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Can Happy People Be Lonely Too?

You’re all so dang nice. I mean that sincerely. After yesterdays post, Watching an Empty Pillow, an outpouring of love and advice came in. So many of you discussed so many interesting dynamics of loneliness.

There were different flavors of responses that kept recurring, and all of them gave me ample opportunity to think about some things. I may talk about others later on, but today I want to focus on this one:

“You will never be happy with someone until you are happy being alone.”

I heard that one several times.

I find that statement to be a little too assumptive and all-encompassing. I mean, can’t happy people be lonely and sad sometimes? Can’t really happy people be lonely and sad sometimes?

I am very happy in life right now. I feel a great sense of integrity in the way I live my life and the way I parent my child. I believe this is what brings me that happiness. I am very much okay being single (most of the time). I live a blessed life full of family, friendships, and gratifying extracurricular activities. I am grateful for all that I have, and I don’t generally desire anything more.

But all that aside, loneliness can creep in once in a while. Bad days can creep in once in a while. It doesn’t mean I’m unhappy at all.

Sometimes life beats the crap out of you. Sometimes stress overtakes you. Sometimes people are so mean to you.

And, sometimes life rewards you. Sometimes unexpected blessings fall into your lap. Sometimes people are so nice to you.

When I wrote the empty pillow post, I had all of that (on both sides of the equation) going on, extrapolated to thousands of stimuli hitting me all at once. It was overwhelming. It was terrifying. It was a place I wasn’t mentally prepared to be. And it would have been really nice to have somebody there. To have the love of my life there.

I’ve had it before, you know. And I haven’t forgotten what it was like to cry about the hard things to the person I love. I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be excited about the good things with the person I love.

And perhaps it’s because I have known it in the past that it hurts when I could really benefit from it, but don’t have it now. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t given up on having it again that it sometimes hurts when I need it and it’s not there yet.

No, I don’t think loneliness is a determiner of personal happiness at all.

It’s just loneliness.

I’m sure there are some who are lonely because they don’t like themselves or are unhappy and they think having somebody, anybody, there will fix it all. That’s another blog post for another day.

If I felt that way, I would have no trouble filling that empty pillow.

But I am waiting for something more. I am waiting for the true love of my life. My confidant. The person who really knows me because I let her really know me and because she wants to really know me.

I’m not going to be okay with just anybody in my bed to make the occasional loneliness go away.

And, I’m guessing that anybody who really connected with yesterday’s post is in the same boat. I think there are a lot of really happy, loved, and wanted people who are just lonely sometimes because, like me, they are waiting for the right person to fill that empty pillow. And, like me, sometimes life gets overwhelming and it just hurts not having somebody there when having someone there would make all the difference.

But, also like me, they probably wake up the next morning and feel better. Happy and okay. Ready to take on the world once more.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS. What do you think about this dynamic of loneliness? Do you agree or disagree? Do you think truly happy people can be lonely?

162 comments
IssaBellaFreixas
IssaBellaFreixas

I rarely feel lonely, I guess being the only Deaf kid in my family and missing out on conversations I'm kind of used to it. Perhaps I shouldn't be or it's weird, though it isn't uncommon amongst those who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing to actually be alone and/or used to it. I have learned that in my quest of loving me and loving my life I do have some bad days and do feel lonely at times. When I feel that way, I do reach out to friends, sometimes they can be around, sometimes they cannot, I still survive. I think it's easy to assume that happy people just never feel anything other than happy. We have feelings just like others, perhaps we just bounce back more easily.

Daniel
Daniel

I think it is absolutely possible to be lonely but happy. Everyone has success in his/her life, and who would not want someone to share those successes with (or maybe the failures)? That is when loneliness sometimes creeps in on me. I live my life and I accomplish my personal goals, but there are times when I just want to celebrate with someone. And then there are times when I just want to curl up near someone and feel that personal connection with someone else. But that does not mean that come morning I'll be sad and depressed and desperate for another. No, it means that the natural human instinct to be with someone finally caught up to me while I was living my life.

