My open and direct communication with the subject of loneliness and my logical conclusion that a real (!) partner could “cure” it, creates the impression with people that generally I see a solution to all problems in a relationship. Unfortunately, this has already led to a lot of frustration on both sides, which is why I would like to share my reasons with you.
The symptoms of loneliness
Being single often means feeling lonely. Especially being single for a long time and not being able to satisfy your own needs, certain “symptoms” arise:
1. You see happy couples everywhere
And it doesn’t matter how much you keep reminding yourself that this is just a subjectively focused view and not reality. Every couple you meet is automatically a “perfect couple”. Sundays are the worst days because you feel like you’re surrounded only by couples and families.
The image of a happy couple creates very negative feelings like frustration, powerlessness, sadness, etc. in an involuntary single. To enjoy the often great weather seems impossible then – and it often is. The only thing left is the escape. Only, where to? Mostly into your home, where the loneliness catches up with you again.
2. Sudden smell of men’s scents
It’s a fascinating “symptom”. It has happened to me in the strangest situations and in the most unusual places that suddenly I smelled a very pleasant and stimulating men’s scent. But when I looked around – or “sniffed around” – I could not find a man or the source of the scent anywhere.
In these moments my memory of past men in my life is vivid. I have their smell in my nose and feel the strong man’s skin that I caressed at that time on my fingers. I can even feel the hair that I once brushed through. Hard to stop there and NOT text the ex.
3. You look for physical contact everywhere
You realize that you suffer from an extreme lack of intimate physical contact when you start to seek physical contact wherever it is possible. The ones who “suffer” are usually friends and family who are forced to hug you – or often feel my head on their shoulder.
The physical contact (e.g. the hug) is a reaction and not a conscious action. Very rarely it is possible to prepare the other person for it, which can quickly lead to a “trauma” for the other person. Unfortunately, an awkward situation can then be felt, because in those moments the sudden contact or the attempt of it can be overwhelming. In general, the expectations of physical contact in friendships are very different between a lonely person and a well-balanced person. So far I’ve had no problem with my people, I know when to end a hug ;). But unfortunately, I often feel that it is the only way to relieve the physical pain I feel from loneliness.
Note: Yes, loneliness leads me to physical pain, more about this soon in a separate article.
4. Organization of free time has a burdening effect
In addition I would like to re-note that I’m talking about involuntary permanent singles, who have already spent a long time alone in life.
I have been single all my life, that means I have experienced 28 years of my life with a lot of private time. I have been able to fill it quite well. Here is a short keyword list of things I have done as a permanent single and continue to do with pleasure:
- Discovered and developed hobbies (singing, reading, knitting, …)
- Attended scientific lectures and cultural events (yes, often alone)
- Tried out sports (dancing and biking are still my #1!)
- Met Friends and acquaintances on a regular basis
- Visited bars and restaurants on my own, watching people and/or drinking delicious cocktails
- Tried and enjoyed massages and spas
- Binge-watched TV series at home
If you do the right things, they are fun! But repeating these things over and over again without receiving input from outside creates a monotony at some point. And if you keep asking yourself “What am I feeling like today?” for such a long time, then you will soon have tried almost everything that interests or fascinates you. So the point is reached at some point at which one can no longer be enthusiastic that the working day is ending or the weekend is approaching. Even vacation doesn’t seem very tempting at first.
5. Future plans and dreams are difficult to continue
Everyone has certain goals and plans for the future, mostly based on their own wishes. However, I pursue mine less often and less euphorically, since no one sits next to me that acknowledges and supports you – and by doing this even builds up a certain pressure to present results (attention here: this is meant positively!). A partner with whom one can share enthusiasm but also frustration, and with whom one can exchange ideas, makes a big difference in the implementation of goals. It is clear that the basic motivation must come from yourself. But how often has it happened to you too that you have lost your direction?
Social media communicates that you should pursue passions on your own in order to lead a satisfied life. That only if you pursue your own projects independently you become successful and desirable for others. Often the other side of it all is forgotten. The fact that motivation is not easy to build and to kept up.
6. Constant self-criticism and comparison with “the others”
You hear it everywhere by now, to compare yourself to others makes no sense and has a very distressing effect. Rationally speaking, I know that too. Nevertheless, it is a human characteristic to have self-doubts as to why one is constantly alone and cannot find a suitable partner. Especially by hearing the stories of friends building relationships, while you are constantly stuck with negative experiences.
Whenever I meet someone I have learned to let go of these thoughts and just enjoy the contact. And – very important – to enjoy ME above all. This is the only way to pave the way for an authentic and relaxed new encounter.
Note: The handling of self-criticism and my solution strategies will soon be published in a separate article.
Clarification of the misunderstanding
I communicate the mentioned symptoms openly and directly, because they are a big part of my everyday life and they are a burden to me. As far as I am concerned, I know that an intimate and familiar physical and emotional bond would improve my situation enormously. Based on this statement, however, people strongly assume I generally believe problems are solved through relationships.
I would like to clarify: I do not believe that a relationship is a universal remedy. Having a relationship and a deep bond, raises different problems (loss of freedom, expectation to compromise, responsibilities, etc.). But I do believe that being alone nourishes loneliness and alienation and therefore an intimate relationship is a good remedy.
Only recently I had the opportunity to get to know a person seriously. He liked to hang out with me, we talked about everything, he asked me about my everyday life and he asked me with interest. A friend, who was ” blaming” me for looking for solutions in a relationship, met me at that time and was surprised how relaxed and balanced I was. And this “only” because I had found someone who was serious about me and I was slowly getting the taste of maybe soon being able to trust and build up feelings. Plus the regular physical contact like cuddling and sex 😉.
Expectations to my environment
In general, people should always put themselves in the position of others for a better understanding of statements. To my friends I always give the advice to consider the following:
It is very difficult to be involuntarily alone and to struggle with loneliness while others are building up their relationships, continuing them and opening the biggest chapters in life (marriage, children, …). As an “outsider” you are automatically alienated from society and nobody has prepared you for this.
I would like to add that of course a mutual understanding is needed for a healthy friendship. As a permanent single, I also have to understand that relationships can be difficult and stressful and I have to keep my ears open for any problems of my friends.
It is always good for your self-worth and ego to have someone around you who encourages you, builds you up and gives you security. This does not mean that a relationship is considered an universal remedy. Most people are aware that a bond and relationship also means new problems.
Now it’s your turn!
Now I ask you, are you with me? Or do you think, a relationship is no solution to the problem?
I’m looking forward to your comments. If you have any questions you’re very welcome to contact me.