Why Is It So Wrong For a Woman to Admit That She is Lonely and Wants to Find Love?

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I generally don’t read first-person pieces from Elephant Journal or TheFrisky or XOJane or The Good Men Project. I’m not sure why. They’re widely shared on Facebook, but they tend to make me a little uncomfortable. Sometimes, it’s TMI. Sometimes, it’s a half-baked idea from an astoundingly unaware human being. Sometimes, it’s intentionally controversial. Sometimes, it’s been written by someone who was born in 1994, when I was graduating college. But I see why these pieces are alluring. Like reality TV, it allows us to get a glimpse of our own humanity, and usually feel somewhat superior.

That was not the emotion that was invoked in Briony Smith’s Flare article on “Why Being Single Sucks.”

Most people are adept at defending their own worldview, but somewhat deficient in empathizing with others’ emotions.

If anything, I found myself sympathetic to her, the same way I was sympathetic to Lori Gottlieb when she was writing, “Marry Him” in 2010. Others may vilify women who nakedly state that they want to fall in love, get married and start families, but I think that’s unfair. Just as no one should ever say that all single people should get married or all married people should have children, it’s equally disrespectful when the proud-to-be-single crowd makes a woman feel bad because she’d be happier in a partnership.

Most people are adept at defending their own worldview, but somewhat deficient in empathizing with others’ emotions. And I see a lot of that from the Kate Bolick/Meghan Daum/Bella DePaulo crowd. Entire tomes are written – in a somewhat defensive tone – about how happy they are to be single and how being single is superior and how weak people are for wanting companionship. God bless them all. Whatever makes you happy. But it is interesting to me that someone can be excoriated just for admitting that, yeah, it would be really nice to have someone to wake up with every day, someone to go to the movies with, someone to travel with, someone to share life’s ups and downs, and build family and memories every day until death do you part.

Anyway, instead of giving you excerpts from Ms. Smith’s piece, click here to read it and please share what you think of her take on things.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    judy

    TonyClairCastsNoShadow – that’s a point.

    I am just wondering myself if it is wrong for a woman (or man) to say that she is lonely as it does come over as rather desperate.

    Some of those quiet types take too much time approaching a woman, and when they do, it’s  a head scratching moment (at least, that’s how I see it) in the sense of “why did he take so long to ask?”.

    It makes me wonder if they are really genuinely interested in a woman (I have seen this with a friend) or nervous?

     

  2. 22
    ktrain

    The whole issue about the “growing on you” approach is that there are certain areas of attraction where that just can’t happen.

    For men this typically is the physical attraction piece. Guys will tolerate some pretty crazy things from a women that is attracted to them and who they find physically attractive.

    For women it’s a bit more complicated but allows for far more variables  than men. But there are still no go areas for women. For me I need a good guy, not be confused for a nice guy, with a similar world view and who lives a similar  physical/outdoorsy/non Netflix life. My last three extend courtships all centered around having similar  world views, but neither the first nor the third point where true.

    Which brings me to the key difference in relationships between men and women: once you hit a certain point of being unattractive to men, as a women you make compromises that are so large in terms of the guy’s character that it’s better to stay single. However the author of this article isn’t one of those people, she just needs to change her expectations to be in line with her to the average guy.

    It stinks that the guys get more variables to work with when attracting women but the longer women wait to accept the nature of the situation the worse it gets for us.

    1. 22.1
      Josie

      Yes, someone on here had previously posted that attractiveness is binary for men.   You either are or you aren’t bang-able to a guy.   My experience has been as men age, their expectations for the level of woman they can score with does not become more realistic. They are inclined to dismiss a woman after the first date if she does not immediately provoke a stiffy.   The penis does the picking, as Patty Stanger says.

      I have watched Patty Stanger in the past.   Episodes tend to be similar.   The men will always go for the youngest, hottest woman off the bat, and Patty will be forced to convince a 50 year old man why he is more compatible with the lovely, successful 43 year old than the 27 year old hottie. He will go on a date with the young hottie, have absolutely nothing in common with her, then realize his mistake ( but still not be really willing to date the 43 year old).   It will take all of Patty’s efforts to convince him to date the 43 year old – but when he does, the two actually have nice conversations and deeper connection.

