I spend on my own in my gorgeous nest. Listening to music, reading, sewing; spending happy hours curating my precious things, like teacups, vintage hats, antique Chinese boxes, or just playing with my collection of vintage clothes. I love having the freedom to tap into my inner teenager when the mood takes me — just inviting a girlfriend over for a pyjama party. We climb into my king-size bed, sit up late drinking tea, painting our nails, laughing, and talking about boys. And right now, I can’t imagine living any other way.




Deborah Chambers is a mature model, style addict, vintage shop freak and self-professed show-off. She is on a mission to inspire older women to be everything they want to be.