Loneliness sucks but we all experience it at some point. Some people deal with it OK, but for others, it’s much harder. Those who struggle to cope usually end up doing really unhelpful things when they’re feeling alone that only make their situation worse—here are just a few.
Stalking exes It’s easy to fall back on the past when you’re feeling lonely in the present. This may come in the form of creeping hard on your ex’s social media page and maybe even creeping on their new girlfriend’s page. This habit only leads to misery. Very few people look at their ex’s Instagram and then feel joy afterward. Instead, they likely feel all sorts of frustrated, sad, and even lonelier.
Unsafe sex with strangers Perhaps one of the most dangerous, sleeping with strangers without protection can be an unfortunate consequence of being lonely. Maybe it’s because the other person didn’t want to use protection and you just went along with it or you don’t care in the first place. Not shaming you, but this is a very dangerous thing to do and can easily result in STDs.
Perfectionism Perhaps your perfectionism affects the way you act or maybe it affects the way that you view others. Either way, it’s like a toxin in your mind. It causes you to be too critical, meaning nothing is ever good enough. You’re rarely satisfied, always wanting more than what you have. This could take the form of being over-critical about your body or judging someone for a small habit. That perfectionism is always barking in your ear about what’s wrong.
Isolation It’s easy to feel really down and out about life when you’re also feeling lonely. This may cause you to isolate from your family and friends and stop talking to people so much. You’re turning down plans and going right home from work every night. Your friends haven’t seen you in ages. Isolating is easy to do when you feel all alone anyway, but it definitely only makes things worse.
Burning out on dating Sometimes when you’re lonely you can end up jumping from person to person trying to find someone to settle on. You can go on literally dozens of first dates and have none of them work out. As a result, you feel jaded as hell and you’re ready to throw in the towel. Maybe temporarily you swear off dating for good. This is an exhausting place to be in and it takes some serious rest to begin to recover from it.
Projection When you really want something to happen, it’s easy to project that fantasy onto another person. You imagine them as brighter, kinder, and hotter than they are. You picture them as your lover forever and ever, then you’re devastated when it doesn’t work out. Projection is so easy to do and your imagination can really run wild. The scenarios that the mind can come up with are impressive. Living outside of reality only causes pain, unfortunately.
Settling You know that someone is emotionally unavailable yet you choose to date them anyway. You could definitely find someone who’s a better match but you really just want someone, anyone, right this moment. This is what we call settling and it’s a subtle way to hurt yourself because on the surface, everything may seem OK. You can be more vulnerable to doing it when you’re lonely.
Ignoring red flags If you really think you like someone, it may be easy to ignore a red flag or three. Especially when you’re lonely, you’re willing to allow things to slip by. You don’t like it when someone smokes weed but you find yourself making excuses for this person you’re dating. You just pretend that the red flag isn’t there, delusionally hoping for the best. Red flags can look green when we’re seeing what we want to see instead of the truth.
Negative self-talk I know this is something that’s very difficult to control, but being lonely can definitely exacerbate it and make it even harder. You have this awful critic in your head who’s judging your every move. They’re calling you names, telling you that you’re not good enough, and comparing you to everyone else. It’s brutal. The negative self-talk is so loud you can’t hear anything else. It stems from long before you were lonely, but here it is, even worse.
Constantly needing validation You have a bunch of conversations going on Tinder because you can’t bear to be by yourself for a few minutes. You need constant attention and validation in order to feel okay in your own skin. You know that this pattern isn’t sustainable, but you can’t help but keep chasing that external validation. Inevitably, though, you end up feeling more lonely than not.
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