[DISC]How much does not being in a relationship affects you and how do you cope?

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Post by TheRoux on Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:55 pm

I've been reading around these last few days and this question pops up in my head quite often as a reaction to people's comments. When I talk about it to my friends, or even when I read online discussions, I'll see people saying that in order to find people for relationships, you need to be fairly happy/healthy yourself, otherwise people will shun/ignore you and/or you'll find people equally unhappy/unhealthy and that has good potential of leading to a toxic relationship.

But what if your need/desire to be in a relationship is so strong that it hampers your happiness? How much does your surrounding friends affect you with their own relationships? And what are your tricks for keeping it together?

TL;DR I mostly feel the loneliness when alone at home. I'm a hugger... So I watch as much series as I can so not to think about it. But it's not really addressing the "problem", simply avoiding it.

I've been told so many times to learn to be happy all by myself, and in a sense I am. I'm almost finished with Engineering school (just 1 year left), I got a job quasi-promised to me one I finish. I've got some good friends (sadly my best friend is moving to another city (for 3 years) in July). I have a few good activity groups (no dancing yet, but I'm considering picking it up one I have no more evening courses to take). So my schedule give me enough to occupy myself and have some downtime from time to time. But I simply cannot shake off the loneliness. I consider myself lucky to have been in 3 relationships before (even though those ended badly, hard but efficient learning process), however it simply made my desire so much stronger. And it eventually comes out with the tones I use when I speak, and what I say. My friends started to tell me it's getting slightly depressing, so I make an effort to cheer up and not talk about it when with them. I most often than not see myself as a Forever Alone Guy (Forever Available for the optimists), even if I know that's not entirely true. I mean, I'm bound to find/meet someone eventually, right? And what makes it worse is when I realize that so many people around me are either already having babies or are having lots "adventures" around town. When I meet new people, we usually have a blast. I've told you guys already about this girl I met. We talk almost every day and see each other every week, and are, for all intents and purposes, on a strictly friendly relationship. Things are awesome, we're having a great time. But when I get back home, alone and tired... no one to cuddle (oh god, I could cuddle til the end of Time), well depression sets in. I become lazy, unmotivated and sad. So I drug myself with Star Trek, Doctor Who and whatever other series and games I can find... Then I go to sleep, and sometime (some days are worse than others) I'll cry a little hugging my pillow. Then everything starts all over again... I feel trapped in a roller (ever done canoe in rivers?)

Anyone wants to pitch in?

EDIT: I posted this a bit quickly. It might have well been in the Health and Wellbeing section.
EDIT: EDIT: I actually found this thread by nearly_nakuan, which is pretty much what I was loooking for...
http://nerdlounge.canadian-forum.com/t137-finding-contentment-as-a-single-person
How did I miss this...?
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Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:37 pm

I can see a case being made for this having to do with wanting a healthy relationship with yourself. Or discussing romantic/sexual relationships in the context of lacking them. What I'm saying is the subject divisions are kind of fuzzy and these organizational uncertainties come up all the time but nobody seems much bothered by it and the mods never grumble too much if they do have to move a thread. Wink

Most of what you described sounds very familiar except for the crying, but even that happens in my head. So you have my sympathy. And my gratitude, 'cause I think your way of expressing things probably comes across much more straightforwardly than what I would end up saying.

Old thread is old, and I was at a loss for how to continue responding to it. No objections if you wanna breathe some new life into it by adding your own thoughts or point to stuff that seems helpful to you or whatever, but also no need to abandon your own thread or beat yourself up about having made it. Deep breaths. Wink

Wish you luck in finding your answers.
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Post by Guest on Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:12 pm

I wonder how much of this is a product of our changing culture, in that we no longer stay close by the areas where we grew up.

I'm a hugger, too, and a cuddler, and just a "touch"er in general. But I get most of that now through family. I get it from my kids, my parents, my cousins... there's a legitimate, very real pleasure and sense of belonging that we get from touch. I think living alone is really a strange thing, when we look at human history and clans and tribes and big family groups. But we all want "our own space" now. Which is fine, but... I wonder what we're losing by it.

I was just thinking about spinsters, in the days of, for instance, Jane Austen. She wasn't married, but she lived with family her whole life. She was never in a place where she could just stay in her room for a week and no one would notice. I think that's something that's relatively new as a cultural norm.

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Post by eselle28 on Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:28 pm

ElizaJane wrote:I wonder how much of this is a product of our changing culture, in that we no longer stay close by the areas where we grew up.

