The Kinds Of Loneliness No One Talks About

The Kinds Of Loneliness No One Talks About

What do you know about loneliness?

When we think about loneliness, many of us imagine the classic image of the single person at a party, the elderly widow, or the friendless teen. However, loneliness is sneaky. It doesn’t care about your relationship status, your age, or how many social media followers you have. There are types of loneliness that hide in plain sight, forms of disconnection nobody realizes you’re feeling. Here are some of the more hidden experiences so they can be recognized and maybe feel a little less isolating.

1. Loneliness within a relationship

You can be married, living with your partner, and still feel profoundly alone, Time Magazine notes. This happens when the emotional connection fizzles. No deep conversations, no feeling truly seen or understood by the person you share your life with. It’s a quiet loneliness, harder to pinpoint than outright neglect.

2. The loneliness of being different

Whether it’s race, sexual orientation, disability, or just a quirky personality that never fit the mold, feeling like the perpetual outsider is painful. You long for a community where you don’t have to explain yourself, where belonging feels effortless. But finding your tribe takes time and courage.

3. Existential loneliness

This is the big questions kind of loneliness: the vastness of the universe, our tiny role in it, the search for meaning… It tends to hit when we’re going through major life transitions or facing our mortality. While a common human experience, it’s rarely discussed over brunch with friends.

4. The loneliness of success

You’ve “made it” by society’s standards – great career, nice house. But somewhere along the way, authentic relationships fell by the wayside. All the achievement in the world can’t replace deep human connection. Sadly, success can isolate you, making people see your status rather than you.

5. The loneliness of the caregiver

Caring for a sick loved one is an act of incredible love, but also incredibly isolating. Your world shrinks. Saying “no” to social invites breeds guilt, and friends may not understand why you can’t hang out like before. It’s the loneliness of shouldering a burden that’s invisible to most.

6. Social media loneliness

Scrolling through endless perfect lives can make your own feel lacking, even if you know it’s curated. Comparison is the thief of joy, as they say, and social media makes it an Olympic sport. It warps our expectations of how connection is supposed to look, exacerbating that feeling of not quite measuring up.

7. The loneliness of motherhood

Motherhood is sold as all smiles and snuggles, but it’s also relentless and lonely as heck, The Bump acknowledges. Especially with young kids, your world shrinks. Adult conversation becomes a luxury, and losing your sense of identity is common. Society puts moms on a pedestal yet provides shockingly little support.

8. The loneliness of chronic illness/pain

When your body fails you, it impacts everything, including relationships. Friends drift away because they don’t know what to say. Social events become impossible, and the isolation compounds the suffering you’re already going through. People see your illness, not the person beneath it.

9. The loneliness of grief

Grief is messy and everyone processes it differently. Well-meaning friends may say “move on” too soon, while others simply fade away, unsure how to support you. The world doesn’t stop for your heartbreak, creating a profound sense of isolation even if surrounded by people.

10. The loneliness of the misunderstood

Maybe you’re neurodivergent, have a mental illness, or simply process the world uniquely. The constant effort of masking yourself to fit in is exhausting. It breeds loneliness because finding people with whom you can be your true self, without judgment, is a rare gift.

11. Spiritual loneliness

Whether you’re questioning your faith, feeling disillusioned with organized religion, or living in a community where your beliefs differ from the majority – it’s incredibly isolating. This type of loneliness hits your core identity, your understanding of your place in the universe, making it especially profound.

12. The loneliness of the “strong one”

People always rely on you, the emotionally stable one, the rock. But who do you lean on? Being the perpetually strong one means rarely letting your guard down, leading to hidden loneliness, as true vulnerability becomes difficult when everyone expects you to have it together.

13. The loneliness of the creative

Whether you’re a writer, artist, or musician… creating is often a solitary pursuit. The intense focus required for your work can be isolating, even if you love what you do. Craving feedback, camaraderie, and that feeling of being understood in your process is perfectly normal.

14. The loneliness of moving to a new place

Uprooting your life, even by choice, is disruptive. Leaving behind a familiar community and creating a new social network from scratch takes time and effort. There’s a loneliness in the in-between stage, the not-quite-belonging-yet, that can hit harder than anticipated.

15. The loneliness of the leader

The higher you climb the ladder, the lonelier it can get. Big decisions, shouldering responsibility, and the inability to be fully transparent with those you manage… it’s the “it’s lonely at the top” cliché for a reason. Finding peers who truly understand the pressures is key.

16. Situational loneliness

Even happily partnered people can experience this during temporary separations. Long work trips, a spouse in the military, or an extended hospital stay – these create a loneliness born of circumstances, making it no less painful while it lasts.

17. The loneliness of not being enough

Deep down, you feel like you’re never truly good enough, smart enough, whatever enough. This core belief warps all your relationships. You withdraw emotionally, sabotaging connection before anyone can discover you’re “flawed.” It’s a self-perpetuating cycle, rooted in self-worth struggles.

Enjoy this piece? Give it a like and follow Bolde on MSN for more!

Originally from Australia, Emma Mills graduated from the University of Queensland with a dual degree in Philosophy and Applied Linguistics before moving to Los Angeles to become a professional matchmaker (a bit of a shift, obviously). Since 2015, she has helped more than 150 people find lasting love and remains passionate about bringing amazing singletons together.

Emma is also the author of the upcoming Hachette publication, "Off the Beaten Track: Finding Lasting Love in the Least Likely of Places," due out in January 2025.