Yvonne Runstedler
Yvonne Runstedler

I have only been reading your blog for a short while, but if you don't mind a bit of truly very outside perspective, you strike me as a leader. Beat of your own drum and all that stuff. In my experience, it is those who live from a well deep inside that suffer the most from isolation. I would suggest this is different from loneliness. Very similar in how it feels; different in origin. And yes, in isolation, I would argue, there is still happiness...or a deeper, more pervasive contentment at knowing the path chosen is the right one.

mamatree
mamatree

As usual, your blog makes me feel better about my life and more accepting of my feelings and choices.  It's hard to believe that you are single because you are the perfect man.

tkbarrett
tkbarrett

Absolutely, happy people can be lonely. I have been there. Just reading your posts brings me right back to those "empty pillow" kind of nights. No one could understand why I was still single but I was waiting for the right one too, even if it was going to take longer than I wanted. "I do" was not going to be a time for settling, especially when I had 2 little ones the think about. (By the way, love what you said about it not being Noah's burden, it's a different kind of love, they're not interchangeable.) This is what I did, and being that you write, you've got this one in the bag. I wrote a letter to "my husband". I told him all of the things I loved about him and our relationship, and most importantly, what I loved about myself when I was with him. I dated the letter and had faith. ... He came knocking on my door 6 days later! ... I am not suggesting it will happen in under a week! haha! But I do believe that putting it "out there to the Universe" as they say, as you did in your post, sets the stage. Keep up the faith, I know you have a ton of it, it is evident in your posts.  ... ps Thank you for sharing about Carissa, what wonderful gifts (lessons) she has for us all!

troismommy
troismommy

I think even someone who is mostly happy and fulfilled and even partnered up and in a house full of love can feel LONELY. I'm married. I have a great husband. I have three amazing, loving, sweet kids. I have great friends. But sometimes I feel lonely. I suppose it has something to do with what else is going on in my life or what my anxiety level is or how I'm handling stress or whatever else I choose to believe, but even the happiest people - people surrounded by friends and family and even a wonderful partner- can be lonely. 

 

Basinah
Basinah

I agree with everything you say here; and more so, I really, really needed to be reminded of it tonight.  I will wake up tomorrow morning and feel better; ready to take on the world once more.

 

Erin H
Erin H

Absolutely you can be happy and have lonely times. You're not alone in your experience (har har). My life right now is better than it's ever been. It's full of people and activities that I love; friends, family, art, muay thai, giggling, etc. I'm happier than I've ever been.

 

But sometimes I feel lonely. Usually at night. I have so much love to give someone, but I don't want end up in some casual, in-the-meantime relationship. I tell people that's why I have three cats, that they've kept me sane while I wait for the right person, allowing me (and sometimes forcing) to cuddle with them. They're so spoiled.

 

Anyway, I have faith that we both will find the right person at the right time. It will be all the more magical when we do find it. We'll appreciate it so much more.

 

Hugs to you.

 

Erin

Annika Unrelenting
Annika Unrelenting

Yes...I think they can. I've been single a long time, and I'm totally comfortable with it. I'm happy being single and I really enjoy my own company. I'm not avoiding partners, but I'm not desperately looking either. I'm just rolling along and doing what I do. I'm even quite an introvert for the most part...one who not only enjoys spending time alone, but someone who needs it periodically. And do I ever get lonely? Of course! It's human nature to periodically want human contact or even a presence close by. lonely is only a feeling...normally a passing one. It's just that people are afraid of it so they see it as a fault, as opposed to a natural, periodic feeling. My two cents :)

Scott Lane
Scott Lane

...and the lonliness is greatly magnified by the pian...

B2
B2

I think that loneliness and happiness are two separate issues and combining the two is why so many people aren't finding what they're really looking for.  I think it's true that to find a good lasting partner you have to be strong in your own rite first.  I believe that's what the saying "You have to be happy alone before you can be happy with someone" is really saying.  Too many confuse "lonely" with "empty".  Having a partner will not in and of itself bring happiness or completeness.  They will add a richness and a dimension to life that can't be found other places.  But happiness is something that is dependent on ones self and attitude.  

jdm2006
jdm2006

Longing--more than loneliness or happiness--is what I'm sensing from your posts (this one and the empty pillow one.) 