I'm a hugger, too, and a cuddler, and just a "touch"er in general.  But I get most of that now through family.  I get it from my kids, my parents, my cousins... there's a legitimate, very real pleasure and sense of belonging that we get from touch.  I think living alone is really a strange thing, when we look at human history and clans and tribes and big family groups.  But we all want "our own space" now.  Which is fine, but... I wonder what we're losing by it.

I was just thinking about spinsters, in the days of, for instance, Jane Austen.  She wasn't married, but she lived with family her whole life.  She was never in a place where she could just stay in her room for a week and no one would notice.  I think that's something that's relatively new as a cultural norm.

Hmm, that's interesting. I kind of am digging the spinster lifestyle right now. It's in part because I'm pretty put off by what seems to be expected in relationships versus what they can provide, but I also think there's something to be said for the flip side of looser family ties. Austen never had to worry about no one noticing if she hadn't left her room for a week, but she also had to move to a place she didn't want to when she was 25 years old because her father decided to relocate, and that was in a family that was good enough to her to encourage her artistic pursuits. It's sort of hard for me to reconcile the idea that the closeness of those groups probably does have a lot of benefit with the historical one that women tended to get the short end of those tradeoffs and the personal one that my particular family tends not to be either very touchy or very easy to deal with.

But this is maybe the wrong angle on not having a relationship for this thread, which seems to be a bit more about the effect of not being in a relationship when it's severely negative. I think I remember feeling a bit of that when I was single in New York, and saw a reasonable number of women who had partners and relationships at least vaguely resembled what I'd want. After leaving, I had a period where it really hurt as I was realizing nothing like that was available to me anymore and that it would be very difficult to rearrange my life so that it would be. That was sort of a big ball of pain about the loss of many things, and I dealt with it by ranting to friends and also by kind of being a pain in the ass. Now that that's become the new normal, it's more of an ache, and when I think about relationships I tend to think more about the ones I see described online or modeled for me in the community where I currently live, and it's easier for me to focus on the downsides and remember there are a lot of things I'd really rather be without.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:47 pm

Both very interesting ideas. I sometimes do wonder if it might not be better for my own mental health to phase out a few of my relationships with friends. Thing is the particular ones I'm thinking of are generally really great friends; it's just that these days every time I see them they're with their significant other, fiancee, spouse, whatever, and intermittently getting doey-eyed and cuddly.

Brief story: went somewhere with several friends once. Due to alcohol our car pool back home had fewer cars and more tired people. Therefore our shortest member ended up lying across the rest of us for the duration of the trip. Several minutes passed where all I could think of was how nice it was to have someone's warm head resting across my chest, and how lucky her boyfriend was.

I am not even especially prone to spontaneous hugs and the like, except with people I know well enough to know they approve of spontaneous hugs. Touch sure feels nice sometimes, though.
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Post by Caffeinated on Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:55 pm

TheRoux wrote:I've been reading around these last few days and this question pops up in my head quite often as a reaction to people's comments. When I talk about it to my friends, or even when I read online discussions, I'll see people saying that in order to find people for relationships, you need to be fairly happy/healthy yourself, otherwise people will shun/ignore you and/or you'll find people equally unhappy/unhealthy and that has good potential of leading to a toxic relationship.

I hope this isn't too much of a tangent, but the bolded part is something I've seen a lot of people say too, and it drives me up the wall. I think it's incorrect and potentially harmful. It goes along with the idea that before you can love someone else you have to first love yourself, which is also an idea I disagree with. I kind of get where people are coming from when they say it, but it rubs me the wrong way, particularly because it's become such a piece of accepted thinking.

Part of the problem with that idea, is that it can lead people who are lonely but scrupulous to believe that they would be doing something wrong or unethical if they tried to date someone before first perfecting themself and resolving all their issues. And to that, I can only say that it is not wrong or unethical to go out into the dating world with baggage and issues. Depending on the issue, it might make it trickier to get out there or to meet someone. But it's not wrong to try.

Another part of the problem is that it can serve as an excuse not to go out and try, because there's always another issue that could need work before you feel perfected enough to be dateable. Plus it can lead to a feeling that perfection is the minimum standard for dateable, which is just not true.

Another part of the problem is that it seems to deny that relationships can help fix some of a person's problems. I'm not saying a person should go all the way to the other side and say stuff like "all he needed was the love of a good woman". No. But, come on, the way we interact with other humans is a big part of our emotional lives, and can have a real role to play in resolving issues.