      My point is that, without a matchmaker involved, a picky man will not give a second chance to a woman who does not immediately light his fire.    Women on the other hand will give the less attractive man a couple of dates and let him show his true character ( just

      1. 22.1.1
        Josie

        I hit post to0 soon – I was going to conclude that this is just as Evan advise, to give him a chance and let a spark develop.

        My experience with men is that they will cut women off after the first date if she doesn’t immediately get his motor running.

  3. 23
    Katie

    I’ve been single again for almost a year after ending a four year relationship with someone I truly considered my best friend. It broke my heart, and his, but we wanted two very different things and truly, I felt lonely when I was with him for most of the last two years so being single again, although not where I thought I would be at this age is better than where I was. I took a six month hiatus from dating after the breakup and read a lot of information on this blog especially and put it to use when I rejoined the dating scene a few months ago. I’ve been much better about letting guys go who weren’t making the effort to see me again but I know there isn’t much I can do besides move on. There does seem to be a stigma when you tell someone you really want to find love, like only wanting to focus on your career or some other life goal is “cooler”, the more modern thing to do, and that wanting to find a relationship is so old fashioned and desperate. The worst too is when people say you’ll find him when you least expect it, as if being proactive about dating is even worse than admitting you want a relationship. I admit most of my long term relationships have been when I wasn’t looking for someone specifically, so I “get that” but that should just be a pleasant surprise, not a way to conduct looking for love if that’s what someone wants.   I don’t rely on happenstance as a way to achieve any other life goals. It’s tough out there and I wish there was a little more understanding towards people, women especially who want to find love.   It’s a basic human component that has gotten lumped in as a negative goal in life. I want to find someone to share my life with (yes I have great friends but no that isn’t the same) and make no apologies.

    1. 23.1
      CC

      Katie, that makes total sense and I liked your post. Being judged for wanting the thing that everyone else raves about hurts. It’s supposed to just happen or you look desperate and lonely. Well guess what, sometimes desperation is the right response to circumstances. If some of these men who want to play the field at 50, 55. and 60 aren’t feeling a little desperate for authenticity and a real connection, I consider that uncool and see them as losers. Looking for love has been seen as a negative, but looking for lots of casual uncommitted sex, way cool? I think not.

    2. 23.2
      Josie

      The problem with happenstance is that it happens less when you’re older and your social circle is smaller.   That’s why the OLD routine is so critical to dating over 35, tough as it can be.

  4. 24
    judy

    CC, 23.1

    I’m not convinced that desperation is the right response.

    Maybe letting go of it is (I’m not trying to say you are wrong – just offering an alternative view).

    Perhaps as you get older, your prerogatives change.    Being alive is already a bonus.   Certainly, as I have gotten older, I am more patient and see this in other people of my age group too.

    Between 50 and 60, our bodies are not quite so “performing” so therefore, when our bodies do perform, it is great, so I’m not sure about the casual sex, i.e. that it really happens in true life.   Maybe what I’m saying is that, if I met a man whom I was really attracted to, I would cool it more about the commitment but there would hopefully be feelings.

    And just maybe the commitment would come.   But I would not be holding my breath.

    1. 24.1
      CC

      Judy: 23.1: I agree with you. I’m not talking commitment like marriage. I’m talking about being exclusive and not wondering who he is sleeping with tonight while I’m at home. after we’ve been dating 5 months.   It’s crazy at this age. It really does happen at this age I’ve experienced it and know others who have too (59 years old). My body works   JUST fine, and my libido is intact (surprisingly) plus I’ve expanded sexually through the years and feel more confident and expressive than ever. Plus, when you know the years are flying by, you don’t want to waste time. But I know when I’m being played without any social consideration, and can’t pretend not to see high school hijinks when they are in my face. I just want some honesty and maturity at this age. Tell me the score up front, and let me decide if I want to come over for some casualty in the sack. Just don’t try to play me with a bunch of slippery slimy half truths, that’s an insult.

  5. 25
    judy

    15.2 Karmic Equation

    Thank you for your comment which was very much appreciated.   In fact, what happens for me, is that I suss them out really fast (and when I say, really fast, I mean that!).   By the end of the first date (and usually before it is ended), I have listened so hard that I realize what to expect.

    Basically, nothing much.

