“I don’t want to be alone”

August 11, 2016

Being alone is a topic that’s come up among my friends and peers repeatedly recently and I think it’s our age.

As we pass middle age, we start thinking of our future as older and even elderly persons. If we aren’t sharing our life now with someone, it seems as though everyone else in our peer group is. We wonder why we aren’t. And, I believe, many of us are a little afraid to face the last years of our life alone. It’s not gender-specific either: I’ve heard it from both men and women these days. It’s made me think about some of the reasons people ARE alone in their middle and later years.

So if this describes you or someone you know, if a partner has eluded them in their later years, I’ve got a few questions that might shed light on the situation, and provide an opportunity to change it.

What do you offer a partner?

We’re not used to thinking this way, but maybe we should. Oh, I don’t mean money and things, I mean the intangibles.  Are you warm, loving and fun?  Are you active and involved in the world outside your nuclear family? Do you laugh a lot? Are you physically demonstrative?

We all have something to offer another and you do, too. It’s smart to cultivate those things.

Most people seek a partner that brings joy and happiness to their life–it really does boil down to what’s on offer. What kind of positive energy can you bring to a partner? Make a list of those things and add to it when you think of new things. Focus on them.

How well do you compromise?

Partnership takes compromise and being alone doesn’t allow us to practice that. If you’ve lived alone for long periods of time, as I have, compromise may not come easy. When we’re used to being alone, we’re also to having things are own way, for the most part, and sometimes considering another person’s needs doesn’t come easily. It’s not intuitive. Not if we’re unaccustomed to taking another into account. Sometimes it takes extra work to be sure we are accommodating their desires, too.

A caution: we’re often delusional about how well we compromise. It takes some deep, self-examination to determine where we stand on this. I can honestly say that compromise has been a huge challenge for me in relationships because I got used to making my own way in the world, filling my own needs. I have to think and think again to be sure I am taking into account what my husband wants, too. But it’s worth it.

So take a close look at this. It’s big.

being-aloneWhat are you doing to put people off?

I know single people who are super-judgmental when they meet another–they always know best. And those who are super-busy. “I’m soo busy! Too busy to get together! Too busy to go out! Let me squeeze you in…”

I know others who are so nervous on dates they drink too much. I know some who smoke too much weed and some who don’t like to….fill in the blank: go to concerts, spend time in the city, go out to movies, go to parties. There’s an excuse for just about every activity a partner might like to do.

One really cool friend told me that she keeps people away by the look she’s chosen, which includes large tattoos and piercings. (Beautiful tattoos, by the way.) She doesn’t have to change that, but she might want to look for a man who appreciates body art.

How about: “I want a man to work at knowing the real me.”  Well, here’s the thing: men aren’t going to do that. In fact, no one wants to work really hard to get to know another. If you’re not WYSIWYG–what-you-see-is-what-you-get–you are probably losing opportunities to meet just the right person.

If you want a partner, you have to welcome one and only you can know what you’re doing that might keep the very people away that you’d like to draw close.

What are you doing to meet people?

I’m here to tell you that if you sit home all day you’re never going to meet anyone.

If you’re straight and you spend all your time with gay friends you’re probably not going to meet a potential partner.

If you work in a breast cancer surgeon’s officer, chances are potential mates are not going to stumble across you.

If you’re willing to use online dating services, it’s important not to put your self-worth on the line. Some people like chocolate, some like vanilla. It’s not personal. Today’s online dating options often are niche-oriented: services are offered focused on religion, race, BBW, even farmers, Alaska and so many other niches. Because, as they say, there is a lid for every pot. Why not look for exactly what you want? And you might have more luck looking for a dating niche that fits you and your situation.

If you aren’t good at online dating, and I know some who aren’t, then tell every single person you know that you are looking to meet someone. That means your hairstylist, manicurist, golf buddies, people at the gym, your lawyer, your cousins, your in-laws,  your doctor, your neighbors, the owners of boutiques you frequent–if you know someone and they know you, TELL THEM! and tell them a bit about what kind of person you’re looking to date. I’m not proposing that you accost every person you run into–but if it’s someone who knows and likes you, there’s no harm in telling them you’re looking. Because you never know — they may well know someone who is also looking.

And get out and about! Do things you love that have a side benefit — they will put you in the surroundings of the kind of mate you seek. If you play golf, volunteer at tournaments. Work at a museum. Take hikes with the Sierra Club. Attend a Parents without Partners meeting. Find something to do that you love. The worst that can happen is you are doing what you like to do. The best is that you’ll meet someone else who likes it, too.