Last, I think it's ok to really really want to find someone, and to feel really really sad about not having done so yet. I think the idea that you have to already be happy in order to "deserve" someone is the kind of thing that makes lonely people twist themselves up into pretzels trying to become good enough to be "deserving". Speaking for myself, I was very unhappy alone, and highly motivated to find someone. And I think that inner motivation helped me find my relationship.

tl;dr I hate when it seems like people are being told to deny their emotional needs before they can have a chance at meeting those needs.

/tangent
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Post by The Wisp on Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:09 pm

ElizaJane wrote:I wonder how much of this is a product of our changing culture, in that we no longer stay close by the areas where we grew up.

I'm a hugger, too, and a cuddler, and just a "touch"er in general.  But I get most of that now through family.  I get it from my kids, my parents, my cousins... there's a legitimate, very real pleasure and sense of belonging that we get from touch.  I think living alone is really a strange thing, when we look at human history and clans and tribes and big family groups.  But we all want "our own space" now.  Which is fine, but... I wonder what we're losing by it.

Well, what if you don't get your needs met by your family (that's my situation, not that they're actively bad, either)?

I always fantasize about community and group living and affectionate touch, but then I think of the obligations, and the potential conflicts, etc. When I was younger and had friends I was tired and frustrated and all I wanted was to be left alone. Now that I've been alone for a third of my life, all I want is community and touch. But I still don't want the downsides of close ties, either. I want closeness and long-term security in that closeness, but also autonomy and control. I don't think you can have both.

Re Caffeinated: That post is awesome. I'm glad I'm not alone feeling that way.
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Post by Werel on Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:13 pm

A+, Caffeinated.

I prefer Dan Savage's take: "We don't have to be perfect to be in a relationship, but we do have to be in good working order." What counts as "working order" will vary from person to person, but in my book, it's pretty fucking minimal.
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Post by Guest on Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:21 pm

eselle28 wrote:
ElizaJane wrote:I was just thinking about spinsters, in the days of, for instance, Jane Austen.  She wasn't married, but she lived with family her whole life.  She was never in a place where she could just stay in her room for a week and no one would notice.  I think that's something that's relatively new as a cultural norm.

Hmm, that's interesting. I kind of am digging the spinster lifestyle right now. It's in part because I'm pretty put off by what seems to be expected in relationships versus what they can provide, but I also think there's something to be said for the flip side of looser family ties. Austen never had to worry about no one noticing if she hadn't left her room for a week, but she also had to move to a place she didn't want to when she was 25 years old because her father decided to relocate, and that was in a family that was good enough to her to encourage her artistic pursuits. It's sort of hard for me to reconcile the idea that the closeness of those groups probably does have a lot of benefit with the historical one that women tended to get the short end of those tradeoffs and the personal one that my particular family tends not to be either very touchy or very easy to deal with.

Right, and I'm not advocating that things were perfect, or better, or even nearly as good then. It's just that I wonder if this particular issue, of craving physical closeness, is made worse by a shift towards solitary life in our culture.

To use a less loaded example (and I apologize for the accidental derail with gender roles in the 19th century), when I was in middle school, I was with other kids pretty much every day after school, and I was NOT a popular kid. But there was one girl in my neighborhood, and we'd go throw a softball around or watch Maury Povich or play with babydolls or jump on her trampoline or play pool probably 4 days out of 5, and when we didn't, I'd ride my bike to the library or something like that.

Now, most of the teens I see (in the same town I grew up in), spend most of their afternoons at home on the phone, texting or talking or Facebooking. And I see that in adult relationships, too -- my mom is frustrated that her siblings are mostly communicating through email and Facebook, and most of my work meetings involve me sitting on a phone in my office. I think there's something to be said for just being physically near other people, and touching other people (even if just with handshakes or goodbye hugs), and we don't have as much opportunity to get that outside of romantic relationships.

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Post by Guest on Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:33 am

Caffeinated wrote:
I hope this isn't too much of a tangent, but the bolded part is something I've seen a lot of people say too, and it drives me up the wall. I think it's incorrect and potentially harmful. It goes along with the idea that before you can love someone else you have to first love yourself, which is also an idea I disagree with. I kind of get where people are coming from when they say it, but it rubs me the wrong way, particularly because it's become such a piece of accepted thinking.

Part of the problem with that idea, is that it can lead people who are lonely but scrupulous to believe that they would be doing something wrong or unethical if they tried to date someone before first perfecting themself and resolving all their issues. And to that, I can only say that it is not wrong or unethical to go out into the dating world with baggage and issues. Depending on the issue, it might make it trickier to get out there or to meet someone. But it's not wrong to try.