    So, I don’t sleep with them.   Even when they ask.   Because, as I explained, the sex won’t be great and afterwards (if there would be an afterwards) I would not feel great.

    Of course my reticence is not appreciated.   But is it a turn-on? Yes.

    This is not the reason I do it – but more for self-protection.   I’m a sensitive woman, and I really cannot bear (either mentally or physically) the idea of cheap sex.

    Thank you for your input.   All thoughts are very much appreciated.

    1. 25.1
      CC

      Judy (15.2)…Good for you for knowing your boundaries and limits and sticking with that. I have often had to make the choice…some good sex for an emotional burn? Often times I choose the sex. Sometimes I lie to myself to get the sizzle, then I look back and the clues were there, and the voice in my head said: this is gonna feel really good, then hurt like hell. I think it’s called having a modicum of a sex life while being single. But I’m starting to find that the pain does not balance out for the physical contact, especially when the guy plays the upper hand really really hard for some ego trip. Well, like you say: We’re alive! That’s something!

  6. 26
    Karmic Equation

    What I got out of Briony’s article is that she’s conflating being single with being lonely. As someone else mentioned, you can be lonely while married. And I’ve been lonely in a roomful of people. So being “lonely” is NOT synonymous with being “single”. They can overlap, of course, but Briony doesn’t like admitting she’s not part of a couple. She doesn’t want to go home to an empty apartment. (She could solve this by finding a roommate or dogs, no?)

    So, her article is that she feels she’s being judged for being lonely, when in fact she’s projecting and feeling judged for being single. Nice people rarely would judge a person who feels “lonely”. Especially not men (men understand this feeling better than women). So who’s judging her? Other women. And are they really judging her for being “lonely” or “single”? Women judge the latter but console the former.

    I think Briony should take a look at her checklist and pare it down to a maximum of 3 criteria and start dating as many men as she can who meet that minimum checklist. She’s bound to find someone then and end her single (aka “lonely”) status.

    However, I suspect she equates “paring down her list” with “settling”. So her single status is by her choice. So why should she get brownie points for being eloquent when her single plight is of her own making?

    No one faults anyone for admitting loneliness. If they do, they’re not nice people. But if (generic) you’re equating “being single” to “being lonely”, yeah, lots of judgment will come your way. Because one state is a choice you can fix with proactive action and the other state is a feeling you can’t control.

  7. 27
    CC

    Karmic Equation: I’m in a psychology program, and they have shown through research that “singleism” really does exist. People rate singles as more narcissistic, less considerate, and emotionally stunted and automatically give couples higher ratings in consideration and thoughtfulness even when the information presented is exact for singles and couples. Singles experience discrimination in many areas of society, and it does wear us down emotionally, as these micro aggressions do impact our self image. So, yes it exists, and it is completely unfounded. Knowing this can help deflect the impact and keep us from internalizing the covert messages that there is “something wrong” with you if you have chosen singleness over unhappy coupling. And, there ARE some external factors that impact whether someone meets their match or not, for example, if their job allows them to meet lots of people, of if they work on the computer on home as I do. You can’t always fix singleness through effort, although upping the odds is preferable that’s why I read Evan, to keep my motivation up, and improve strategy. No guarantees, though!

    1. 27.1
      Cora

      Good attitude CC. 🙂 Interesting about the psychology program results. I still feel like we, ourselves, assume that others are looking down on us (even if we have no idea what the other person is thinking). I have been judged by others for being a single mom – outright – told to my face. And I’ve felt odd at church before & my son’s old Christian school (there I was the only single parent). I went to a church group and I prepared myself mentally, assuming it would be all the married families/couples there at this orientation. The little orientation blew me away! People introduced themselves if they wanted to – and more than 3/4 of the people there were sharing personal details about their situations – most newly single, divorced, etc. I was in awe. They bravely shared it with the group and I just didn’t expect that as I always assume it will be couples there. So I think I should have given the writer here a little credit for being bold enough to share her thoughts. Maybe the feedback will give her some hope to get her out there to try dating more. 🙂 My point was – we should try not to assume we are being judged. 🙂

    2. 27.2
      Karmic Equation

      I was coupled up from my 20’s to 45, with maybe 2 years in my 20s where I was single. I was single from 45-48 and currently in a relationship about 4 months old.

      Maybe it’s because the majority of my friends are male.