AJadesMom
AJadesMom

I agree wholeheartedly.  In fact, I read every comment - looking for a response that wasn't there. But then, I read your follow-up post and found the answer I needed.  I recall feeling a sense of confusion when I read the "Learn to love yourself/ Only you are responsible for your happiness" comments.  I get it.  I'm not looking to another for fulfillment.  Most often, I'm just interested in sharing life's celebrations with someone.  Someone to grow old with and recall fond memories:  "Remember when we.... Yes, that was a great day!"  Because I want to share life with another special person, does not mean that I'm unhappy.  Loneliness and discontentment don't necessarily go hand-in-hand.  Thank you for taking it one step further..

Shanaka Haney Horner
Shanaka Haney Horner

Everything is meant to be shared....memories, good things, and even pain. Pain is easier to bear when the burden can be shared. The Giver is one of my favorite books!

johnnycakes
johnnycakes

When I was young, due to family issues, I did not have many friends.  My sister, who was 16 years older than me, got married when I was 2 and left - so I grew up as an only child.  One of the things that my mom told me, when I was upset because I didn't have anyone to play with, was this:  "If you learn to be your own Best Friend, then you will never be lonely."  I remembered that all my life and I truly have learned to be my own best Friend.  I value my time with myself - I can let my walls down and not have to worry about being anything or conversations, I can just be.  But it doesn't mean that I am never lonely.  We, should, all know that there is a big difference between being alone and being lonely.  But we shouldn't fear it.  Lonely is just another emotion, like happy or being blue.   It is a signal that our mind is sending that it is time for some 'not alone' time.  What you do with it is what matters.  Ignore it or try and fill it with anonomous sex and you do more damage than good.    Use it as a way to change yourself for the better.  See it as incentive to reach out and make one connection.  We cannot choose what we feel, but we can choose how we let it affect us.  Own it and use it to grow, don't let it take you over or beat you down.  You are more than your emotions.

 

The other thing I have recently learned, and I am still trying to accept, is that it is ok not to be happy all the time.  Life isn't just about being happy.  Ups and downs are normal.  It is ok to feel blue once in a while.  I think that sometimes we struggle so hard to be happy, and feel like we fail if we aren't happy, that we let it overwhelm us and defeat us.  It is normal to be sad once in a while.  It is normal to be angry, giddy, blue, or blah.  What you do with it is what matters.  Feel it, acknowledge it, and keep moving forward.  Learn the lessons you need and leave the rest behind.

 

Our value as a person is not, and should not be, based on having someone or not having someone in our lives.  Feeling lonely sucks, but don't let it define you. 

Nikki
Nikki

Hi Dan,

I stumbled across your blog recently and its really had an impact on me and my thoughts. I totally get what you are saying about not just filling the pillow with anyone. Its hard. sometimes. I try to take those times as a signal that I need to nurture myself. I do things I like, watch a good movie, read a favorite book, get yourself some good snacks you normally wouldn't (berries are my fave). I am teaching my kids to do this too. I don't think we nurture ourselves enough and that is part of what we are looking for. set up a card game with friends, but do something for yourself (baths are great especially after a bout on the treadmill). I have a theory that everyone has a love tank, and they need enough attention to fill them they they will go off on their own to play or whatever. Well, ours need to be filled sometimes too. We are only human and that means we are social animals, if we don't fill that need, then we feel it keenly. take care, you are a great inspiration.

lel2259
lel2259

I agree 100% you are such a good writer! I am happy with life...in general. I am a very positive person! However, I do feel sad sometimes, I do feel lonely sometimes. I was in a relationship for a long time (more for convenience than love) i realized I was VERY lonely in fact I think I was probably more lonely being in a bad relationship than if I was alone. That helped me realize I was better off alone until I find the right person for the right reason (a best friend...as you mentioned in Watching an Empty Pillow). So I am a good example of why people shouldnt rush into a relationship just to be in one. I really enjoy reading your work and the comments and I think we are all learning from them! Thank you :)

