Can you talk a little more about how you stopped depending on a man to bring you happines an how you learned to give it to yourself?
I wanted to comment on this separately, as it may help others. And i would like to say right off that I have not yet accomplished this fully! I still get lonely. I still prefer to be with a man over being single. But i have made HUGE steps (for me) toward being better able to handle my alone time.
1. The number one most important thing I learned was from a friend of mine who, at my lowest point when I said I just can’t STAND being alone, told me i am never alone. I have posted her email to me below. It changed my life.
2. i decided once and for all that i’d rather be alone than with a man who could not love me. Being with him became far more painful than the thought of being alone.
3. i read. voraciously. Heavy stuff like “Man’s Search for Meaning” which REALLY stops you in your tracks and makes you feel foolish for ever complaining about loneliness. And i read light, superficial, but uplifting stuff like “Better Single than Sorry.” This book gives you a gazillion reason to love being alone.
4. I stopped thinking that being single was a BAD thing or that people were looking at me funny or that i was a freak. Who cares! I prefer to be single and alone than with the creep i was with.
5. Every Friday night that i would have normally been out on a date, I decided that i was going to use that time to read and learn and make myself a better person on the off chance that i would meet someone without any major hang-ups–If Mr. Healthy comes around, I wanted to be ready. Keep BUSY. Take advantage of the time alone. Read. Learn. Write. Exercise.
6. Lastly, Susan makes a great point in her “recipe for a great relationship” in that she suggests you have: Realistic expectations about how much of your happiness should come from the relationship—not too much and not too little.
Once you get the power of 1-5 behind your belt, always keep #6 in check.
Progress not perfection.
A letter from a friend:
I’ve given this a lot of thought because I really appreciate your openess and I do empathize with you.
Having said that, I’m not exactly sure I’m the best person to comment on this because I’m a perpetually single, committment-phobe. But here goes….
I had the unfortunate experience when I was quite young of losing my life mate in a car accident and I think that toughened me up a lot. It was devastating but also a reality check that contributed in clueing me in to a few little nuggets of insight which over the years have been reinforced by lots of other wonderful learning experiences:
I am here on the planet alone. I came here alone and I will be leaving alone. (The fact that I had a mom to hold me and nurse me was a bonus- not everybody gets that.) I am connected to every living being here, and the planet itself, by some fantastically mysterious thread that my little pea brain can’t quite grasp but it makes me feel like I belong in the here and now and it’s all good.
I cannot count on anyone else to make or keep me happy. I am responsible for my own feelings and how I react to my circumstances (which are largely a result of my own choices anyway). I can rely on God/Goddess/Yaweh/Allah… (whatever works for ya) for wisdom, guidance and comfort- the rest is up to me. The most important relationships I will ever have are with myself and that higher presence that I choose to acknowledge. I have to love myself as unconditionally as I want someone else to love me. I have to like my own company as much as I want someone else to like being with me. Every single person who has touched my life in any way has been a bonus and a gift. Whether it was a positive or negative experience- it was an opportunity to learn something about myself and the world, about who I am, what I do and don’t want in my life.
This may sound a bit narcissistic – like…it’s all about me. Well, guess what? Nobody else is going to make you or your happiness a priority with the same investment that you will. It’s great to be with someone or fall in love and make that deep connection with another person but you can’t lose yourself in it. Don’t expect it to be a magic pill that’s going to ensure your everlasting bliss. It’s not. YOU are the magic pill.
And it’s the “alone” time that gives you the chance to take a breath and reflect and evaluate what’s going on in your life and why it might be going on. I know that sometimes the “alone” time seems to drag on a little farther than we want. I’ve had lots of long stretches where I think, am I NEVER going to meet anyone that I connect with??? Like EVER!!!!! Geeez I love myself to bits – why can’t I find someone who sees how wonderful I am!! LOL
But seriously, we are conditioned and socialized to think that we’re “not complete” as human beings unless we have that “special someone”. Like there’s something wrong with you if you’re not coupled up. Combine that with our innate human urge to just….CONNECT (physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually), and we’ve got a lot of people walking around depressed and lonely.
It’s simply not true. Being single is not a disease. It’s not better or worse than being in a relationsip or married- it’s just different. And it’s really OK. It’s actually a lot of fun and a big relief sometimes!!! I’m sure it’s a hard adjustment if you’ve always been part of a couple. But it’s not a bad thing unless you make it a bad thing. It’s all about your perception.
I’m very glad to hear that you’re solid with your quit [smoking] because that’s a big step towards loving yourself!! Taking care of your health and taking control. You can do the same with your emotional life.
Sorry for babbling. I hope this helps.