Loneliness…or Being Alone

Posted by on Jul 30, 2020 in Healthy Separation and/or Divorce Counseling | Comments Off on Loneliness…or Being Alone

I often hear clients say that they don’t want to be in their relationship anymore but are reluctant to end it because they are worried about being alone. This is a very common phenomenon and is one of the top three reasons why partners often choose to stay in a relationship. Here are five tips if you are in this situation.

1. Being Alone Versus Being Lonely

I have found that clients often equate being alone with being lonely; however, these are two very different things. Understanding the difference is important because the approach for dealing with aloneness is different than how to handle loneliness. Let’s define what these mean:

Alone: The physical state of not being with another person. Also known as solitude.
Loneliness: A psychological state characterized by a perceived or actual lack in the quality or quantity of ones’ social relationships. It also helps to think about loneliness as a concern about a connection with others.

2. Understanding Why You Are Afraid

Next, figure out why you are afraid to be alone. Some struggle with not being in a relationship because being single has a negative connotation. For others, they are afraid of being alone because they don’t have any experience with it; maybe they have always been in a relationship or
were never encouraged as a youth to spend time on their own. Once you know why you are afraid, you can use this information to help adjust the way you think about being alone so that it is more reassuring and realistic. 

3. Practice Being Alone

Start small at first by spending an hour or two by yourself. Then, practice building a consistent amount of “alone time” into your schedule. Go to dinner by yourself, take a long walk, or go away for the weekend. The key is to do things that you enjoy by yourself where you are your own company. Push yourself to gradually increase the amount of time you are alone. You might be surprised to find how comfortable you can get being alone, and to even enjoy it!

4. Think About Your Options

Consider being single from different angles. Would it be temporary until you found a partner who was a good fit for you or would it be a lifestyle? What would life be like without a partner, both good and bad? For one, you’d be responsible for your own choices. You would not have to confer with, or maybe be directed by, your partner. Even if the idea is scary to think about, it’s still an important issue to consider.

5. Nurture Positive Social Relationships

Being single does not mean being socially isolated. Having positive connections with family, friends, and other social groups will help you feel connected and insulate you from becoming lonely. We talk all the time about the importance of relationships. Make no mistake about it, they are important.  Yet, it is also useful to spend time being alone as well. These are moments that can help you better realize who you are, and even what you want out of a relationship. 

Remember, if you need help, don’t hesitate to talk to a therapist for support. Working with a professional can help you understand why you struggle with being alone and what to do about it.

Online Therapy Available NowRead More