KathrynLeBaron
KathrynLeBaron

I've been thinking about this so much lately.  And I kind of feel like happiness and loneliness aren't as different as they seem.  I'm a birth mother (http://letterstomybabyboy.blogspot.com), for those of you who don't know what that means, it means I placed my child for adoption.  I miss him ever day.  There isn't a moment that goes by that I don't miss him.  What is the point of this comment?  That's a good question.  I've been thinking about this idea you bring up of can a happy person be lonely?  There is no doubt in my mind that a happy person can be lonely.  

 

Sometimes I think that maybe if I had decided to raise my son that I wouldn't feel lonely.  Of course that's silly.  And that's why I'm of this impression that love/happiness and loneliness aren't that different at all.  You recognize the loneliness because you've known what it is to love someone, and you believe you'll find that again (and I know you will because you're a great catch).  Similarly, I love my son with all that I am, which is why I chose to give him more than I could give him on my own... that doesn't mean that I don't miss him every second of every day and that I wish I could have given him what he deserves in life.  I hope this is making sense.  It's hard to explain.  Love is love.  Happiness is happiness and loneliness is missing what you loved and when you were happy in love, maybe not as it really was, but for what it stood for.  I know that one day I will find a man who loves me and who is not dangerous man and living a double life and I know that with that man I will create more children.  I know this.  That doesn't mean that I don't wish for it now.  And that's part of it I think.  I am happy in my life.  My son is happy in his life.  I still miss him, but I know that he's better off.  I'm happy and I feel his absence every second, but I'm still happy and so is he.  That's why I believe that happiness and loneliness are more closely tied than we give them credit for.

 

Wow, I hope that made sense.  It's hard to explain what is inwardly felt.  

Amanda Reed
Amanda Reed

I am so happy, very successful, have a wonderful family, an amazing son and dog...but yet, still lonely sometimes! Too picky the second time around? Who knows! Guess I'm just waiting for someone to fall out of the sky ;)

Gwen Gilles
Gwen Gilles

Rather wait and try to find your soul mate than settle for second best.

Rae Harvey
Rae Harvey

Dan, I actually think your post has proven the point some of those posters were trying to make.  You ARE able to be happy being alone.  You ARE able to be happy despite feeling lonely sometimes.  If anything, this puts you in the "ideal" position some of those posters were referring to: ready to be happy WITH someone because you CAN ALREADY be happy WITHOUT someone.

 

You already understand that finding your life mate isn't going to suddenly fix your life - you've positioned yourself so that your life doesn't NEED "fixing" by someone else.  You already understand that one needs to have a full life, with or without a mate - that we make our life fulfilling, no one else can do that for us.  

 

The only advice I have to offer you is this:  be wary of those who approach you offering companionship for a while.  You may not consider yourself such, but you are something of a celebrity currently.  That can draw out all sorts of "interesting" people, and some of them have an acute radar that is going to home in on what they will perceive as a cry for companionship, stepping up and offering themselves as your "ideal" mate.  For the majority of them (if not all) the face they present will be a facade, carefully constructed based on researching you through your own blog.  Be wary. 

 

For my husband and me, our perfect confidant & partner (each other) didn't show up until we'd each stopped looking... and then suddenly, there we were.  That was 13 years ago, and things have only continued to get better and better between us.  Hold out for that.  Hold out for the relationship where the relationship itself is a shelter and a source of strength for BOTH of you when you're facing the inevitable crap that life will try and dump all over you.  Hold out for the relationship where "that which strengthens 'us'" is always more important than "that which strengthens 'me'."  These are just a couple of the ways you'll know when you're looking at the person whose head should be resting on the pillow beside you. 

CherishL
CherishL

You don't have to be unhappy to be lonely. Within six years I was married twice, and those six years were quite possibly the loneliest times of my life. Yes, in that time I had a child, but as you said in the previous post, your child can't fill that kind of emptiness Having just anyone there doesn't make the loneliness go away. We are all looking for the "one". Maybe the best way to find that person is not to look, not to obsess over it. Just let it happen.

