As an introvert, I know that being alone and being lonely are two very different things that don’t necessarily go hand in hand. In the grand scheme of things, that feeling of loneliness is a lot scarier than being single. I can handle being alone, but this is why I don’t know if I could deal with feeling genuinely lonely for the rest of my life:
I like having lots of quality alone time. I don’t like socializing 24/7. I need alone time to recharge, so the thought of spending a whole weekend on my own isn’t depressing to me — it’s something to look forward to. I’ve never had a problem with being alone, but feeling lonely is a different thing entirely.
Loneliness is emotional, not physical. Being lonely is about a lot more than being physically alone. It’s feeling like I have no one I can count on and no one who understands and accepts me. I don’t feel that way now, but the fact that it could happen is a lot scarier than the prospect of being single.
Being alone doesn’t mean I don’t have anyone. I might not have plans every weekend, and I might end up doing a lot of things on my own. But that’s because I choose to, not because I have no one who wants to hang out with me. I have people who are there for me when I need them, and that means I rarely feel lonely. The idea of losing them, though, is terrifying.
I can’t control if I feel lonely or not. Loneliness can creep up on you, and even though I’m perfectly fine with being single and spending time alone, I might still feel lonely at times. It may not be logical, but feelings usually aren’t, and that’s the worst part.
Loneliness can be a symptom of other issues. I might feel lonely because I’m just not happy in general, and that’s definitely something I’m afraid of. I know my own happiness is a highly personal thing that only I’m in charge of, but saying I’m happy and actually meaning it are too very different things.
In the moment, being alone isn’t that bad. It’s when I start thinking about an infinite future of always being alone and never having anyone to share anything with that I start to get nervous. Merely thinking about that possibility has a way of inspiring a preemptive sense of loneliness.
Other people’s opinions wear me down. The pity single women have to endure from people who are in relationships and think they have it so much better can be exhausting. Seeing other people happily coupled up makes me want that too, and even though I’m technically fine with being alone, it still seems like I’m missing out on certain things.
I don’t like feeling desperate. Loneliness makes me long for a change, but also feel a sense of helplessness because I don’t know how to make it happen. I may be putting myself out into the dating scene, but not having any luck at all will bring anyone down. Powerlessness leads to desperation, and no one likes feeling like that.
It’s possible to be lonely without being alone. Even if I’m in a relationship, there’s no guarantee I’ll always feel connected to the person. It’s almost worse to be with someone if you still feel alone while you’re with them. I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t have my back and doesn’t understand me, because that would make me feel even more alone than just being single.
I can choose to be alone, but I would never choose loneliness. Plenty of women happily make the choice to be single at certain points in their lives. But no one would ever make the choice to be lonely for a long period of time. Being alone doesn’t have to be a negative thing, but being lonely usually is.
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