The idea that we progress in a clear trajectory from single unit to couple form, and achieve a sort of emotional success by doing so, seems wrong to me. Love is about what we give up when choosing to knit our life against someone else’s—to make a home in the shared bed, and enjoy the small talk between bodies within the inhabited space. A paired life is not an aspirational state, but a compromised one. Loneliness is not the terror we escape; it is instead the reward we give up when we believe something else to be worth the sacrifice.

Helena Fitzgerald, “The Fierce Triumph of Loneliness”