Chea
Chea

Im so over being with the wrong people. Dating just to date, just to have someone there for the time being. Im holding out for that right one as well. Im so over the games. Good luck to you.

Reticula
Reticula

Absolutely happy people can be lonely. I'm one of them too. I have a busy life filled with many people who love me (and a few who don't--the Tabasco sauce of life). I have work that is sometimes rewarding, writing, music, bike paths to explore, parties, plays to perform in.....I am blessed beyond what I could ask for. And yet sometimes I'm lonely because I don't have that just right person to hold my hand, cuddle on the couch, cry at movies, kiss my neck, laugh at my bed hair......And I don't mean just anybody. Like you, it has to be the right person. I could wake up next to someone if I wanted to accept the offers on the table right now.. I'd still be lonely and yearn for the right person. It's not about being happy and it's not about wanting someone. It's about wanting the right someone to fill an intensely perfect spot in my life.

 

I hope you find that. I think she would be a lucky woman.

ChristinaMays
ChristinaMays

Sometimes the glass is just half empty.  That is life.  Usually with a good night's sleep under your ear you can shake it off and resume being happy but sometimes you have to have the low points to truly appreciate the high points.  The thing that is different is you can be with the love of your life and still have moments of loneliness, doubt, pain, darkness and fear.  That is life.  It's a roller coaster ride.  

 

I am with the love of my life.  We are wonderful together most of the time but since we have been together I have had some of the lowest points in my life too.  Does that mean we are not happy?  Does that mean that we don't love each other to distraction?  No.  Very simply no, it does not.  We are human, we make mistakes and the part about true love is working them out, fixing the bumpy parts of the road and moving on to the next smooth patch.    I love my husband with everything I have, I love to see his head on the pillow next to me and in my darkest moments of grief and despair he has been there to see me through.  On the other side of that I sometimes feel lonely and sometimes that damn glass just refuses to be anything but half empty.  When that happens, I tuck myself into bed, snuggle with my dogs and look for the sunshine tomorrow.

 

 

CarpeDiemTim
CarpeDiemTim

Man-oh-man, this post is almost my exact inner dialog for the several years. That is, I remind myself when I'm feeling lonely that it's because I'm waiting for the right person and that they'll be worth it, but...that doesn't exactly help either, especially when I know that I am a better person when I'm with someone I love (in that way). So is it wrong to feel incomplete without them? I do enjoy single life - not having to compromise for anyone, not having anyone's schedule to work around, etc. - and in fact, I've been single for most of my life in terms of raw numbers, but every time I feel lonely, I also feel just a little bit pathetic for feeling that way, even though I know companionship is one of the most fundamental human desires to exist. I have no real conclusion here, and it sounds like you don't either, Dan, but I feel like we're in the same boat.

dramama
dramama

Dynamically lonely, I think is quite possible in a myriad of situations.  Single, married, or otherwise.  I am married and have two wonderful biological children, and three amazing  foster kids, and a house FULL of animals, and there are times that I feel lonely.  I never feel like I married the wrong person, or that I wish my life was different, but I get the restless loneliness when the kids are at school and I'm not at work where I wish there were something other than dog and cat to fill my life.  My sister has quite happily remained single with the exception of her dog.  She has not had a partner in a very long time.  Yet she has fulfilling work and she travels all over the world for pleasure.  She has an active social life with good friends.  But she, too, gets lonely.  Not unhappy, just lonely.  I have friends in faltering marriages who are lonely in a different way.  So I think it is quite possible to be happy yet lonely at the same time.

galadriel1326
galadriel1326

I am a happy person.  I am also lonely on occasion, but, like you, not just for some warm body to fill the space.  Until I find that person that fits the spot in my life, and in whose spot I fit, I'm good.  I think that you have to find who you are before you can truly find who that person is who complements you.  Note that I didn't say completes.  I'm not looking for my "other half" or someone to complete me.