Another part of the problem is that it can serve as an excuse not to go out and try, because there's always another issue that could need work before you feel perfected enough to be dateable. Plus it can lead to a feeling that perfection is the minimum standard for dateable, which is just not true.

Another part of the problem is that it seems to deny that relationships can help fix some of a person's problems. I'm not saying a person should go all the way to the other side and say stuff like "all he needed was the love of a good woman". No. But, come on, the way we interact with other humans is a big part of our emotional lives, and can have a real role to play in resolving issues.

Last, I think it's ok to really really want to find someone, and to feel really really sad about not having done so yet. I think the idea that you have to already be happy in order to "deserve" someone is the kind of thing that makes lonely people twist themselves up into pretzels trying to become good enough to be "deserving". Speaking for myself, I was very unhappy alone, and highly motivated to find someone. And I think that inner motivation helped me find my relationship.

tl;dr I hate when it seems like people are being told to deny their emotional needs before they can have a chance at meeting those needs.

/tangent

[DISC]How much does not being in a relationship affects you and how do you cope? Giphy

Yes!! Dear god, yes. I like myself enough, really, I do. I love my hair, my sense of humor, my taste in ladies, music, hobbies, there's all kinds of shit I love about me. I just hate my skills with the opposite gender. :/ And for the record, I didn't really realize it until sometime ago, but I'm also a hugger/cuddler.

As for how I deal with romantic loneliness? Internet, humor, friends, beer and good food. Laughter is the best medicine on the goddamn planet, I love a good laugh especially if it's on the internet. Razz And also friend, beer and food help, too bad we're pretty spread out, but it happens. Additionally I love swimming, nothing makes me feel more alive and free than completing a 500 to 1000 yd swim. Plus it's good for you. :3

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Post by Jayce on Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:04 am

Have you tried to ask more women out or approach nore women? One of the ways I make myself feel better is by putting myself out there. It helps because I'm doing something about my dating life proactively so I feel like its possible for it to lead somewhere.

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Post by reboot on Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:23 am

My feelings about not being in a relationship are mixed. On one hand, I would like to have sex again. On the other, my one relationship was 13+ years of misery and abuse, so I do not feel like I am missing anything. For companionship, emotional support and physical touch, I have my friends. My roommate in particular fills the relationship role since we were super close friends before living together and are now cohabitating in a really, really small cottage... as in so small we have to share a bed because it is too tiny for two beds or a bed and a couch. The intimate, Platonic relationship with him fills most of the spaces a romantic relationship would.
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Post by Guest on Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:28 am

I deal with romantic loneliness through work, I guess. But I don't have too much lonliness in the first place so I'm probably not a good example. That said, work does help.

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Post by Guest on Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:53 am

Not being in a relationship doesn't bother me that much. I'd be lying if I said that it doesn't bother me at all, but things like having no friends, having nobody to talk to or spend time with, having a bad relationship with my family, the lasting damage and trauma of all the abuse I endured, being a joke to everyone I know and being reminded every day that the world doesn't want me it...those things hurt much, much, much more than not being in a relationship. Maybe if I had friends, or if I were socially accepted, I'd feel differently about relationships.

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Post by Gman on Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:12 am

The Mikey wrote:
Caffeinated wrote:
I hope this isn't too much of a tangent, but the bolded part is something I've seen a lot of people say too, and it drives me up the wall. I think it's incorrect and potentially harmful. It goes along with the idea that before you can love someone else you have to first love yourself, which is also an idea I disagree with. I kind of get where people are coming from when they say it, but it rubs me the wrong way, particularly because it's become such a piece of accepted thinking.

Part of the problem with that idea, is that it can lead people who are lonely but scrupulous to believe that they would be doing something wrong or unethical if they tried to date someone before first perfecting themself and resolving all their issues. And to that, I can only say that it is not wrong or unethical to go out into the dating world with baggage and issues. Depending on the issue, it might make it trickier to get out there or to meet someone. But it's not wrong to try.

Another part of the problem is that it can serve as an excuse not to go out and try, because there's always another issue that could need work before you feel perfected enough to be dateable. Plus it can lead to a feeling that perfection is the minimum standard for dateable, which is just not true.

Another part of the problem is that it seems to deny that relationships can help fix some of a person's problems. I'm not saying a person should go all the way to the other side and say stuff like "all he needed was the love of a good woman". No. But, come on, the way we interact with other humans is a big part of our emotional lives, and can have a real role to play in resolving issues.