      I have not experienced any “singleism” based discrimination, overt or covert.

      I have noticed a lot of women (and even Evan himself) commenting on men over 40 who’ve never been married should be avoided or have issues that make them bad partners (e.g, Peter Pan complex).

      And when men comment negatively here, most comment on women’s loss of beauty, waning fertility, gaining of weight and bitterness, entitlement complex, etc., as reasons why these men avoid dating women in their late 30s and up. None mention that it’s because “At 40, she’s been single and never married, so something must be wrong with her.”

      To me that means that, if there is singleism, that it is perpetuated by other women OR it’s women projecting this onto themselves. Maybe both.

      Of course, moms and dads hoping for grandchildren, pressuring their unmarried daughter to get married is probably a MAJOR contribution to a woman feeling singleism discrimination 🙂

      But feeling ashamed of asking for only one set of chopsticks to an innocuous question, is truly a problem/criticism in her own mind. I’ve worked in chinese restaurants. Chopsticks cost money. If you only need one set and we give you two sets, that’s money out of the bottom line. Chinese business people are VERY bottom line.

      When older people ask “Why’s a pretty girl like you not married?” That’s not criticism of her single status, but a compliment to her prettiness. But if that pretty girl is feeling bad about her single status, she’s going to hear the criticism not the compliment.

      Singleism may indeed exist, but I really think this is largely a female affliction. And it goes back to, if you’re living a happy life, you don’t hear or notice those “micro aggressions”. So if she hears criticism or feels discriminated upon or unheard, I really do feel that it is self-induced. It’s a projection of how she feels about her own single status. She feels her single status means shes unworthy of love. Not because other people “covertly” imply she’s unlovable. They may covertly think to themselves, “Yeah, I remember Fred. He was great. Dumping him cuz his belt didn’t match his shoes was pretty stupid on her part.”

      I’m being facetious here. But I’m inclined to believe that if there’s any discrimination of single people going on, it’s because they’re been “discriminated upon” for their dating/mating decisions…of whom to date…whom to dump…what she does to find eligible men…why she won’t accept blind date setups, etc. She’s not being discriminated upon for being single. But judged for her actions (or nonactions) that keep her that single if she doesn’t actually want to be single. No one expects any single person to couple up with unsuitable people. But if everyone is unsuitable, perhaps there is something wrong in her dating/mating decision-making process.

      1. 27.2.1
        Cora

        VERY insightful and interesting reply!!! I loved this part: “But feeling ashamed of asking for only one set of chopsticks to an innocuous question, is truly a problem/criticism in her own mind. I’ve worked in Chinese restaurants. Chopsticks cost money. If you only need one set and we give you two sets, that’s money out of the bottom line. Chinese business people are VERY bottom line.” I love your take on it. You are honest. You are looking at it logically. I feel the same. This whole thing about projecting it upon ourselves – I have done this too from time to time …Sometimes we are just over-analyzing things way too much.

  8. 28
    Cora

    I am 31, and I’ve been single for a while. I had a full and adventurous life in my 20s – working and really living my dreams overseas. Had one serious man I loved totally and completely 7 yrs ago – and he was cheating on me. I’m over that now and moved on. I was more open to dating about 5 years ago – then on and off in between. I have had some wild and strange dating experiences – something out of the movies – just a wide variety.

    I had some health problems over the past years and just didn’t care to put the energy into it. If I did meet someone intriguing, I would go for it. But you know what…sometimes that approach can scare a man off – ie: me asking him out – even just casually, no pressure, etc. In addition, I have a child, I’m a single mom, and have cared for him alone his whole 10 yrs. I am independent. I don’t care to talk about looks too much – I am modest. I used to get a lot of attention – used to probably be more open and approachable – maybe I was more social or friendly. I have been told I’m beautiful and used to do modeling overseas – but I don’t get approached much now and if I do – it’s from a certain type of man who is hollering to me from across the aisle at a grocery store – whistling and telling me how I made his day, etc. 🙂

    I don’t want to go into too much of a tangent about my dating – but I have tried and I am open to dating all different types – young, old, similar, different, computer nerd, farmer, etc. 🙂 – and I’ve tried to do this, but just haven’t met someone yet. I personally need to just have a no pressure approach to dating – I need the guy to take it easy and let us just totally relax, have fun and get to know each other. From past experiences, I do not want to dream up some fantasy romance before even meeting. And, I can sense it if a guy is doing this – and I can’t go out with him if he is (before even going out) already texting me day and night and needing non-stop sweet talk on the texts. It stresses me out and I feel he will take things too fast and go overboard – skipping past the part of being friends.

