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Are You Lonely?

Being single can make me feel lonely, especially during holidays weekends. On July 4 and Memorial Day, I smell tantalizing barbecue grilling in neighbors' backyards. But I feel embarrassed to invite myself over to a friend’s family event.

All of my women friends are married. I have great female hiking partners (all married). We hike together one or two days per week. On weekends they are busy with their husbands.

The gym used to be a social place. But now everyone except me wears headphones. Headphones are a giant “Buzz Off- Leave Me Alone” sign. No more fun conversations with other athletes.

Meet Up disbanded in Wenatchee due to lack of participation. I didn’t go because their activities were too sedentary: playing Bingo and Bunco, pizza with wine/beer, and watching local (boring) baseball and hockey games. The Wenatchee Hiking Meetup doesn’t allow anyone above the age of 35. I could hike circles around those young whippersnappers!

As a Democrat, it helps to join marches and demonstrations. It’s wonderful to be surrounded by like-minded people. But that’s just one day. Volunteering as a college mentor helps me connect with people. The students I mentor win scholarships and go to college. That’s the point.

It’s lonely being a Democrat and atheist in a rural, Republican-dominated, largely married, church-going town. I grew up in Michigan in a family of highly intelligent musicians and artists. At age 21, I moved to Washington State to climb mountains, and stayed.

With a 146 IQ, I have felt different from other people, like I don’t fit in. Sometime I think I don’t belong on this planet.

"My intensity is too much for some people," my daughter Claire, 28, said. Ditto. But we both enjoy our intensity, heightened senses, high energy, intelligence, searching minds, sensuality and humor. This makes us who we are, and immeasurably enriches our lives.

As an extrovert, I love conversation and connecting with people. But I need alone time for reading, meditation, running and weightlifting. Although I enjoy being alone, I miss having a loving relationship.

I miss physical intimacy with a man. I don't mean just sex. I miss cuddling, foreplay, tender touch, romance, laughter and conversations. Without that, casual sex makes me feel sad.

According to psychologists, there are six types of loneliness:

  1. Interpersonal loneliness: This is the result of lacking or losing a significant, or intimate, relationship.

  2. Social loneliness: This is where a person is on the fringes of a group, excluded from a group, or is actively rejected.

  3. Cultural loneliness: This is where a person belongs to a different culture and feels that they don’t fit, or belong, in the new culture.

  4. Intellectual loneliness: This is where a person feels intellectually, or educationally, out of synch with their peers, their family or their social group.

  5. Psychological loneliness: This is where a person has experienced a trauma that separates them out from others around them. That is, it’s something other people can’t fully understand.

  6. Existential or cosmic loneliness: This is an isolating loneliness experienced by a person who is facing death.

For me, 1, 2 and 4 would apply, especially #4.

LiterateHiker 9 Mar 22

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124 comments

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30

I tend to enjoy solitude. That is not to say I don't feel lonely sometimes, but fortunately not terribly often.

Deb57 Level 8 Mar 22, 2018

Ditto.

Same here. Sometimes I really do think the preasure to fit in causes this loneliness when someone doesn't quite. I think I get more annoyed by many people than feel lonely to be honest.

I like to enjoy solitude too. There are times when I would like to communicate with people who are on a similar wavelength. Overall, I would consider myself a dry lonely person. I have a wonderful husband and two loving dogs, but I have not succeeded in the friend department. I am friendly and can talk about anything, yet nothing friends don’t stick around- I am mainly talking about female friends. I would very much like to have female friends to talk to.

@AmyLF I remember my ex introduced me to all his friends at once. It was major anxiety! But I sat listened to all of them. Then his friend spoke up and said, “you’ve been here an hour and haven’t said anything”. But I felt like I was part of the conversation and was engaging. I just did it without talking. Shrugs I enjoy listening.

14

It might be time to move somewhere where you've like minded people. You don't sound happy where you are.