Last, I think it's ok to really really want to find someone, and to feel really really sad about not having done so yet. I think the idea that you have to already be happy in order to "deserve" someone is the kind of thing that makes lonely people twist themselves up into pretzels trying to become good enough to be "deserving". Speaking for myself, I was very unhappy alone, and highly motivated to find someone. And I think that inner motivation helped me find my relationship.

tl;dr I hate when it seems like people are being told to deny their emotional needs before they can have a chance at meeting those needs.

/tangent

[DISC]How much does not being in a relationship affects you and how do you cope? Giphy

Yes!! Dear god, yes. I like myself enough, really, I do. I love my hair, my sense of humor, my taste in ladies, music, hobbies, there's all kinds of shit I love about me. I just hate my skills with the opposite gender. :/ And for the record, I didn't really realize it until sometime ago, but I'm also a hugger/cuddler.

As for how I deal with romantic loneliness? Internet, humor, friends, beer and good food. Laughter is the best medicine on the goddamn planet, I love a good laugh especially if it's on the internet. Razz And also friend, beer and food help, too bad we're pretty spread out, but it happens. Additionally I love swimming, nothing makes me feel more alive and free than completing a 500 to 1000 yd swim. Plus it's good for you. :3

Yup, Pretty much all of the above applies to me too. Also - just like the OP, I kind of find myself crying myself at night from wanting some intimacy so much. It's not a full blown depression, more like these mini depression episodes that I have every now and then. But I find that I kind of feel better afterwards, letting some steam off like that. 
But just like the mikey, I agree that laughter, friends, food and beer are great therapy methods for dealing with these thoughts. (notice to go easy with the alcohol though). 

But instead of swimming, my undeniably favorite activity that really helps keep me sane is dancing!! 
It is hands down one of the most important things to have ever happened to me. It really allows you to connect with other people in a limited physical and mental way, but it's nontheless gives so much energy, hope and happiness. I have becomed familiar with many great new people, gained a new cool skillset, learned to be much more social than ever and how to deal with a wide spectrum of people. But what I like about this activity most is the way that it manages to bridge gaps between people and connect them in such unexpected ways. It made me a much more people loving person and more of an optimist in general.
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Post by caliseivy on Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:59 am

This has always been a bit of a conflict for me even when I was in a relationship forever ago. There are times when I want, even need intimacy, and then there are times when I don't even want to be in the same room as another human (I get drained easily). I also grew up shying away from physical contact and intimacy so at times even hugging or expressing love for my siblings is awkward.

I try to distract myself when those feelings come about by reaching out to my siblings through text or email to just laugh about stupid pictures or absolutely ridiculous topics. That seems to help.

I imagine babies or young relatives are a great source for hugs, my nephew is always willing to hug and hold hands. Holding/playing with a baby helps me too. When I had one, pets were great too. I don't think every dog or cat is cool with being hugged, but just petting them or having them around was calming for me.
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Post by LadyIkaros on Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:29 pm

eselle28 wrote:
ElizaJane wrote:I wonder how much of this is a product of our changing culture, in that we no longer stay close by the areas where we grew up.

I'm a hugger, too, and a cuddler, and just a "touch"er in general.  But I get most of that now through family.  I get it from my kids, my parents, my cousins... there's a legitimate, very real pleasure and sense of belonging that we get from touch.  I think living alone is really a strange thing, when we look at human history and clans and tribes and big family groups.  But we all want "our own space" now.  Which is fine, but... I wonder what we're losing by it.

I was just thinking about spinsters, in the days of, for instance, Jane Austen.  She wasn't married, but she lived with family her whole life.  She was never in a place where she could just stay in her room for a week and no one would notice.  I think that's something that's relatively new as a cultural norm.

Hmm, that's interesting. I kind of am digging the spinster lifestyle right now. It's in part because I'm pretty put off by what seems to be expected in relationships versus what they can provide, but I also think there's something to be said for the flip side of looser family ties. Austen never had to worry about no one noticing if she hadn't left her room for a week, but she also had to move to a place she didn't want to when she was 25 years old because her father decided to relocate, and that was in a family that was good enough to her to encourage her artistic pursuits. It's sort of hard for me to reconcile the idea that the closeness of those groups probably does have a lot of benefit with the historical one that women tended to get the short end of those tradeoffs and the personal one that my particular family tends not to be either very touchy or very easy to deal with.