Today’s world is full of opportunities to get out and have fun, and while you’re at it, meet people. Because, after all, YOU NEVER KNOW.

There’s no magic to finding a partner. But if a relationship has eluded you, it’s time to ask yourself these few questions. And in those answers, you’ll likely to find the reason you’re alone. And once you know that, you can do something about it. Change it.

And yes, meet someone.

Finally, I am a big proponent of therapy. If you think you might be depressed or want to talk over your situation, do not hesitate to find a good therapist. Worth their weight in gold.

So, what do you think?





60 comments on ““I don’t want to be alone”
  1. Great advice and insights, CaRol. I was single until I was in my 40s, and the compromise thing was a challenge when Hubs and I first got married. I have a widowed friend who is ready to meet someone and could benefit from reading this, I think.

  2. Genuinely solitary types that I know wince at the idea of changing up their habits and environment to accommodate others and tend to seek friendships with potential with like types. I wonder if the “clock ticking” pressure is felt by those whose approach to relationships is all or nothing, if expectations are too high going in.

    It’s a question that interests me because I am a genuinely solitary type and do sometimes worry that this might change w age.

  3. Nancy Fox says:

    Such great insights and advice, Carol. I can’t imagine life without the love of my life. It’s the greatest gift to share your life with someone.

  4. tp keane says:

    I’ve been with my husband since I was 19. I’ve been lucky to find my soul mate so early in life.

  5. Loved this post,Carol! As a midlifer who found love my second time around at age 49 (7 yrs ago, now married 3 yrs), my hubby and I are surrounded by single people of all ages. So much is true about their attitudes, their lives, etc. It really showed back in the day, when my single family members (mom, both brothers) would visit me and self-centeredly do their”own thing” in my house, disregarding how I manage my household (I was then single raising two daughters). They were well-meaning, but lacked that skill in collaborating. I see this constantly with our single friends. When I met my hubby, we were so relieved to finally be in a relationship again.

  6. Diane says:

    Husby and I are now in the batter’s box’. The last generation is gone. All of them. We have reached the age when we see our friends and siblings being called home. I have been considering the idea of being alone with much more care these days. It could happen. So I am grateful for every day of companionship.
    Such a great article, Carol. It certainly got me thinking . . .

  7. Sometimes I think I’d be happier living next door rather in the same house, but finances make that impossible. I like having my own space but can’t seem to get the retired guy out of the door most of the time. Lucky not to be alone, though, at least for now.

  8. tara pittman says:

    I do not like being alone. Just give me a couple hours a day of quiet and then bring on the noise from my boys.

  9. Great exposition, Carol. Especially about our self-delusions as to how well we truly compromise with others!

  10. Hi Carol! Good questions in this post. I too hear from others that they “don’t want to be alone” but then do as you say in so many cases. If you want to have a friend, you have to be a friend right? Of course, I’ve always felt that I would far rather be alone than with the wrong person or with someone who didn’t “vibrate” the same as me. Know what I mean? While compromise and learning to give and take is essential, I think we all must choose our trade-offs carefully. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to have found the perfect man for me years ago and am grateful every single day for his presence in my life. ~Kathy

  11. estelle says:

    I am a huge proponent of therapy, too. If you are alone and wondering why, start there. Your love is in you, so concentrate on being the most loving person you can (to yourself, too).

  12. Momina Arif says:

    this post is making me think again about so many things I do

  13. Laurie Stone says:

    Its so nice to hear upbeat, realistic advice instead of the usual “We’re doomed” stuff that can come from older people. If we keep our minds and hearts open, who knows what can happen? Loved this.

  14. Comprise is so important in a relationship!! I am so lucky to have found my wife we make an amazing team together!

  15. Ruth Curran says:

    Nothing like being on your own for almost a month to realize just what an important role compromise plays in a relationship…. When I returned, with all my energy and all my momentum I had a quick reality check and had to shift quickly into adjusting and adapting to others. Strange how we take that skill for granted.

    For the most part, like you, I tend toward alone in my thoughts, my actions, and my decision making for a whole lot of reasons. I have learned to value that other opinion and honor that alone, I simply miss good stuff.

    Thanks for the food for thought!

  16. Liz Mays says:

    I’m in a relationship now. There was a couple year gap between marriage and the relationship, but I needed that time to myself.