I am not lonley. I'm also not a 146 IQ. I'm equally not an idiot. I am giving volunteer English classes to immigrants at the local community centre. It's really rewarding.

morlll Level 7 Mar 22, 2018

Good for you, morlll! Thank you for volunteering. Being a college mentor is the most rewarding volunteer work I have ever done. I help minority, low income students write essays for college and scholarship applications. It thrills me to send these kids to college.

But move where? I can't stand Seattle's traffic congestion, endless cold, gray, dripping skies, and the unwelcoming reserve of longtime Seattleites, widely known as the "Seattle Freeze." While attending graduate school at the University of Washington, I lived and worked in Seattle for eight years.

Western Washington hiking trails are extremely overcrowded. What's the point of killing yourself to hike to a high peak or ridge, when you can't see squat in the fog, mist and clouds?

You need stimulating people and can always take trips back to nature. We live in Montreal and my back yard is still full of snow. It's a great city but cold. How about San Diego. Tuscon is nice too. The Austin bomber is done so Austin is supposed to be a liberal haven.

Hiking is my passion. In 2017, I hiked 326 miles with over 62,000' elevation gain (and loss). The women's hiking groups boiled down to three strong hikers: Karen, Gro and me. Hiking is an uplifting, transcendent experience for me. I love living close to the spectacular Cascade Mountains! My daughter lives in the Seattle area. It's sunny in Wenatchee. Blue skies and gorgeous mountain vistas. I could never live where it's flat.

13

I have intellectual loneliness.

Same

@NaderAliAmer Yes.

12

Some one and some four, but I tolerate it pretty well. I see it, acknowledge it, and get distracted by more interesting thoughts. (did I mention I spend all day on some stupid website?) 🙂

skado Level 8 Mar 22, 2018

Which stupid website would that be? 🙂

@VictoriaNotes .. I don’t believe I know, and I don’t believe it can be known. 😉

12

1 and 2 here. I am putting myself out there and have made friends here on Agnostic and even visited a fellow member.

Good for you, sassy girl!

11

I experience 1, 2, 3,4 and a bit of 5. Maybe sometimes a little 6, because I can feel my vitality slowly waning.

About 1: A double-whammy, here. In 2008, my wife of 24 years shot herself in the head right in front of me. And fortune smiled on me, and brought the best woman I have known in my life, and we had 8 wonderful years. And then SHE died, last December. And the dating thing is like cancer. Look, I don't mind talking with someone, and if it's not there, it's not there. But it does get soul-destroying after a while that it is so hard to connect with people.

About 2: I've always been somewhat of a loner, which has probably had the side-effect of people not wanting to include me in their groups. And so, I'm not.

About 3: I live in North Dakota, and I'm a liberal. 'Nuff said.

About 4: I am highly intelligent (my mother told me I tested at 166 as a child. Might be true). I have always been clever, inventive, and highly abstract in my thought. The times I have longed for a lover or a friend who could match me step-by-step are beyond counting. I have learned to hide my intelligence among people, because they resent it. This gives me a PROFOUND sense of alienation, as if I am trapped within this skin.

5 is related to 1, so I won't expound upon it further.

In my opinion, casual sex is only slightly better than masturbation. I like to share....not just my body, you know, my being. It falls a bit flat if that is not being returned. The before and after are really important, the sense of being able to let down the walls, and truly trust another. It seems ironic that this is something SO MANY are looking for, and that successfully finding it is yet so hard. I think it would be a boon to society if we weren't so restrictive in how people are allowed to connect with each other. LIke, for example, you're only allowed to touch lovers and family. Touching friends, even a simple hug, is seen as awkward, at best. And I, for one, enjoy a fierce intellectual argument, just for the dance of ideas.

Tl;dr version: I feel you, sister.

Deveno, Thank you for your honesty, personal and thoughtful post. You have my sympathy. I'm sorry you experienced so much trauma. Have you seen a counselor?

I agree with you. I have to feel safe emotionally, mentally and physically to open up and have great sex. Trust is essential and takes time.

Have you considered joining a support group? You would get hugs there. Apparently It is easier for women to hug a friend than it is for men. Kathleen

Damn bro, hang in there

9

Everyone is lonely to some extent -- even those that are married often have a hard time sharing their deepest, fears and desires. This forum is a godsend to many of us - there are others like "me" out there - and I don't feel quite as lonely knowing that.

pops410, Thank your for your insightful reply. Well said. Appreciate you.