Agreed. Family closeness on a cultural level is a result of dependency; in other words, one or more people will always be in the subordinate position.
Which isn't to say that Eliza Jane doesn't have a point that our individualistic lifestyle with it's options and choices, (which I consider good things!), can very easily foster isolation and loneliness. It's not just for us awkward introverts, it's a problem for a lot of people. I've also seen relationships and nuclear families described as often lonely places.
A solution I'm considering is looking for a kind of commune living. If I can find one with the right profile for me, I think that could be a pretty ideal mix of community and independence.
So that's one idea for dealing with it, at least if the problem is loneliness. If it is specifically a lack of intimacy, it's probably no help.

eselle28 wrote:But this is maybe the wrong angle on not having a relationship for this thread, which seems to be a bit more about the effect of not being in a relationship when it's severely negative. I think I remember feeling a bit of that when I was single in New York, and saw a reasonable number of women who had partners and relationships at least vaguely resembled what I'd want. After leaving, I had a period where it really hurt as I was realizing nothing like that was available to me anymore and that it would be very difficult to rearrange my life so that it would be. That was sort of a big ball of pain about the loss of many things, and I dealt with it by ranting to friends and also by kind of being a pain in the ass. Now that that's become the new normal, it's more of an ache, and when I think about relationships I tend to think more about the ones I see described online or modeled for me in the community where I currently live, and it's easier for me to focus on the downsides and remember there are a lot of things I'd really rather be without.

I can't complain about my location - except that there are more women than men here, especially in what could roughly be described as my social group, but oh well - but I also remind myself of all the relationships I wouldn't want to be in, if I start feeling down about being single. You could say that it's focusing on the negative, or sour grapes, but for me it helps to remember that I'm not particularly defect in my solitary lifestyle while everyone else have found the key to a happy, contended life. Plenty of people in relationships are neither happy nor contended with them. (It's not that I don't wish people happiness, I'm not that petty, but it's still nice to be able to counter the norm that there's one model for a good life and you've failed it, even if it's only in your head).
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Post by TheRoux on Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:39 pm

ElizaJane wrote:I'm a hugger, too, and a cuddler, and just a "touch"er in general. But I get most of that now through family. I get it from my kids, my parents, my cousins... there's a legitimate, very real pleasure and sense of belonging that we get from touch.

My dad has never really been huggish with us (as kids or adults). So the times we hugged were scarce but kinda special. My mum used to hug me (or reciprocate my hugs all the time). So basically I grew up hugging mostly my mum and my sisters (learning that it was ok to hug girls but not boys). When I was twelve, my parents divorced and us kids went to live with my dad (a bit unusual situation). We ended up seeing our mum 1-2 days a week, so less hugging. To cope with this, I started going after my sisters more than usual, and eventually grew tired of it (with puberty and all, it got a little weird). So basically I went through high school with very little physical contact. And I some point, I think I got scared of touching people, or rather, I got scared that they would find it inappropriate and would stop being my friend. I remember one time in summer camp, we were a group of girls and guys and we were saying our goodbyes at the end of camp. One of the girls started giving out hugs and at some point I asked for one too. She answered with a smile: "Don't ask, just come and get it." And so I did. But I did not totally snap out of the anxiety of physical contact... not totally anyway. Its much easier for me to give out hugs than it was before, but it's still limited. In a group of friends of mine, three of us (2 guys and a girl) were very close. My guy friend would always tickle the girl. And I always felt I wanted to do that too, but I never got past my anxiety and do it. It's only when I got my first girlfriend that I finally felt comfortable enough to really engage in physical contact... I mean, we were having sex, so anything goes now. But that actually backfired I think, because I started associating satisfying physical with being in a relationship... and here I am now.

NOTE: I do have some guy friends I hug, but it's always on the premise of some kind of joke: "I missed you my dear Cylon! C'mere so I can give you a big toaster hug!!" (We play the Battlestar Galactica Board Game)

Caffeinated wrote:Part of the problem with that idea, is that it can lead people who are lonely but scrupulous to believe that they would be doing something wrong or unethical if they tried to date someone before first perfecting themself and resolving all their issues. And to that, I can only say that it is not wrong or unethical to go out into the dating world with baggage and issues. Depending on the issue, it might make it trickier to get out there or to meet someone. But it's not wrong to try.

^^ THIIIIIIIIS! ^^
I mean, we all have issues... What if this the happiest I can be by myself? Does it mean that I simply does not deserve to be in a relationship? Fuck this, I'll try anyway Wink And if I happen to be the one to break the seal and summon the four horsemen, then so be it.