RashelleDeJean
RashelleDeJean

As a fellow "singleton" that is also quite happy with the person that I am now, I totally get it! I understand how it feels to be in the best place you've ever been, mentally and emotionally, and to absolutely love your life and be content being alone most of the time; yet there are moments where loneliness just takes over! Everyone always says: "You'll never be able to be truly happy with anyone else until you are happy with yourself." And I agree, wholeheartedly! But that doesn't mean that "The moment that you are happy with yourself, you'll find the love of your life..."! So I completely understand the brief, yet dark and bleak moments that often occur between self-acceptance and finding true love! Hopefully, we will find the ultimate balance soon! :)

carelessriver
carelessriver

Once in a while, absolutely, loneliness is perfectly natural. It's human. It's when loneliness dominates a life, to the point of taking over the happiness for a long, painful time, that I begin to wonder if that person is truly happy as s/he is. When the loneliness does take over, it's not a bad idea to look around for someone to get to know--but be aware that loneliness is a driving force, and don't lower your standards just to find Someone. Been there, done that, lived to regret it. Only when I got to the point of understanding about once-in-a-while loneliness did I find Darling.

ChicagoGirl
ChicagoGirl

I feel like I could have written your last two posts.  The loneliness one can feel is real and challenging, but is often misunderstood by society.  You can be active, have a great network of friends, be devoted to your family, explore your interests, and have a full and happy life.  But there are days when being alone is just too hard and overwhelming.  There is no one to intimately share the sad times with, or celebrate the happy moments, or just be there for the plain old everyday moments.  Friends and family are great, but it's not the same.  I get sick of people saying you need to be happy being alone, or go do things you enjoy and you'll meet someone.  I've been so busy doing the things I love and having a full life, that people now think I am too independent and self-reliant that I actually don't need anyone.  People think being single gives you freedom and an easier life.  I know the grass is always greener, but dividing emotions by sharing is always easier than having to go it alone.  I think the single life is misunderstood since it is not as much the "norm."  And I absolutely don't think there is anything wrong for waiting for the right person instead of just finding someone to fill the void.  Though some conversely argue there is this sense of seeking and searching for something that does not exist.  In a time when people feel like options are limitless, can the ultimate person in your mind actually exist?  I argue that perfection does not exist, but they have to be someone with depth, someone with whom you can laugh and cry, someone who makes you happy, and someone who understands and accepts you for who you truly are and vice versa. 

Woobie21
Woobie21

I tend to agree that even the folks happiest with themselves and their lives can and indeed do get lonely from time to time.  It's something that really can't be avoided, IMO.  I know people who *have* to be doing something with someone else (hobbies, watching movies, anything) in order to not feel lonely.  I've always been an extrovert... but I love my "alone time".... curling up with a good book for hours, or just vegging out watching a movie, or whatever.  I'm single (divorced nearly 20 years ago).  My daughter is grown and married.  I have a beautiful, sweet grand-daughter.  I have two cats, who as annoying as they can sometimes be (especially when they wake me up before the butt-crack of dawn), they bring me a great amount of joy and amusement as well.  I've been in a few long-term relationships and I've been through very long periods of being by myself.  In some aspects, I'm a happier person when I'm not in a relationship, because it seems that I lose myself/sense of self in those relationships, and that troubles me greatly (primarily because I seem to collect losers, whereas most people collect stamps or coins). :D  There were times between my last relationship (which ended last year after 5 years) and the previous one (which was nearly 12 years prior to the start of this last one) that I was so lonely, I physically hurt/ached... just for someone to wrap his arms around me, hold me close, talk about everything and nothing.  It always passed, but it happened.  I know it will happen again.  On the flip side, there were times during my various relationships that I felt invisible and just as lonely, even with the person right there in the room with me.  Any attempt to connect with the other person was shot down in flames.  I do believe it's much worse to feel so lonely when you're in an alleged loving relationship than when you're single.  Loneliness happens.  It's a part of the cycle of life (IMO), whether you're single or in a relationship.  It certainly stinks when it occurs, but generally speaking, we get over it and move on. 

