Dating to escape loneliness isn’t always the fix

Dating to escape loneliness isn’t always the fix
Dating to escape loneliness isn’t always the fix
Image: 123RF/miramiska

No matter who you are, relationships are critical to your existence as a human being.

We’re created that way — to have meaningful, fulfilling and loyal relationships with others in kinship, friendships and romantic relationships.

Romantic relationships and loneliness are strange bedfellows, and are quite revealing of the complexities of a relationship.

People sometimes believe a romantic relationship should insulate them from loneliness. But that’s not the case.

Loneliness is determined by the subjective quality of your relationship.

It’s not determined by how much time you don’t spend in each other’s company nor by whether you live together.

You may be cohabiting and spend every night together, but still be lonely because you’re demanding of your partner something they’re not meant to provide.

You may be lonely because you’re trying to use the relationship to fill voids that should have been filled while you were single.

You may be lonely because something isn’t working in the relationship or because you look to your partner to help fix a hurt within you.

Loneliness is not caused by being single.

There are people in relationships and marriages who are lonely, and single people who are happy and fulfilled.

At the root of it, loneliness is caused by a lack of relationship with yourself — lack of self-awareness, lack of spiritual grounding and no sense of value and acceptance for who you are.

Sometimes it comes with being different from convention, or from a discrimination of sort and eventual isolation.

Loneliness also often arises because we generally have not had our core emotional and social needs met as children or adults.

We then develop core beliefs or life traps for ourselves like, nobody likes me; no-one really cares about what I think; I’m not very smart as my teacher used to say; I’m not as good as my sister as my mother used to say.

These schemas distort our self-perception and make us devalue ourselves.

Getting into a romantic relationship with that internalised gross distortion of who you are won’t cure the loneliness.

When you date to escape loneliness: 

You will still be lonely

Your partner, no matter how wonderful they are, can’t cure your loneliness. They are not meant to.

Because you’re not in the relationship for the right reasons, you’ll lose the love and affection but still stay in the relationship, ironically, out of a fear of being lonely.

But by doing so, you potentially doom yourself to the very loneliness you’re trying to escape.

You will overburden your partner and strain the relationship

When you join yourself to someone else in hopes of curing your loneliness, you will look to them for happiness, fulfilment and completion.

These are heavy responsibilities to place on another flawed individual.

Romantic relationships are meant for mutual support, care and love.

It’s not a dumping place for issues you failed to deal with while you were single.

You will jump from one relationship to another

Terrified of being single and lonely, some people commit to whoever is available — whether it’s an ex who they always get back together with or simply the first person that comes along.

Don’t let your fear of loneliness make you settle. If you allow one relationship to end without immediately rushing into another, you may find your fear of loneliness was unfounded.

That’s not to say it won’t be uncomfortable, but you could actually enjoy the extra time you get to spend with yourself.

You will sabotage your chances of forming a meaningful relationship in the future

By wasting time dating someone you still feel lonely with, or by jumping from one partner to another, you create further scars in your heart that will affect a possible long-term relationship in the future.

We also call these scars, soul ties. They run deep. They are damaging. They are spiritual.

So how do you know you’re ready to date again?

  • You’re going to feel like you don’t need someone, like it would be nice to hang out with people, to have friends or to date, but you don’t need that person.
  • There’s a difference between wanting to engage with people and needing people.
  • Another thing is you trust yourself. That means you trust yourself to know the red flags. You trust yourself to know if this is OK for you or not. And you’re also very clear on your self-worth.

When you do put yourself out there again, you want to practice showing your standards, setting boundaries, listening to your intuition, and not being afraid to say no when it doesn’t feel right because you’re not willing to compromise your wellbeing or your self-worth again for anything.

Don’t date anyone — but yourself — when you’re lonely.

You can’t expect to be whole again if you’re always having different people patch back together the empty holes inside your heart. 

All that will do is leave you with new holes every time you “move on”.

A love that is born in loneliness is not a love that is destined for growth — the roots are weak and longevity is hopeless. 

When you don’t have a strong, sturdy base, you don’t have anything.

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