The Wisp wrote:I always fantasize about community and group living and affectionate touch, but then I think of the obligations, and the potential conflicts, etc.

Orgies? XD
Seriously though, having lots of friends is really nice, but also tiring. I think the best would be being part of a group being held together by a few key people by organizing events and stuff. That's be putting lots of responsibility on few shoulders.

As for how I deal with romantic loneliness? Internet, humor, friends, beer and good food. Laughter is the best medicine on the goddamn planet, I love a good laugh especially if it's on the internet.

Definitely, but also temporarily. Friends cannot always be there, and my current friends can't really provide me with satisfying physical contact as they too are awkward with it. Internet, and humor? Been my late night best friends since I first had a computer. Good food? This I tend to be conflicted. I love food, but at the same time I eat too much and gain weight, and end up feeling bad because of it. Last year, I bought nice shirts to wear at work. Now I can't even fit in them because of those extra pounds (and wash-shrinking maybe). In the end though, everybody got their own tricks.

Gman wrote:Yup, Pretty much all of the above applies to me too. Also - just like the OP, I kind of find myself crying myself at night from wanting some intimacy so much. It's not a full blown depression, more like these mini depression episodes that I have every now and then. But I find that I kind of feel better afterwards, letting some steam off like that.
But just like the mikey, I agree that laughter, friends, food and beer are great therapy methods for dealing with these thoughts. (notice to go easy with the alcohol though).

Glad to know I'm not the only one.The good news is that I don't like beer much (my lady friend likes to troll me about that). The bad news is that I like scotch. But good news, I'm a social drinker... I never drink alone. It gives me reason to invite people over and savour some Glenns together.

caliseivy wrote:I imagine babies or young relatives are a great source for hugs, my nephew is always willing to hug and hold hands. Holding/playing with a baby helps me too. When I had one, pets were great too. I don't think every dog or cat is cool with being hugged, but just petting them or having them around was calming for me.

My older sister has 2 little boys (and 2 more on the way). During the Holidays, me and my little sister took em off her hands for a weekend, so that she and her boyfriend of 10+ years could have some time alone together (they ended up sleeping the entire weekend XD). I had a tremendous time with the kids. Especially on the Saturday night. My sister had gone to a holiday supper with friends, and I was left alone to get the kids to bed. The oldest (4y) went to bed easily but the youngest was crying was showing no signs of stopping. I didn't know exactly what he wanted. I put him down in his crib... crying, picked him up still crying... and then... I made him standing on my knees (I was sitting), and he just opened his arms and let himself fall on me, resting his head on my shoulder... and then silence... I had a hard time not to cry as I sang them bed time songs... (yeah yeah, I'm an emotional one)

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Post by Dan_Brodribb on Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:12 pm

I agree with those who say it's not a great message to tell people they have to reach a certain level of X before they can be in a relationship. I've seen plenty of imperfect people in relationships. And there are also people who have different levels of cognitive or emotional development through circumstances of birth or injury and in my view they have as much a right to try and make a go of things as anyone else.

On the subject of feelings and relationships...

I've found I experience roughly the same amount of loneliness, dissatisfaction, boredom, and restlessness whether I'm single, dating, in a committed relationship, or seeing multiple people.

The difference I've noticed is that my brain comes up with different explanations for the exact same feeling.

in the "Punching Down" thread, ElizaJane mentioned what the authors of the "Thanks for the Feedback" book call 'switchtracking' where we think we're talking about one issue, but in fact, we are talking about two different things.

So in this sort of case it becomes: Is this about my relationship status or is this about my feelings? Do I want to be in a relationship or do I want the loneliness to end? Am I single because I want to remain single or because I want to avoid hurt/disappointment, etc.? Am I staying because this a workable situation or am I staying because I'm worried this is the best I can do? Am I blowing up this relationship because it's not working or because I'm feeling bored and restless?

TheRoux, as an uncle, I loved the story about your nephews by the way.

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Post by Guest on Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:25 pm

Dan_Brodribb wrote: ElizaJane mentioned what the authors of the "Thanks for the Feedback" book call 'switchtracking'

THANK YOU.

I only have the audiobook of that, not the readable version, and I was honestly preparing to relisten to the whole thing because not remembering that word was driving me up a wall.