melissatshaw
melissatshaw

I believe you can be totally happy with yourself and life and still be lonely.  I'm very comfortable with myself and wouldn't change a thing about me.  My husband and parents often joke that I have a superiority complex I like myself so much.  That said, I need to be around people.  I've been a social person since I was born and that has never changed.  My first grade math teacher lamented to my mother that I never stopped talking to the child next to me.  My mother told her to move me to a new seat, but my teacher told her that she had... repeatedly!  There was no one that I wouldn't talk to.  :)  I was fortunate to find the love of my life early and it's a blessing I try not to take for granted that I do have that special someone to share life's highs and lows with.  I think some people just need people more than others.   

 

BTW, I think you are amazing and hope you find your special someone soon.  

PamChoti
PamChoti

Everyone needs somebody or there would not have been a song about it. I too understand that "lonliness." I few years ago, I was happy, single, many family and friends and hobbies, even a job I loved, but still there were times when I longed for somebody. I did meet that "somebody" and my life is even more happy than it was. However, there are still days when I feel like the only person on the planet. I think that's just part of being human. Even though we move through life with another person, we are still on our own paths. I tell myself it's ok to feel alone at times, we are all individual persons--one size does not fit all. 

kekah1689
kekah1689

I don't know if it is so much "happy being alone" as it is "happy with yourself", but I could be wrong. I have lived alone, and been alone for months at a time and I was perfectly fine with it. No drama, no whining, no problems but my own to deal with, and that was a nice time. I firmly believe I could be one of the few to live as a hermit and be perfectly fine. My best friend on the other hand, told me recently that she could not survive alone, and for some reason that irritated me to death. She really honestly believes that someone else is what makes her life worth while. I do not believe that at all. Though it is extremely nice to have someone to come to with your thoughts both upsetting and happy, at the same time, I find it extremely relaxing to have time to myself with no one else involved. I think it is a personal thing. Some people are very outgoing and need others in order to survive. Don't get me wrong, I think everyone needs someone sometimes in order to survive, but overall, I think I could survive well with only seeing people once a month or once every couple of months without getting sad or depressed. My best friend on the other hand, needs someone nearly daily in order for her to feel as if she is surviving. So I honestly think it has more to do with the type of person you are than that "You can't be happy with someone unless you are happy alone". I think it has to do completely with the type of personality you have.

GalFromAway
GalFromAway

So the more I read the comments here, the more I wonder...

 

Is this a true form of loneliness, the 'empty pillow' thing, or is it just a longing for an intimate connection with someone? Is there a different word to use, because in this situation, the below definition doesn't seem to fit...

 

lone·ly  /ˈlōnlē/

Adjective:

Sad because one has no friends or company.

Without companions; solitary: "passing long lonely hours looking onto the street".

jazmyn
jazmyn

Happy people can be lonely, and unhappy people can be free of loneliness. For me, loneliness has to do with lack of connection to something greater than self. Good job, extracuricular activities, hobbies, friends, money in the bank, etc. etc. can all be part of a happy life. but that deep loneliness that lurks beneath is about sense of connection. That can come from a life partner - someone who you share secrets, fears, dreams and triumphs with. Someone who knows you on an level that no one else does. It can also come from having a strong spiritual life. the spiritual never leaves you ... but people change, people die, people betray. Relying on a person to bring that sense of connection leaves you open to losing that deep sense of connection that is the only long term antedote to loneliness. By having a strong spritiual connection, I know I will face pain, I will face sadness, I will face grief, but I won't face loneliness again.

jesslc
jesslc

I think there's some truth in the “You will never be happy with someone until you are happy being alone.” But it's not the whole truth, and it's definitely not the same thing as saying happy people never get lonely. Everyone gets lonely at times. It is possible to be happy with being alone (eg. "I'm living up to your values and not settling. I'm happy with my choice to wait til you find the right person"), and still get lonely at times.

 

It's when you rely on another person to provide that happiness for you - when you need a significant other in your life to be happy - that the statement you questioned becomes true. Because to be truly happy in life you must be responsible for your own happiness.

kaspur3
kaspur3

Happy people can DEFINITELY be lonely.  You can also be 100% happy and 100% love yourself, but there is something that transcends that. 

