Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Fear of Loneliness

     People are scared to be alone and they do stupid things because of it.  They get married, stay married, move, have sex, return to an ex, go out with someone they know isn't right for them, get engaged, get drunk and hookup in bars, all just because they're desperate not to be alone.  Mistakes both big and small are made just because of the fear of being by themselves.  I have friends and family that are doing all of those things right now, some are doing more than one of those at the same time, for no other reason than that they're scared to be alone.  They try to convince themselves that they have better reasons but deep down I think they know the truth.
     I've never understood it.  I don't enjoy being lonely.  I don't think anyone does.  I don't get fearing it, though.  I'm not going to change myself or my life just to be with someone especially if that person isn't the right one.  If they person is the right one they won't expect me to change myself or my life.  We'll help each other improve ourselves and our lives.  I guess I just think it's logical that being alone is better than being with the wrong person and I don't understand how anyone else can see it differently.
     I like to try to understand things I don't understand, though.  So I've been searching for an explanation as to why people do these things.  Most of those who study such things attribute it mostly to a biological imperative to be social.  The survival of our species depended on us developing relationships to aid and procreate so they think that there is still something deep down in our DNA that drives us to desire relationships and makes us afraid of loneliness.  It's hard for me to buy that though.  As the days when we had to fight for survival have become longer and longer ago we've left many instincts and fears behind.  Why would we hold onto this one?
     Others claim that the fear of being alone is mostly a product of our modern environment.  They say that living in close quarters, social media, the internet, and many other facets of modern life have not just fostered an expectation of being with someone, and being in constant contact with them, but have actually made people afraid of loneliness.  They also say that our culture is built to support relationships and that can cause those that are single to feel shunned or outcast.  This sounds a little more plausible to be but it doesn't affect me much.  Probably because, while I pay a lot of attention to the people around me, I'm often oblivious to the world around me.
     So I still really don't have an explanation as to why the people around me are so afraid of being alone that they make tremendous mistakes.  I guess it's one of those things that has a thousand different causes and those causes are slightly different for everyone.  I do know one thing about these people in my life though.  If they're reading this right now they're wondering if I'm talking about them.  All I can say is that if you're wondering if I'm talking about you I probably am talking about you.
     It's nothing to be ashamed of.  It's something to realize about yourself and deal with better than you are but it's nothing to be ashamed of.  At least, I hope it isn't because all of those things I mentioned that people do out of fear of being alone; I've done them all because I'm afraid of being alone.  That's really why I seek to understand it.  I recognize that most of the time nothing good comes from acting out of fear of loneliness and I'd don't want to do it.  Maybe if I could understand it, maybe if we all could understand it we could keep ourselves from making those mistakes.
     I'm doing better too.  I haven't made any of those mistakes lately but that could just possibly be because no one wants to make those mistakes with me.  I still want to understand it though so I don't struggle so much with it.  Sometimes I'm close to understanding too.  Nights like tonight, a day after my son went to visit his mom for a while and when a date flakes out on me, I feel that loneliness so deeply and fear it so much that I almost understand it.  I sit outside by myself and stare at the night sky and I almost understand why I'm scared to sit outside by myself and stare at the night sky.  I can feel it so deeply that I almost convince myself I have an understanding.  I don't though.  I think the fear of loneliness just might be like love; the more you feel it the less you can truly understand it.

1 comment:

  1. Fear not.
    I say embrace the days when you are alone, and utilize them to reflect on yourself. This will help you grow as a person, and once you find happiness within, you will no longer fear solitude.

    In the meantime, join a book club, or find other ways of socialization to stay busy.