She was alone, but not lonely. Once, she had lived with a man. She knew all about being half of a couple—about living with someone else’s views, foibles, habits, their way of folding a newspaper, washing a plate. She knew that curious fusion of companionship and private distance; she knew about good sex and bad sex and sudden quarrels and the warm glow of reconciliation. She had wondered about having a child, and believed that he did the same, though nothing was said. And then something happened: feeling had withered, she no longer smiled at the sound of his key in the lock; she found herself treasuring time to herself. And she saw that this was so for him too. They became like courteous strangers, skirting any serious engagement. And, eventually, fell apart.
— Making It Up, Penelope Lively