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Unbelievably lonely

  • 07-06-2020 9:02pm
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Hi I’m posting here in the hopes that I might get some advice or even words of encouragement. I’m 33 female and single. I have a good job and my own house. I’d be reasonably attractive physically and I consider myself outgoing, up for trying new things and I think I’m a good decent person.

    My problem is that even before lockdown I found myself incredibly lonely even though I’ve always been used to doing things on my own. I have one much older sibling and live alone. I have different friend groups, some local and others an hour or so away. I live rurally and there’s probably not as much to do here as there would be in a city but I’ve always lived in and enjoyed the countryside.

    My longest relationship was 6 months and about 3 months too long. There was nothing wrong with the guy but we just weren’t suited and I kept going hoping things would change but they didn’t. I’ve had a lot of the 4/5 date scenario which haven’t gone anywhere, sometimes because I didn’t feel it but mostly because they didn’t. It worries me that I’ve never had a long relationship that maybe there’s something missing or off with me and my personality. I’ve done tinder/bumble to varying degrees of success and I know if I had more of a social life I wouldn’t be on them as much. I’ve never been in love but have had very strong feelings for guys. The last guy I dated was long distance and when I met him it just felt right. We did long distance between UK and here. I went to see him quite early on and he came home regularly to see me and all was good. Then he had a family crisis and literally stopped contacting me when he came home. We had a break booked in Ireland so as you can imagine I was fairly upset. Since then there hasn’t been anyone that I’ve developed feelings for.

    In all my groups of friends, there’s probably a total of 13 or 14 girls that I’d call good friends. And for the last 6 months I have been the only one single out of this group. I feel so selfish for saying this but every time a new engagement, or pregnancy is announced, I am so happy for them but part of me feels really sad that this isn’t happening for me nor is it close to. Some people dream of the top of the ladder in their career or living all over the world but I’ve always just wanted a happy marriage, nice house and a family. I have actually cried with loneliness even before lockdown happened. In fact I don’t feel as lonely during lockdown which sounds mental but I don’t feel I’m missing out on nights out or social events as nobody is having them. I don’t feel so alone as nobody can go far as strange and all as that sounds. When things open up again I’ll still be staying in every second weekend.

    Even though my friends are great, I don’t think they understand how I feel and even though it breaks my heart, I’d never tell them as it seems so selfish. I used to be so sociable and always going to events and places and it has all stopped as my friends have moved on and I haven’t. I have tried over the past year and a half to improve my situation as I’m conscious that I’m the only one who can do that. I joined a walking group and while the people were lovely they were all way older than me so there was no chance of meeting anyone my own age, male or female. I go to classes in a local gym but again I go on my own as my friends have different priorities. I’ve gone to hotels in Ireland on my own. I’m hoping to move job nearer home soon as while I like my job now, it doesn’t give me much chance to meet people as it’s a very small company. Aside from this I don’t know what else I can do.

    Before lockdown started, as sad as it may seem I actually cried one Saturday night as I thought I wouldn’t have minded going for a meal or cinema or something and I actually had nobody I could ask to go. My friends are really good to keep in touch but we don’t actually meet often as they all have different priorities which is understandable. I feel that some of life has passed me by and I keep thinking that while I do enjoy spending time on my own, I just seem to feel more alone. By nature I’m an outgoing, chatty person and I never thought I’d feel so alone at any stage in my life. Another worry is that my parents are very elderly in relation to my age if that makes sense and I have started having sleepless nights about what I’ll do when they’re gone. I go through nights worrying about them and I see all my friends parents who are so much younger and more active than mine and it scares me. I suppose one positive effect of my current situation is that I’ll be able to devote a lot of time to caring for them and I am happy to be able to do that.

    Any advice or even to tell me to cop on would be great.


  • I don't think anyone will tell you to cop on.. it seems to be getting harder for everyone to meet people these days.. Like, you have a house etc, so that's a positive, but like, it can be isolating too.. Yeah, I know you get to a stage with doing things on your own too, but like, you never know what might happen.. things can change like.. I don't really know what to say to you.. Hope you feel a bit better anyway..

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,628 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78

    You re not alone with feeling lonely, my feelings of loneliness are getting worse the older I'm getting, relationships, or even attempts of them, have always turned out to be disastrous. I'm finding online dating to be absolutely disastrous, I can be very awkward when meeting people, as I'm autistic. I have been in love though, I currently am, but it has ended in failure yet again, it's incredibly painful, I've no idea where to turn to with all this, it's overwhelming really. I guess I've no advice, but can relate to your pain.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 5,337 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    Definitely not going to tell you to cop on. I'm sorry to hear that you are feeling so lonely. There's a couple of suggestions in this post from a similar thread, that might help.

    'In fact I don’t feel as lonely during lockdown which sounds mental but I don’t feel I’m missing out on nights out or social events as nobody is having them. I don’t feel so alone as nobody can go far as strange and all as that sounds. When things open up again I’ll still be staying in every second weekend.'