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Post by Stumbles on Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:56 pm

TheRoux wrote:
My older sister has 2 little boys (and 2 more on the way). During the Holidays, me and my little sister took em off her hands for a weekend, so that she and her boyfriend of 10+ years could have some time alone together (they ended up sleeping the entire weekend XD). I had a tremendous time with the kids. Especially on the Saturday night. My sister had gone to a holiday supper with friends, and I was left alone to get the kids to bed. The oldest (4y) went to bed easily but the youngest was crying was showing no signs of stopping. I didn't know exactly what he wanted. I put him down in his crib... crying, picked him up still crying... and then... I made him standing on my knees (I was sitting), and he just opened his arms and let himself fall on me, resting his head on my shoulder... and then silence... I had a hard time not to cry as I sang them bed time songs... (yeah yeah, I'm an emotional one)

Dude. Totally volunteer to babysit for your sister more often. You get to be "the cool uncle" with the tykes, your sister and her partner get to have alone time, and you get some of that affection we all love.

I got nuthin' on the whole romantic relationship thing. Loneliness, however. Have you considered volunteering? Maybe at a retirement center or homeless shelter? Big Brothers? Or even getting a pet if that is something you would desire or could do? It's not the same thing, but, when I get a little lonely/sad!drunk/depressed I love snuggling my guinea pigs. Gosh, I hope this isn't coming off as condescending. ^.^'
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Post by Guest on Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:04 pm

Caffeinated wrote:

tl;dr I hate when it seems like people are being told to deny their emotional needs before they can have a chance at meeting those needs.

/tangent

That's like the default thing I hear women being told whenever they complain about being single or being unable to find a "good man." I honestly can't say I've ever been told that as a man, that I'm emotionally unstable. But basically they're told "love yourself and people will love you" and that inevitably backfires. I see a lot of relationships where women tolerate some truly worthless people just so they can say they're dating. One-sided sex, being ignored or insulted, nothing physical but certainly some verbal abuse.

And when I mean worthless, I mean worthless. These are people that if they died tomorrow, nobody would care. They work their dead-end jobs and then hit on underage girls. Since I'm barely out of teenhood myself, this is why I get to be the magic person to see all of this. I hate where I live.

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Post by OneTrueGuest on Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:27 pm

Ugh, if that's really the case, I hate where you live too, Glides.

And yeah, this thread hits really close to home. Because wanting to be with something I think is what most humans want. I'm pretty lucky in that I've always had a large circle of friends and an excellent support system, but even then I would fall into a deep deep depression being single. I'd rant and rant at whoever would listen: "I have multiple careers, I go out all the time, I have friends, I have hobbies, I have a full life. I'm still sad because I want to be with someone and I don't think that's wrong!"

But I will tell you that when my boyfriend asked me out, I initially said no. I was not in the right place emotionally to handle a boyfriend. So even though it was something I wanted so much, I knew that I would screw it up if we started dating then. I asked him if he could wait a month and I could see where I was emotionally. If I was ready.

So I think there's definitely something to being in a good place, but I also don't think that good place means free of all negative emotion. I think it's a tricky thing to articulate, especially in writing, but there's a difference between a desperate need for someone to fulfill your life, and a need for someone to complement your life. But I also think it's okay to be sad to be alone. That's only human.

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Post by Suika on Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:28 pm

I manage.

Of course, one learns to adapt quickly, or I would probably have been depressed already from the lack of human contact.
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Post by TheRoux on Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:58 pm

Stumbles wrote: It's not the same thing, but, when I get a little lonely/sad!drunk/depressed I love snuggling my guinea pigs. Gosh, I hope this isn't coming off as condescending. ^.^'

Haha! I've got guiney pigs too! I snuggle with them from time to time but not for too long or else they'll piss on me... they've got such a short bladder, poor things, they can't help it.

Glides wrote:That's like the default thing I hear women being told whenever they complain about being single or being unable to find a "good man."

Yeah, I find this ridiculous... A friend of mine (with whom I've had some "history") is always being told that by various people... problem is, that only makes her hate herself more and believe she'll never find someone good for her... This mentality is very hard to get rid of, even with the help of a friend...

OneTrueGuest wrote:But I will tell you that when my boyfriend asked me out, I initially said no. I was not in the right place emotionally to handle a boyfriend. So even though it was something I wanted so much, I knew that I would screw it up if we started dating then. I asked him if he could wait a month and I could see where I was emotionally. If I was ready.

You, lady, deserve a Cookie!! Recognizing we are not ready to be in a relationship takes a lot of introspection, and not many people are willing to do that. Also saying no to someone we are (might be) interested in takes a lot of willpower too. It worked out in the end I presume?

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