It is said somewhere ,you can be in the middle of a group of people and still be lonely ,

The loneliest time in my life was during my marriage. Its about expectations. I've not been lonely since I separated my life from his....

6

I'm lonely only because too many women have high standard.

Chap, you know one thing women tend to like is confidence? If you put yourself down like that people will think you're needy and fishing for compliments. I've seen your photo and you're a perfectly good looking man; keep looking and you'll find someone who's right for you. 🙂

The most difficult thing is not growing old alone, It is growing old with people who make you feel alone..

@TweedleDee I agree

5

Sometimes I am lonely, yes, but not as lonely as I felt over the last few years of my (39 year) marriage! I have moments of boredom and loneliness, and reach out to friends and family, but even during those bouts of boredom I am still a LOT happier than I had been when the marriage went south. I do feel your pain, it is tough to live singly in a couples-oriented society. I remain hopeful to find a gentleman with whom to spend more of my time, but it is tough to get past some of the social and religious barriers!

Your description of the different types of loneliness is wonderfully phrased. Most of us undoubtedly feel more than one type at any given time, and some are more easily resolved than others.

Rustee Level 7 July 18, 2018
5

Thank you for your honesty and listing the types of loneliness. It’s nice to know at least in some sense that you’re not alone in your loneliness. I appreciated the line "My intensity is too much for some people," I’ve said this to some of my close friends about myself. 2 & 4

I appreciate your kind message.

@LiterateHiker this post made me want to go take an IQ test so I went and took the mini free ones. I think now I’m going to go pay to take the full one. Interesting to note that high intelligence quotient may correlate to emotional difficulty. I’ve often thought I feel more and notice more than others around me.

@Coreeeves are you an empathy. I am I feel so much pain even when someone writes it down. Sometimes your birth sign has a lot to do with it.

@TweedleDee I’m not sure if I’m an empath or how to find that out.

@Coreeeves if you think you may be an empath you probably are to at least some degree.

5

'1', my wife of 17 years left me, '3' moved from Los Angeles to a small farm town in SW Michigan and I don't like NASCAR or the NHL and '5' cause I have traveled the world many times and have had 20+ surgeries and a few near death experiences...no one gets me.

You have my sympathy, Agr8m8. I'm so sorry that you had over 20 surgeries and nearly died. Why do you say "No one gets me"?

You might consider asking the nearest hospital or clinic if they have a support groups.

You are lucky to live so close to Lake Michigan. After growing up in Union Lake, Michigan, I miss the Great Lakes.

I have the same problem, I am an empath I feel everyones emotions and when I am drained no one seems to understand that I need to be away from people in order to energize myself. I tired of everyone else's problems so I have to sort of grow my own garden and leave everyone out of my life till I can recouperate.

@LiterateHiker ...I feel no one understands me here. I fast during Thanksgiving. I don't celebrate Christian holiday, nor Valentines day, I am anti government, anti hype, anti establishment, don't like NASCAR or the NFL, don't chew tobacco or think Taco Bell is fancy food. I am on Match.com and soon my queen shall rise out of the crowd like a blossoming lotus on a summer day, from the depths and faded waters of life.

@TweedleDee I understand you completely. I have had to learn to protect my self, too many see my kindness as a weakness and that is usually a huge mistake on their party, but I have learned to keep the antennas up and don't engage in 'non worthy' people, sounds shitty but true. Time alone, for me, is vital, meditating, listening to Al Jarreau, singing....but mostly I dig..... silence

5

I am. I completely understand, being a gay Humanist raising children alone in the deep south.... It is grating. I also live in a military town, so the idea of making friends doesn't even cross my mind anymore.... Everyone leaves. And yes, they all are married and I can't relate. I'm single. I'll be 29 in a few months and it's starting to dawn on me that this meat suit I walk around in isn't ever going to get better looking.... I'm an inch away from having sex with the next girl who touches my arm but I guess I'd have to go to some club to find that and I hate clubs. We need a humanist meet and greet bookshop for goodness' sake! I fill my intellectual loneliness on the internet with like minded people. The rest, I fill the void with Netflix, photography, wine, and sleep. Sleep is the only place I'm not ridiculously lonely.