    As far as being lonely – I’m going to be honest. I haven’t had sex in 5 yrs. and even before that, so very little compared to people who are in committed relationships or married. So, I’m not feeling the way the woman did in the article – she seemed to feel so in need of that companionship – and so distraught about being alone asking for one set of chopsticks. To me, I’m sorry to be rude but it seems a bit immature. Life is SHORT! She needs to be happy with who she is – generally ok with herself and by herself before being with someone else. Or else you might end up becoming co-dependent with someone you meet – or scare them away. There are a lot worse things in the world – a lot of people struggling with health issues and other problems. Loneliness – I can see how it’s a problem for people too. Maybe do some volunteer work – connect with people again – help someone. In some ways I can understand it a little bit, and in others I don’t – because I have been single for so long. It is natural to be longing for closeness – I’m just saying, it doesn’t have to be in that form and you can be ok with who you are – above all else, and before dating.

    Because I have not had sex in so long (and honestly I am really a bit shy in person but will share this on here) – my hormones are killing me lately!!! When I am ovulating, I know it. My hormones are raging and suddenly I become open to dating again. 🙂 And, it is true that we as humans need physical closeness. I don’t want “friends with benefits,” …well, maybe 🙂 but seriously, I wish it would be possible to just be close with someone – even the cuddling and all that – without the heaviness or pressure or expectations of some type of fantasy future. Sometimes I wish we didn’t complicate everything. When I was a teenager, 16 or 17, my close guy friend, Nick, and my close friend Annie, we would spend the night at Nick’s house. We would go to sleep and we would both be holding his hand and I can’t remember, but I think I could just be cuddling and laying there with him. He was probably just too shy – but he didn’t do anything to us, except that. It was bliss. And, I had one other incredible experience like that – where I was friends with a 28 yr old when I was 17 or 18 (ok that almost sounds illegal) and I would spend the night at his apt. I would wear his flanel if cold and sleep in his bed. He never did a single thing to me. That would be nice to have sometimes. That is the extent of my longing right now. Yes, of course it would be nice to meet someone who I can laugh with, enjoy things with – have adventures with – and I will try my best to put myself out there and be open to it – but until then, I will not feel at a loss. I will not feel sorry for myself in any way. I have not cried over it. But everyone is different, and I know people can really get lonely.

    I think the author should give those guys who asked her out – a chance. They’re probably shy around her but had the guts to ask her out. She thinks they are so-so because they might be a bit timid (I’m totally assuming – and have no idea). But, she should totally go for it and just experiment and try it out. No pressure. No expectations. Hopeful for a friend. And see where it goes. I’m going to just guess here – but if she were to think someone were really spectacular (not sure what that would entail – a fancy job or great looks, etc.) he might end up not really being what she’s looking for anyway. The last time I was dating actively, my goal was to purposely go for guys I normally wouldn’t. It didn’t work – but I tried and I did put myself out there. I dated a young farmer, who was in his early 20s. I dated a guy who was a bit heavy (which really wouldn’t matter if he had a fun personality – but he kept talking about his ex and never seeing his kids) and he was a computer guy, a fitness fanatic ex Marine, and some others from a dating site. Dating site ones really didn’t work well. Anyway, I know I shouldn’t be giving any dating advice, since I’ve been single so long – but there it is. 🙂

    Lastly, there is dangerous side effect of being totally single with complete lack of contact with the opposite sex for so long. Example: today – I went to a new chiropractor. Of course he was handsome. I can’t tell half the time when people are flirting. He was very friendly but not unprofessional. If anything, I was a little unprofessional. Dangerous side effect I mentioned: being single for years + currently ovulating. The man had me sit on the massage table and he stood up right behind my back (I’ve had this done before so I knew what he was going to do). And he told me to put my hand across my chest – then he put his across mine to crack my back. Apparently I am not used to close human contact and just leaned completely into his body behind mine. It happened so fast – I don’t know if he moved away or just quickly did the move where he pulled me back and cracked my back. It seem silly though. But I had this done at a different chiro before – who would literally yank me flush against his body with full force – so I just fell into this guy’s body/chest today! 🙂 Thinking back…it seems funny to me! This is life though. 🙂 Other dangerous side effect when you do start dating and are really attracted to someone – you yourself then might take things too far too quickly – like a wild animal. So, keep that in mind for all the singles who are dating. 🙂 I’ve done that before – and then had to take a step back because I added to that problem of moving things along too quickly – from getting too intense even with kissing – too soon.