 

Having the right someone to share experiences with, to have deep meaningful conversations with and to truly want to learn more everyday about them, and about you as a person.  Someone to bring new experiences to your life and to help you expand your horizons.  Think of yourself as a happy circle.  Having someone special in your life just makes the circle larger.  (The question is that if we are circles, why do we usually look for the squares to help us grow?)

 

As for the statement "You will never be happy with someone until you are happy being alone", that is one of those sayings that people say to keep the discussion superficial or on the surface.  (IMHO) 

Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis

I feel the exact same way. I truly am happy with my life and the way things are going. However, there are those days it would be nice to have a real partner to share my trails and joyous events with. Instead I have my son and my journal. After I get a little hug from my son and write it all down I wake up the next morning ready for what the day holds.

Lorie Key
Lorie Key

ANYone can be lonely. That is the most common thing I've heard even from extraverts... "I can be in a room full of people and still feel alone." But, is feeling "alone" the same thing as being "lonely"? You could be WITH someone and still feel lonely sometimes coming from someone who has been in a committed relationship for 22 years. So,... yeah.

Sarah Lyon
Sarah Lyon

There's a clarification here: it's when you feel that you need a partner in your life to be happy that you will fall short. Most people don't distinguish between those two concepts.

corporate.hippie.chick
corporate.hippie.chick

 @GalFromAway Ah - there is the real debate.  Clearly lonely can be low self esteem.  It can ALSO be fear of intimacy/intimacy issues.

 

I have wonderful friendships - much closer than I had when I was married.  It was something I worked on and I'm really glad I invested the time and energy to do so.

jesslc
jesslc

I wrote the above after only reading today's post. I have since gone back and actually read the original "empty pillow" post.

 

Reading it I think I can understand why it prompted many comments of some variation on “You will never be happy with someone until you are happy being alone.”

 

My comment is regarding these parts of your "empty pillow" post:

"Yet I am loved by no one."

"But nobody knows me. Nobody."

"The only person who can tell me the one thing I need to hear."

"The only person who can actually tell me, “I know you, Dan.”"

 

These comments sounded like "I need someone in my life to be happy." Of course that's not necessarily the case, and you have clarified that now.

 

But it also makes me think of this often-given bit of advice: "Don’t expect your spouse to meet all your needs"

If you truly feel that only one person can provide what you need, perhaps that is something that might be worth looking at a bit more closely.

 

One of the things that has really helped me when I am single (as now) is discovering that my family and friends can provide me with everything that I miss about being in a relationship (except for sex). No one person provides everything - I turn to person A to talk to when I want someone who really understands, I turn to persons B and/or C for really good hugs, I turn to person D for fun, silly times, I turn to ___ for ____, and so on  - and by doing so, I can be happy with being alone because I don't lack for anything. Sometimes I do feel lonely, but usually it's because I haven't made the effort to seek out the person I need recently... When I take care of myself by seeking out that friend who can help me feel ___(whatever is currently lacking)___, the loneliness goes away.

 

I guess it does require some extra effort on my part in that I have to seek out different people for different needs, rather than just seek out one person for everything. On the plus side though, I hope that having done this for a while now it will mean that when I do find the right person for me, I won't create strain on the relationship by relying on them for everything. (Of course, I'm sure that this will turn out to be one fo those things that are easier said than done... :-)

 

(And as for sex, I happily accept that as something I won't get when not in a relationship, because I know that the alternative - sex outside of a relationship - doesn't work for me)

 

Hopefully this is helpful, and not me completely misreading your original post. :-)

GalFromAway
GalFromAway

 @corporate.hippie.chick It's funny... my friendships are very different now that I'm married. I think I'm in a better, more open place now than I was before I met my husband. He's balanced me out. :) And I enjoy my friends that much more!

GalFromAway
GalFromAway

 @jesslc - well said. :) Your thoughts go along with what I was trying to explain in my comments too.