MagicAndRainbow, you have my sympathy. Appreciate your wry humor and honesty.

My older sister lives in Georgia. Driving in Georgia, I made fun of misspelled signs until Lynne told me to shut up.

Perhaps you could go to art shows. That's a low-pressure way to meet interesting people. When gay artists show their work, attend opening night. Meet the artist and their supporters. Good luck.

5

Yeah, but am trying real hard to give myself space and keep out of any type of commitment until I get my mind right.

5

I relate to the difficulty of connecting with others when you're single. I've had periods like that, experiencing what I call the "fifth wheel effect". It doesn't help to intellectually understand why it happens. It still sucks how people run in mindless packs based on commitments around things like marital or social status.

Oddly I had a male friend where I used to live, and he and his wife sort of adopted me as an unofficial family member after my prior wife's death, sometimes even going to the movies with me, and it seemed the most natural thing in the world. However, what he saw as the things we had in common, apparently was mostly living in the same community. Once I moved away, he was only minimally interested in keeping in touch or visting even though I would look him up when I was in the 'hood (happened once a year due to business obligations). Or maybe there was subconscious pity for my unchosen singleness; my moving away was coincident with being in a new relationship.

This year I did not look him up and he did not inquire about it. I let it die a natural death. I have learned to do that when there's not reciprocity and balance and loyalty in a relationship.

5

It would be interesting if you turned this into a poll. With the six categories as choices. Easier to differentiate the choices, from the comments.

5

I love having company and I can talk just anything. I also know how to be alone.

Ditto.

4

I've been single for quite a while, and heartbroken over failed or unrequited love on numerous occasions. Weekends and holidays can be often tough reminders that I'm unattached romantically. Whenever possible I try to keep busy with work or friends, as both a distraction and a reminder that I don't have to brood and ruminate if I don't want to. Lately I've been more successful in staving off loneliness when it arrives by taking jobs and pursuing activities that I enjoy, regardless of whether anyone wants to share the experience with me or not. Maybe I'm finally accepting (if in baby steps) that loneliness is an occasional price of caring, that misery doesn't have to be permanent, that I matter as much as anyone else, and that I'm better off doing my own thing than miserable in a bad relationship, romantic or otherwise.

4

Have you seen the Chevy commercial where the woman says, "my dream car would have ALL of these", and the guy says, "what if I told you there was a car that DID have all of these features?" I went over the list of six and realized I actually qualified in every category, plus I count a seventh, and that is when you've accepted aloneness as a natural condition and are not intending to make any changes to that condition.

4

I've been through most of these in the last 8 years. I'm a 4 now. I've used my extrovertedness to break away from some aspects of feeling lonely, but it's just been a long act I've been putting on since I was in highschool.
Am I tired of the act? Not yet.
Am I hopeful I'll find like-minded friends and sexual partners? Yes...hopefully sooner than later.

I have begun to realize that when I'm not able to be "myself" in front of the people that surround me, it ends up taking a toll in other places in my life. Right now I'm in a place where I can't commit to most romantic relationships, and it's because I don't feel entirely fulfilled being committed to someone who differs so much from who I really am. For good or bad, I've found myself very polyamorous and non-committal. However, this is far from my personal dream of raising a large family one day. I feel lost, in a crazy cycle. Thanks for your question. It made me think about...me. I just realized I'm not making any efforts to address what I need in life.

I understand how you feel. One of the things I have learned is that feeling of being alone in a crowd. I am one to give people second chances. I went to a catholic high school and back then you were not accepted unless you were rich, athletic, or the in crowd with the kids. And I was bullied and didn't have any friends. Well 45 yrs later I gave these people a second chance and over a period of get togethers nothing has changed. They don't know me and I don't know them... They only know me as someone they graduated with and nothing more. Feeling alone with a group of people makes you feel even more lonely. I have an on going life span of finding people who accept you just the way you are. Don't settle for anything less. We all deserve better than someone treating you like you don't exist.

