DISCLAIMER: This is by no means a social study on loneliness and I am by no means a psychiatrist. This is simply what I’ve seen in my own experience and what I have concluded from those experiences.
Recently I’ve noticed a trend with many people who are single and struggle with PMO. Loneliness is a huge factor in their lives. it had me thinking… what is the emotion of loneliness and how can we break it down and analyze it to be able to combat it. I don’t believe that the solution to not feeling lonely is to socialize (although this may give temporary relief). There are people who have many friends yet still feel extremely lonely. You can be in a room full of people and still feel lonely.
I’ve had a period of roughly 6 years in my life where I didn’t have a girlfriend, and I would only see my friends 1 day during the week. Yet during this time I’ve never felt lonely. I was fairly contempt with myself. I was even ok with the idea of being a celibate for the rest of my life. I had no desire for an intimate relationship.
Over the past month I’ve dated this girl for 3 weeks and broke up. We got very intimate (no sex though). And at this point I’ve felt lonelier than I’ve ever felt before. The feeling of loneliness would be at it’s strongest the day after just seeing her. I’d have this intense emotion of missing her, of wanting to be with her, almost like a craving.
Loneliness is the withdrawal of intimacy.
I truly believe that the 2 are linked hand in hand. Notice I did not say absence, but withdrawal. Meaning that without first the sense of intimacy you will not get the sense of loneliness. Say there is a highschool student that all his friends are in a relationship except for him, he will have this strong urge of loneliness and a desire to be with someone, and at times this desire can cloud his judgment where he can become desperate and end up with someone that might not be the best fit for him. Now say that there was the same student and he went to an all boys school so no one around was dating anyone. The feeling of loneliness will not exist in his mind. The desire to have a girlfriend may be irrelevant in his mind (taking out other social situations outside of school).
That being said, even the image of intimacy will give us a feeling of intimacy, regardless of it being pointed towards us or not. Just as an image of sex will give us the urge for sex. This is why Rom-Coms exist. They give us an image of a relationship and it creates in us a desire to acquire that relationship, and if we don’t have it, it leads to loneliness.
The main problem here is the image of intimacy that we create in our minds.
What I want people to know is that feeling lonely is not because you are alone, it’s because you have the image of intimacy in your mind. Take out that image first and the feeling of loneliness will fade with it. Fulfilling that fantasy of the image of intimacy can actually make your loneliness worse.
Until you empty your mind of all desires for intimacy, then can you truly build healthy intimate relationships that do no cause loneliness.