    Just to say to you, in relation to the above, no, absolutely not. You're not the first person I have heard saying that in some ways they didn't feel as alone since lockdown. So don't feel bad about that.

    Try not to dwell on the situation with your parents. Hopefully if they are in good health, you will have them for many years yet. None of us can foresee what might happen in the future. I fully understand your worry, but it really is only a bridge you can cross when you come to it.

    Keep doing what you are doing, and maybe also look around at other clubs you can join. You will meet likeminded people through clubs or classes and friendships can well grow from there. If there's a Park Run anywhere near you, when it resumes, I know some of them go for coffee afterwards, so that might be worth a try too.

    Try to make definite arrangements with friends to meet up for coffee or lunch. It gets a bit harder as priorities change, people have small kids or whatever but getting something definite in the diary with loads of notice so that they have a chance to arrange things on their side, can work well.

    All the best.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22 Moonbeams8

    I am a single 31 year old female. All of my friends are either married or in long term relationships. Many of them have children.

    To be honest, it is hard when you want those things too. One of my friends announced her pregnancy during the pandemic and while I was genuinely delighted for her, I did feel a little bit lost and I had to process through my emotions. I had to mute one friend group as all the baby talk was a bit much for me!

    I have been spending the pandemic exercising loads and journalling lots. This has been a huge help. I am going to prioritise going on dates come June 29th and believe that if I put enough effort in, perhaps a loving relationship and family will happen for me too. Best of luck!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,826 ✭✭✭Truthvader

    Want to say something helpful and hopeful but knowing very little about you not sure where to begin. Do you work? Can you move? Is it tied to where you live? Everything else about you sounds fine

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  • Registered Users Posts: 586 ✭✭✭Newbie20

    I was pushing on in age before I met my now wife. I was getting a bit panicky. Had no proper girlfriend really before that. So I can kind of relate to how you feel. I felt like it wasn’t going to happen for me and all of a sudden it just did. And the same happened for a few lads I knew.

    I would recommend changing job as you have suggested. I think that there are a lot of couples meet in the workplace so if you were to work somewhere with bigger numbers it would give you more of a chance and this is where I met my wife. I think in the workplace you just get to know people in a natural way.

    Things like tag rugby if there were teams in the area are a good social outlet because the teams are mixed sex and there tends to be drinks afterwards sometimes.

    Also I know you are probably dredding going to weddings but again couples do meet at weddings a bit. My uncle met his now wife at a wedding and they were a good bit older than you are now. Don’t give up hope yet, 33 is young in the greater scheme of things .

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    You are ONLY 33...still so young so try not to get down about where you are in life and definitely do not compare yourself to your friends. Everything happens for people at different times.

    It sounds like you are doing everything right but what I will say is try not to put so much importance on meeting someone. Get as happy as you can without a partner and then, when you least expect it, someone will come into your life <3

    If you haven't heard of it I recommend reading/watching The Secret.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,358 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12

    Best advice I can think of is to just try and live in the present and stop yourself from mentally predicting your own future and visualizing what it will look like, youre thinking negatively and catastrophizing. Also, it's normal to want a relationship but I dont think youre looking at the bigger picture.
    Relationships can be very stressful
    Also, allot of people in relationships are not happy, the other day I noticed yet another facebook friend has separated from her husband. besides her I currently know 6 people who have recently ended relationships ranging from 5 - 30 years for various reasons, some have just grown apart and others should have ended years ago others ended after catching their partner cheating. Separately I know one woman who is currently having an affair and her poor husband hasnt got a clue, if you saw them together and their 3 young children you'd think they were the best couple.
    You shouldnt compare yourself to people who seem to have it all because you dont know what goes on in peoples lives.
    Also, circumstances change constantly, who knows where you'll be or what you'll be doing in 6 months or a year?

    I think I can understand how you feel, when you said about feeling less lonely during the pandemic as there was no fear of missing out, I get that completely, im also single and in my 30's and do get that pang of loneliness and wanting a relationship from time to time but most of my friends are single too which helps, Im not comparing myself as we're all in the same boat.

    You have some very positive attributes in your favour, youre chatty, outgoing and it sounds like youre really good at making friends, do you think that maybe you could try to make friends with other single women your age? Have you tried meetup or Girlcrew?

  • Registered Users Posts: 939 ✭✭✭bitofabind

    Lots of good advice already. A few practical things I would suggest:

    - Do you have to live rurally? I know your parents are a huge consideration and you've got a house. But I'd guess this is a huge factor in the loneliness. You just won't meet as many people / single people or have the same chance at a varied social network when you're living somewhere already quiet, secluded and sparsely populated. I'm a few years older than you and the "WEDDING MARRIAGE BABIES" is less in my face because I live in a big city where people at all ages are single - I've as many single as I do paired up friends - and are less gung-ho on the traditional route.