4

I can identify totally with this post. Having a high IQ puts you in a very small group of the population and that group is spread very thinly outside major university cities. It's hard having no-one to talk to on your own level and I get the impression that in the USA it is even harder than in Europe, since there seems to be a positive hostility towards intellectuals. I think this website helps, but it is not the same as having an actual close friend or partner who is on your level. You are young enough to throw yourself into physical activities and use up some energy that way, and I agree, teaching/mentoring can be very rewarding. It sounds as though you have a strong bond with your daughter which is good. I have better arguments/discussions with my children and ex-husband than with pretty well all the other people I meet!
Maybe we should form a 'lonely intellectuals group'.

Dear Pensionista, It was an uplifting experience to wake up to your message. Thank you for your kind and comforting words. "Maybe we should form a 'lonely intellectuals group.'" Very funny! Hugs.

Dear LiterateHiker, any time you want a chat about anything, I am usually available. I have far too much spare time. I am happy to talk about issues, books, things you are thinking or wondering about.

3

I enjoy my own company well enough, but I miss being in a relationship. My last two relationships left me a little jaded, so I decided to take some time away from dating. A year turned into two, then three...that was ten years ago! I guess I didn't want to settle for someone who didn't have all that I wanted in a woman. I need to be attracted to a person, but inner beauty is more important than outer. I also find it hard to meet people who share my liberal, agnostic humanistic views, especially in the red state of AZ. My family and I don't see eye to eye on most issues. The lone exception is my daughter. She ended up with my intelligence, world views, and my sense of humor. This has made the last ten years less lonely, but she is a young adult now and busy with her own escapades. I guess that is the greatest factor in why I am now proactive in my search for like minded people and possibly a mate.

I hear ya. Right now it's me and my kids as far as close relationship. They'll be gone in the blink of an eye. I do wonder what my life will like in about 8 years. Big changes, including retirement

3

Well the plot thickens.... I don't see myself into any of the six categories and yet, here I am typing by myself talking to virtual friends....

3

Like many of the comments below , I'm numbers 1 , 2 , & 4 . My IQ is 143 . I'm usually without an intimate relationship , a fringe person in whatever social groups I'm in , with a high IQ . I'm definitely an introvert , and spend most of my time , on my own , which , for the most part , suites me , just fine .

3

Thank you for posting this, sometimes I like being alone but sometimes feeling so alone is crushing. I have made a real effort to make friends, connecting with old friends and making some new ones. It takes a lot of effort but I find it is worth it. I have also found that working on self improvement really helps with that feeling. If you are well read and very smart sometimes people do not get your jokes or puns. But if you are willing to listen I find I can find common ground with most people.

Thank you for your kind, insightful and well-written reply. I appreciate you.

3

I'm a garage door repairman, so for my job I get out in to all parts of the city to work in peoples houses. I'm always amazed at the endless stretches of homes occupied by people who married and started families and a part of me occasionally wonders if I'd be happier if I had been one of them.

I sometimes have to remind myself that their lifestyle as opposed to mine amounts to six of one and a half dozen of the other. Yes, they have a home and a family to go back to at night after a hard days work, but while they're in over their heads in shitty diapers and college savings funds, I'm off having fun and seeing exotic parts of the world.

The marriage and family thing will never be in the cards for me, and that's ok. I decided a long time ago that it was an opportunity for me to enjoy the type of lifestyle which your typical married guy can only dream about.

I get married dudes all the time who want to hear stories about my adventures in places like Thailand and Costa Rica. How was your latest trip, buddy? Did you meet a woman? Who was she? What does she look like? Show me a picture! Wow! She's really hott! I'll bet she was a lot of fun. Damn! My wife hasn't had sex with me in weeks!

Everybody feels lonely on occasion. It's a part of the human condition. The trick is to remind yourself that if you're single, you're really no worse off in that regard than someone who isn't. Use your single status to your advantage. Society will try to convince you that being single is some sort of disorder. It's not.

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