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better4me posted 5/13/2014 09:36 AM

Saw this on FaceBook just now "Loneliness, far from revealing some defect, is proof that your innate search for connection is intact. So instead of hiding your loneliness, bring it into the light. Honor it. Treat it. Heal it. You’ll find that it returns the favor."--Martha Beck

I plan on spending some time thinking about this today. I've really struggled with loneliness since my D and my children leaving home. I've often felt ashamed of that loneliness, felt like I was "too" needy somehow.

Being alone is one of the consequences of my WXH's A that has been the hardest for me. I like solitude sometimes, that is different than loneliness. I'm seeing someone now, and the nightly phone calls or texts are a way of having connection to someone and i love that. I've also had a connection to friends throughout this journey, but a SO connection is special.

I wonder how to "honor" to "treat" it and "heal" it..

Your thoughts?

Merlin posted 5/13/2014 10:20 AM

Loneliness and alone are two very different things.

better4me posted 5/13/2014 12:27 PM

I agree, Merlin. I like my alone time until it turns into too many days (or nights) of alone in a row...that's when it turns into loneliness for me.

cayc posted 5/13/2014 14:55 PM

Whenever someone (or my own neurosis lol) challenges that thought of "I'm lonely" in a way that tries to make me think it's shameful to admit it, I remember John Donne's quote "no man is an island".

We humans (animals too) are not meant to live alone. We do not do well alone. We are primed to live best in small groups. Isolate someone for long enough and they begin to lose their mental faculties.

I freely admit I am lonely. I'm not unhappy. I'm not depressed. But I am lonely. And so I love this quote from Martha Beck (who is one of those motivational people like Baggage Reclaim who generally seems to nail it on the head) because it's true. All it means is that I still like people and still want people in my life. And that I want it as a discreet romantic relationship, a primary relationship whose bond supercedes all others? I think knowing that is honoring it.

As for treating it? Fuck. That takes dating. Sigh.

fireproof posted 5/13/2014 17:22 PM

If you are lonely and finding more free time- explore your interests.

Cruise through Barnes and Noble and see what interests you. Instead of having dessert at home - journal and sit and have a coffee or pick up the phone and reconnect with someone.

Overtime you will figure put there is a ton to do whether your with people or not that interests you. Who knows you might also come across a new friend male or female who is your boat. I know of someone who has a museum friend, a dinner buddy, a meetup friend etc. - all different people.

You can also take a continuing education course or make a plan to achieve your bucket list.

caregiver9000 posted 5/13/2014 18:02 PM

at cayc. Dammit. I get every word.

Williesmom posted 5/14/2014 07:43 AM

I have to say that I was waaaay lonelier when I was married than I am now. It was a feeling of total rejection - as if no one wanted me because he didn't want to spend time with me.

Now, I might be alone, but that's usually by my choice - I am a phone call away from total love, acceptance, and fun.

one2ndchance posted 5/14/2014 13:46 PM

Mark Twain said, "The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself."

"Honoring" loneliness, I think, involves self confidence. I've always enjoyed my own company. I've gone to movies, plays, dance performances, museums, and other forms of entertainment on my own. While it's difficult not to notice that most people are in couples at these events, I've just accepted that I chose to go alone. To me, it's more preferable than not doing what I enjoy.

"Treating" loneliness involves action on your part. While trying to meet new people is tough for some, an easier step is to reach out to those you already know and nurturing those relationship further. I have cousins and friends that I used to contact maybe once or twice a year. Now that I'm divorcing, I've made the effort to reach out more often. You'd be surprised at how pleased they are that you make the effort.

"Healing" loneliness occurs when it no longer feels shameful. We've all felt loneliness at one time or another and as Beck states, it is not a "defect."

norabird posted 5/14/2014 14:48 PM


I think I don't feel so much alone as kind of unnecessary/unneeded at times? I have lots of friends and activities, and I've also been able to re-discover some pleasure in solitude, which during my relationship was very stressful due to, in hindsight, lack of trust in my exWBF making time when he was out and I was waiting at home anxiety-producing. But I still find myself missing the kind of constant contact with someone. I had the experience this weekend of being actively wanted/needed by a visiting cousin who has invested a lot of emotion in me, honestly more than is really called for, and I think I'm having some withdrawal now of having that gone again. But the thing is that I know it's not healthy to place my worth in whether someone is showing me enough attention.

I think we honor it just by not stuffing the feeling, and by letting it pass without pretending it's not a factor. I wish I could manage/alter myself to feel it less, but maybe that's wrong of me--maybe we just need to accept that it's normal and part of life.

Here's a BR post on loneliness if you haven't read this one yet...

NaiveAgain posted 5/14/2014 20:31 PM

It is okay to feel loneliness. It isn't a defect and it doesn't mean you aren't healing or there is something wrong. You can feel loneliness even when there are others around. Everyone feels it from time to time, because after all, we are individuals, and we can't connect with other people 100% of the time. Sometimes, we need to be alone, and sometimes we need to feel alone.

It is when I am feeling alone that I do my best introspection. It is when I make peace with myself and learn who I really am, with no distractions. It is when I honor myself and see new things or old things in a new way. It is an exploration.

Sometimes when I feel lonely, I have the TV on so there are other human voices around. But sometimes I get brave, and I leave the TV off, and I make peace with my soul.

Forged1 posted 5/14/2014 21:23 PM

Mark Twain said, "The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself."

Mr. Clemens was no fool.

kernel posted 5/15/2014 19:28 PM

I freely admit I am lonely. I'm not unhappy. I'm not depressed. But I am lonely.

That is it in a nutshell, at least some of the time. I have friends, I have activities, I'm quite comfortable doing things (movies, shopping, biking, whatever) alone. I'm fine with living alone. But I still get lonely. I think it's normal, really.

cayc posted 5/16/2014 06:41 AM

I had mentioned that people go insane when they are alone too much. I was thinking of the Quaker prison studies, where they stuck someone in isolation with a bible to rehab them and instead the prisoners went insane. But here's a more modern citation on why we need people:

I only post this because we talk a lot about dating, finding new partners, versus being ok with "living alone" as if wanting companionship was a bad thing, and it's just not. We're not supposed to live alone. Even 12 step groups are based on the idea that at least you go to a meeting with others so you aren't isolating because isolating primes addictions.

So whether it's as part of a couple or in a Golden Girl house (me and three of my friends have one planned for our later years, I'll be curmudgeonly Dorothy lol, and idk what the male equivalent of that living situation is) it's important to not be isolated, to not be alone.

[This message edited by cayc at 6:41 AM, May 16th, 2014 (Friday)]

cmego posted 5/16/2014 07:47 AM

I also think some people are "more" programmed for needing companionship.

I can function/survive alone. I've more than proven I can completely change my life and survive…alone. Overall I am happy in my life and have many, many blessings.

BUT, I am happier in a relationship. As many of us here are too. I am simply programmed that way. There are many days I wish I didn't WANT a relationship. On the flip side, I won't stay in something that is unhealthy, so I know that I am not codependent on a relationship.

I agree, it is the loss I mourn the most. Just the simple companionship.

NaiveAgain posted 5/16/2014 18:53 PM

I also think some people are "more" programmed for needing companionship.
I think that is absolutely true. I am perfectly fine being alone for decent amounts of time, but my sister is not. She HATES to be alone and likes to have all her time scheduled with friends or on the phone to friends or hanging with friends.....neither one of us is right or wrong, we are just different.

I do think, however, that whether you like to be alone or not, it is important to spend some time getting to know yourself and who you are and what your needs and values are.

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