    So I think I have made the longest comment I’ve ever posted. Thank you also to Richard – I loved reading your take on it. I too, even as a woman, I would not be ok admitting loneliness. But if I am, I suppose I would say so to a friend. I don’t really feel lonely (honestly only missing my kiddo sometimes because he’d rather do other things than hang out with me!). Rather than loneliness for me, I think my body is craving closeness and I am bored as well and just want to get out and have more fun with some great people.

    I don’t understand the part of the her article about how people should feel empathy for her pain and loneliness and isolation. She can be part of the problem and she has the choice to be part of the solution. Also, I am a single mom – add that to the mix of being a single 30 something yr old and that is a whole other situation. 🙂 I think it helps to be open and to have a positive attitude. I think she is lucky she works in an environment where she is around a lot of people – she can meet so many different types of people. I have always worked from home and now attending college – not living in a happening area – it is a lot harder to meet more people – but it is always possible.

    I think she needs to change her focus – stop focusing on how you feel so lonely and how horrible that is – and learn to be really happy with who you are, single and all. Learn what makes you happy – and if you don’t know it yet, figure it out and meet some great people along the way. 🙂

     

     

    1. 28.1
      judy

      Cora, you are very generous with what you said.   Thank you for your openness and honesty.   I wish you love and a great guy.

      Certainly the idea of dating with no pressure, on either side, means that both can take their sweet time.

      Isn’t it true that while one is already fantasizing about their fabulous sex life/love life together, the other is not “running” at the same speed?

      As someone who has become rather slow at making up my mind about  a man, this “slowness” helps take a good look at someone and allows them the time to “assess” so to speak.   This is not a self-centered comment but more, if I take my time, he can take his time too (and hopefully, we’ll catch up with each other – ha! :o)

      It doesn’t mean anything judgemental about those who are faster, however.

      It just struck me that if a woman cannot admit to others that she misses a man, they may not even notice it! Recent comment  heard about a  strong independent  woman I know “she doesn’t need a man”.

      Hm.

      1. 28.1.1
        Cora

        Hi Judy. Thank you for the nice reply too. 🙂 You are so right – about how one person can be fantasizing about all sorts of fun stuff – and the other is at a different pace. I don’t know how much people notice the other person doing this. But, for me – I am probably obvious if I am doing that – and if a man is doing that – usually his actions also give it away. It’s a strange “game” of push and pull almost. I noticed if I am too upfront – it can easily scare a guy off – but I also have the mentality that life is too short – and if interested, ask the guy out and see what happens. 🙂 And I don’t really think of it as a game – it just seems in our nature for some reason. I like that you take your time – and in your slowness – can get a feel for the situation and let you take it all in. I love that. If the person can’t handle it – and keep pushing (in my experiences) then I tend to push away and move on. I’m not sure if I should give it more of a chance or if I am writing people off too quickly – but if it’s a certain way in the beginning, and I was clear about taking it easy – I just fear how much harder it will be later on. 🙂 Anyway, thank you so much for the nice comment. I wish you the best also. 🙂

    2. 28.2
      Lily

      Cora,

      If you have been a single mom for ten years, your situation is very different than the woman who wrote the article. Raising a child is difficult but does help make a person less lonely. She has never had a child.

      This woman is bright and funny and obviously has a great life. She couldn’t have the career she has if her focus was on her loneliness.

      and whoever suggested that this woman get a dog… Geez! I have had many dogs over the years (they were way more affectionate than my ex-husband!) but a dog is no substitute for a significant other. There is no substitute for waking up next to someone who loves you!

      Cora, you may understand loneliness a bit better when you drive many hours to drop your son off at college and return to an empty house. I know I did!

