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" loneliness...how to "treat" it and "heal" it..
Her: WW/57 Me: BS/63 24yrs M
3 great kids, now 22, 20, 17 b,b,g
D-Day 8/14/08, D 1/13/11
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.
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.
Now, I might be alone, but that's usually by my choice - I am a phone call away from total love, acceptance, and fun.
"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."
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... http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/dont-scratch-the-loneliness-itch-with-the-wrong-scratcher/
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.
Mark Twain said, "The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself."
Mr. Clemens was no fool.
Almost done with D
At this stage, I'm pretty much bulletproof.
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.
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)]
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.
I also think some people are "more" programmed for needing companionship.
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.