    - Get rid of social media. Especially Instagram. You don't need it and it makes the FOMO 10x worse. Most of the time you're jealous / feeling inadequate based on a reality that doesn't exist and is merely a curated and manipulated feed designed to capture likes and nothing more. When you can cut down on these social platforms that cause you to cast your eyes outwards on other people's lives, you can begin to really focus on your own.

    - Imagine a life with no relationship or partner. Meditate on it, visualise it, write about it in your journal. It's a bit painful initially, but you have to start imagining it. Because it's not an End of Days scenario. It's not something that should be feared or catastrophised. It's just how life goes sometimes.
    It's very easy when you're long-term single, surrounded by couples and don't have relationship experience to fall back on, to think that your happiness hinges on meeting a partner. But relationships are not a cure-all to your happiness and sense of peace in life. They're hard work, beyond the honeymoon phase it's exceedingly difficult to live with someone and face life's challenges together, and some of the loneliest people I know are those that are in relationships they feel they can't leave, often for 'fear' of being alone.

    A partner won't make you happy long-term. That's an inside job. There are things you can control here and things you can't. Focus on that which you can control. Exercise, health, counselling, a good social circle (14 friends sounds like a LOT btw!), close family relationships, being comfortable and confident in your own skin - prioritise those things. They're doable. IME the right partner usually comes along when you're busy living your life, feeling safe and happy and not desperately seeking a guy to make you feel half-way OK about who you are.

    You might not meet someone, or you might. It's a bit of a lottery really. You need to find a way to be in a position of strength with that reality - as opposed to desperately avoiding it and catastrophising the "horrors" of living life on your own. That means setting out to enjoy life, and to enjoy being you, regardless.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,481 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    Mod Note

    Ciara31, although you probably meant it with the best of intentions, I've deleted your post as requests or invitations to PM are strictly against the rules in PI.

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3 Ciara31

    Oh I'm sorry Hannibal Smith!

    I too am in a similar situation op & feel for you XX

  • Registered Users Posts: 556 ✭✭✭LilacNails

    Im the same boat op.

    You weren't the only one crying Saturday night! I find weekends very tough. I can relate to the feeling that ur not missing out on things, during this lock down. I've to admit when I heard pubs will be closed for along time I felt a bit of relief.

    I don't have a lot of friends but the ones I have aren't available as they use to be. It's so crap.

    Joining a club that u have an interest I can say does help. U meet similar like minded people. There can be the problem aright that some join with friends and don't separate and get to know other people, it's annoying. I've joined lots of stuff on my own, it's sometimes crappy but it's given me the confidence to join whatever I want without relying on someone else to bring with me.

    I also find it hard to meet people my own age. Most who are in relationships I find aren't too bothered about meeting new people or try new things.

    It's such a crap time to go through. Your not the only one suffering this kind of loneliness. Hope my post brought some comfort. Xx

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Has 14 friends and comes onto the Internet to moan about being lonely. Jesus wept. Many people can count their number of friends and the number of people with whom they regularly interact on one hand, with fingers to spare.

  • Administrators Posts: 12,865 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Someone can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely.
    By nature I’m an outgoing, chatty person and I never thought I’d feel so alone at any stage in my life.

    It sounds like your social group is moving in different directions, and as you said people have different priorities. That's ok. Life does move on and people do often end up on different paths. These are strange times we are living in and I think feelings and emotions are heightened and magnified.

    What do you enjoy doing? What did you like doing when you were a child? Do you play music? Would you like to learn? Do you sing? Would you join a choir? Do you like any sport? Would you join a team?

    I know these might all sound like obvious suggestions, but sometimes taking that first step can be daunting. You said you are naturally outgoing, that will make it easier for you to walk into a group and get talking to someone. It's difficult, make no mistake - but if you do it it's likely to be something that you won't regret doing.

    It might be time to realise that this particular group of friends aren't going to be available for going out like they used to. So it's time to move slightly and find another group. It takes effort. But there are so many people in the same situation. Find something you like to do - and go do it. (When everything gets back up and running of course!)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,015 ✭✭✭Daisy78

    friendless wrote: »
    Has 14 friends and comes onto the Internet to moan about being lonely. Jesus wept. Many people can count their number of friends and the number of people with whom they regularly interact on one hand, with fingers to spare.

    If those friends are not available to her due to other commitments then yes absolutely she has a legitimate problem. Did you read her post at all? The biggest issue she appears to have is lack of a partner and doesn’t have any means to change that. Typical advice would be to get out more with friends but if they are busy with partners or children then that’s not an option. You could have forty friends but if none of those friendships are meaningful or accessible then what’s the point?

  • Registered Users Posts: 855 ✭✭✭miec

    Loneliness can be tough. I thought the advice that bitofaband wrote is really good. I went through a similar process where I really sat with my loneliness, felt the burning sensation of it, the tears, the whole lot and through it over the weeks and months, I came to liking my aloneness. So it did not matter if I met someone or not, ironically they came.

    It may be you have lots of friends, but if the communication is only by phone, email or social media, that can feel empty so you may wish to consider finding other single friends of your age now. I joined as there are hobbies, and other stuff to do there.