      1. 28.2.1
        Cora

        Thank you, Lily for a nice and insightful comment. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and I agree…I was probably too harsh with my comment. Everyone is different and in different life situations. For me, since being single for most my life – I am more used to that than not. And, if I am really in love with someone and then do get to experience that closeness and relationship – then I think when it is gone I will feel the loneliness much stronger and worse. About my son and your experience – I know I will feel this in the future. My son is getting more and more independent and less close to me by the day – so I do feel the pain of that little by little…and I know it will be worse. Thank you for making me think! 🙂

  9. 29
    CC

    Cora, thanks for sharing so much. I must say, I don’t think Briony is feeling sorry for herself. I found it really cathartic to read her article, and to know I share many of her feelings. It was validating to know that even though I go out 2-4 times a week for music and dating or visiting friends, and I work and am in a masters degree program that I adore for a fulfilling post retirement career, and I do volunteer work mentoring school age children, own my own home, do all the gardening and cleaning myself and raised 2 amazing daughters alone, both finishing up their bachelors degrees   from a very good UC while working, and one going onto Columbia University in the fall…..I get lonely as hell. Acknowledging one’s feelings is not feeling sorry. But everyone is different and maybe your need for companionship is different than hers. But saying her hurts are not as bad as someone else’s just because she doesn’t have cancer, doesn’t mean she shouldn’t feel deep loss at not achieving what she wants in a mate, especially when she desires children. Maybe the woman with cancer and the amazingly supportive husband is having a better day than her, we can’t judge. These close relationships like husband/wife really contribute greatly to our sense of belonging and well being, our ability to handle other stressors and our optimism about the future. Minimizing the importance of intimacy and connection by saying she is whining is way oversimplifying. Interesting share though, it helps to see how others think and feel. CC

    1. 29.1
      Cora

      Thanks for the thoughtful reply, CC. I think I was harsh with some of what I said. It’s just difficult – the whole situation – and everyone is so different and experiences things so differently. It does help to see other points of view. I shouldn’t minimize her feelings and I didn’t mean to do that. Part of me has really accepted my current single state as the current norm – so it is not a sad thing for me. It was interesting to learn about your life a little too. You’ve done so much and raised two daughters, own the home, etc. That is all significant and huge accomplishments. I am on the verge of buying a home too – and have been overwhelmed with all that’s involved in just renting a home – as the owner lives overseas. Managing a 1 acre yard – gardening, etc. – I enjoy it though – although it’s a lot of work. I have some great neighbors -and we all help each other out and it means a lot. Part of being single, that I like, is in learning do to more things myself. For example, fixing things – it’s more just my nature that I like learning how to do something if I can manage it – ie; doing a tune up on the car, replacing a toilet, etc. It makes me really excited to learn and do these things on my own. I had to think about what you said and what the writer said a little more. And, I have had moments where I felt that loneliness or longing. An example – my dentist – he and the hygienist are two of the nicest, funniest and kindest – warm people I’ve ever met. My dentist is a veteran (as am I) and he’ s just a compassionate guy that I am drawn to – feel safe around, etc. When I have been around him the last couple times, I felt that time – that loneliness – for a man like him. I do realize though, at the same time, that people aren’t perfect and the grass isn’t always greener behind closed doors. But, I know that is the type of guy I would want to be with – and at those times – just a few times – I felt sad about it. But, then life swept me away again with projects, my kid and school and all that other stuff. I think it reminds me, when meeting someone who I find to be what I would be looking for – that there are compatible people out there. Anyway, I’m rambling way too much. I should have more compassion for the writer’s feelings – and I didn’t mean to downplay them – we are all different. It’s nice to learn about each other on here. 🙂 Thanks CC.

  10. 30
    jon

    Yeah I do think that men are better equipped emotionally to handle loneliness and being independent.   She could always get more dogs or cats.   Though there are more humans on the planet than ever before, it is very easy to live an isolated lifestyle away from a community. Some women have high standards that are uncompromising, and this prevents them from getting close to any unworthy men, or they are protecting themselves from being hurt when a man dumps her in the future.

