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Alone doesn’t have to mean lonely

It isn’t always easy to be on your own ... Coming back loaded up from IKEA and having to lug everything upstairs yourself ... Sundays whiled uneventfully away ... Falling asleep and waking up without someone beside you

Alone doesn’t have to mean lonely

“My last date was in July. It seemed to go well, but that was the last I heard of him. I’m slowly getting used to being on my own, but sometimes it’s all a bit too much for me,” says Angie. And though she says, having been single for a number of years, that she is getting on with life, is she really telling the truth?

That warm feeling inside
It is ironic that many of us who search most assiduously for that ideal relationship - long-term, loyal, intense - are the ones who spend long periods of our lives on our own. That sense of longing can come to ingrain itself in your being - to the extent that other people can sense it and even maybe find it a little intimidating.

Loneliness is not an incidental - in extreme cases it can even lead to depression - so it’s important to learn to deal with your own expectations and desires. For Angie, life as half of a couple has become a somewhat abstract concept. For her, a relationship is about finding someone to alter her lonesome state. She wants to be loved, but essentially she doesn’t see herself as deserving love. If she did, she would feel more relaxed about things. A relationship for her is that warm feeling inside when someone is holding your arm, when you fall asleep entwined, when you wander together along a beach. But that warm feeling is just a single component of the complex construct that is a relationship.

Just relax!
Not all single people are plagued by loneliness, of course. Many of them get on quite happily with their lives, confident at the prospect of a new relationship at some point, but not hooked up on thinking about when it will happen. That doesn’t, of course, mean they stop going out to meet new people or ignore the opportunities offered by a service like Parship. If you can be comfortable with yourself, at ease with your lot in life, then you are actually more likely to be attractive to prospective partners.

After a year of getting over a relationship, Christopher is once again ‘in dating mode’. “Going out and meeting new women is fun again. I even had a one-night stand recently. But I still haven’t met ‘the one’”. He is quite happy with the way things are and certainly doesn’t feel alone. “I’m getting to know interesting people, hearing what they have to say. It’s different from the time I spent with my ex, Nadine, but it has its own appeal.”

The power of suggestion
Imagine holding a firm, fresh lemon in one hand. In the other, you’ve got a sharp knife. You slice open the lemon and its distinctive aroma hits you. You cut a slice of lemon. The juice flows out, then you put the slice to your mouth and bite into it … If reading that, you can feel the sour citrus sensation on your tongue, then you’re experiencing the power of suggestion.

Loneliness can be distressing, but the power of thoughts and feelings can reduce any anxiety you may be feeling. It could be that you’re making your own life difficult, even though there is nothing too much wrong with it. Fear can be very damaging: there are people who are in relationships who spoil things by worrying that it will come to an end - jealousy is a symptom of this kind of mindset. Nearly every single person has moments when being alone is all too much. When you get back home with that huge package from IKEA, you’ll think: “Why isn’t there anybody to help me? Why do I have to do it all on my own?” If you talk yourself into thinking how terrible everything is, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Think of it this way … Yes, it would be nice to have someone to help you carry that self-assembly bookcase, but you didn’t have to engage in a lengthy and heated discussion at the shop about whether beech or oak finish would be better.

Warning: loneliness attack!
If things are getting too much for you, it really does help to take at least one deep breath. Don’t just remember the good things about past relationships – dredge up some of the bad moments too. A relationship is not just some kind of straightforward ‘solution’ to loneliness; it comprises the complex interplay of the desires, anxieties and also sometimes obsessions of two individuals. Open your eyes and look at the relationships of friends and relations. That will help you get a perspective on things. Just because there are two of you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are happy. A relationship can be hard work.

It’s also worth taking a look at people you don’t know … Married couples; smooching teenagers; elderly people on park benches. People of all ages have relationships. People from all backgrounds have relationships. People with all kinds of personal styles and looks have relationships. And they probably spend surprisingly little time thinking about how wonderful it is to have a relationship.

If ever you feel alone and inadequate, call a good friend and spend an evening just letting yourself go. “Mankind has a moral duty to seek joy” says Shirley Maclaine (!). Singledom has its disadvantages, but when it threatens to get the better of you, think about its positive aspects, particularly your freedom to make your own decisions. Enjoy it while you can!

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