  11. 31
    Rebecca

    I wonder how much this discussion would be different if we were a largely homosexual population on this comment stream – so we couldn’t try to blame our difficulties on some “other” whose standards are too high.   What I read in Briony’s article was an honesty that rings true.   I had a full life – close friends, great health, financial stability, fulfilling career – in the single years after my divorce and they were the most miserable time of my life.   If it’s true that you can only be happy in a couple if you were happy alone, then I’m screwed, ’cause what I value most is family and relationships.   It’s enormously important to me to have a best friend/ lover/ life partner, and I will rearrange pretty much all the other things that are going well in my life in service of that goal.   I can’t buy the argument that people who are lonely are too picky or too unattractive or any of the other judgments that have been suggested above – my experience leads me to believe I’ve just been enormously lucky and I could just as easily be the PSB.   So to those out there who are still living in the lonely, I’ll just say I feel your pain and wish you all the best.

  12. 32
    Stillsingleat40

    I can identify with much of what Briony writes in her post. I find that loneliness comes in waves. Right now I am spending the summer with family and friends overseas and I really don’t have time to be lonely as every day and evening is filled with important people. I know that I am going to find it harder to return home to single life where avoiding loneliness entails constant effort in investing in friendships, social groups and meeting new people yet there are still many lonely days. The issue with being lonely is that, in my experience, it can eventually lead to a path of dating the wrong person for the wrong reason. We start to date to avoid loneliness rather than because we actually like the person. I am meeting men who are interested in me at the moment but being surrounded by people I care about and whose company I enjoy is making me reluctant to give up time with them to spend men I am just not feeling any attraction for or whose behaviour is borderline. I am currently alone but not lonely. The more difficult thing is to keep that up when returning to a life when I live alone and can maybe go for days without seeing anyone important to me. That I find hard.

  13. 33
    Kevin

    Loneliness is a relative term , some people are highly introverted & have little need for people in their lives , you can be lonely in a relationship too.   Personally , post divorce , I’ve chosen to stay single , I simply cannot be bothered with dating , women seem to want the moon on a stick , whilst giving nothing in return. What I hate is the double standard , single woman   = ” You go girl , men are **** anyway ” , whilst single man = ” disgusting creepy defective basement dwelling pervert ” .   Not everyone is cut out for relationships , women & men are poles apart in the way each gender thinks & acts , this creates misunderstanding , confusion & stress….so for me , dating / relationships , no thanks !!

  14. 34
    Christopher Allman

    The only people I have ever encountered who have a problem with women acknowledging loneliness and a desire for male companionship is feminists. Some seem to feel that unless a woman is always projecting an air of independence from men, she is contributing to the patriarchal oppression of women.
    (And I lived with 5 feminists, so i’m basing this on first hand experience. Plus what I have encountered online)

  15. 35
    Cane

    Unrealistic  expectations  are  why  she’s  lonely.  She’ll  figure  it  out  when  she’s 40.

    1. 35.1
      Cora

      Interesting. According to some Buddhist teachings, the root of a person’s suffering is attachment (and expectations also). We crave and long for something or expect things to be certain way instead of accepting and enjoying what we have currently. I’m taking a religion class in college and your comment reminded me of this…very insightful in your one sentence of advice. Thank you!

  16. 36
    GL

    I think staring what you want always leads to the best result for your life. You want a relationship, they don’t…ok part ways. I think you’re getting into games and not being true to yourself if you don’t state what you want. I’m tired of tip-toeing around what guys supposedly want in a woman. I’ve gotten such negative advice from men. “Nobody wants a relationship, just roll with it.”…”Don’t say that!” (Referring to me telling this guy I really like that if we’re going to have sex its because we’re going somewhere). It’s so dumb. Men want partnerships too. I think we let the immature ones get away with too much.

  17. 37
    TucsonDude

    Briony’s article is interesting and well-written.   It also is a lot to which I (a 40-something, divorced, straight man) cannot relate.   I’m an introvert, and – while I have lots of good friends, I go out and I date a lot – I LOVE my time home alone.   I almost never get lonely.   Rather, it’s usually, “geez – I need some quiet time to recharge from all this socializing.”   I recognize that Briony may not be like that, and that she craves snuggles and a partner at home.   It’s OK for her to want that, and (considering the original question) there is nothing wrong with expressing that.   My only caution to Briony is that having a partner does not solve all your problems;   it just gives you different problems.   Oh, that, and – I don’t understand the “breed before you die” sentiment, as I have no desire to have kids.

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