  17. sue says:

    I love this Carol (as usual). I’m into 23 years of a second marriage and I’m not sure what life would be like on my own now. I do have ‘me time’ which is very important but the love and comfort myhusband gives me is priceless. My parents-in-law were married for 70 years and now my MIL is not only grieving the loss of her loved one but also has never lived alone before in her life. I have a friend who is a gorgeous girl and in her mid 30s. She just can’t seem to find the ‘right one’. Sometimes I think it is because she has an unrealistic idea of what the ‘right one’ is.

    • Frances D says:

      Many of my single friends had/ are having trouble finding a partner because of unrealistic expectations. They want “everything” with no compromise. I have seen what I thought were some pretty good match-ups go south because the first disagreement becoming a battle royale. Heading over to visit your site and read your latest post. Peace.

  18. Amy Jones says:

    Really deep post, made me think a lot about my personality

  19. Compromise is a biggie — as long as you don’t compromise yourself. Having been with my husband for more than 35 years (34 married), we still struggle with compromising fairly. And not being too judgmental, mostly regarding one another’s political views. :-O

    Thought-provoking post, even for someone who has been NOT alone all my adult life.

  20. Good advice. I think when we get older we do get a sort of attitude and maybe don’t want to play the dating games people often do especially if we come from divorce. I was lucky I met my husband the year after my divorce. Finding the person who is right for you and not just there is so Important in my opinion.

  21. Rosemond says:

    You nailed it. I’m sharing relentlessly. I met my boyfriend online after I swore I’d never date online. It’s difficult to access “what you bring to the party” but in order to meet new people, whether friends of romantic, you do have to take an honest assessment of yourself. Wonderful!

  22. We will be married 35 years next week and I can’t imagine having gone through life without my husband. That being said, we both need our alone time, too!

  23. Lonely people have to consider these things. Great post!

  24. Elizabeth O. says:

    We’re all different and we have different ways that keep people from getting to know us. Which is also the cause of our being alone. I think if you want to meet people, you should learn to open up a little, welcome them into your mind and just see if it works or if it doesn’t.

  25. I am a single 51 year old woman and absolutely love it! Been married more than once, had a 16 year relationship and nothing matches my life now as a single woman. Do I think about getting older and being single. Yes, I do but that will not be my reason for getting into a relationship, simply to have a nurse for my late life. If it ain’t love, respect, and all the other things you mentioned – complementing and supporting us both into further growth even in our old age…single I will remain. And not, I am not alone. 🙂

  26. The sadness of feeling and being alone can kill you inside. Finding a partner that can be with you for life is a blessing specially when you two can get along very well.

  27. Aditi says:

    Iam young, in my 20s and because of my studies I’ve gotten into the habit of being alone. And lately I’ve also observed that I don’t compromise with other people which really sucks. I really liked your advise and I’m going to try to implement it… Thank you so much for this post 🙂

  28. Hi Carol,

    what an amazing article you’ve got here! I am not single, but what drew me to your article was the fact that I could learn something to pass on to a few strong, independent, beautiful women who have had such a hard time in finding “the one”. I will be sharing your article with them, and hopefully, something will click. 🙂

    Brilliant article. Well done!
    Take care,


  29. victoria says:

    I feel this sadness of being alone. Glad you share this

  30. Martin says:

    I don’t think anyone wants to be alone and as humans we’re not meant to be alone. Thanks for sharing.

  31. This is such a well written article. Often times people just want a partner because their friends have partners, but they’re really not ready to make the sacrifices to keep another person happy 🙂

  32. Michele says:

    I have a great husband and strong family ties as well as a few close friends. I have struggled to meet new people since I moved two years ago- mostly because I am introverted by nature and work from home. I know this is something I need to work on because i would like to meet more people here.

  33. Azlin Bloor says:

    Wonderful write up Carol and something worth thinking about by so many, married or not. Sometimes I do wonder what it would be like when we’re older.

  34. Niesha Byln says:

    I like your post, very true! I am so blessed that I find my partner with my hubby, we are not a perfect couple bu we make things work together.

  35. I dont think anyone wants to be alone. Being alone and being lonely are two different things. I think we as humans are meant to be in the company of others and not to be alone.

  36. Sarah Bailey says:

    This is such a great post about getting people to think about relationships as two way streets. You definitely have to think about what you bring to the table, too.

  37. Krystle Cook says:

    Nobody wants to be alone, ever, I don’t think. Well maybe for an hour or two. But finding what you need to be together with someone else so very important.

  38. I don’t think anyone wants to be alone, but it is difficult sometimes to see beyond our own faults. We either think that we are perfect and that no one could measure up to us, or we think we are useless and that no one would want us. Either way, it is a tough situation to be in.

  39. Glenda Kruse says:

    It must be hard to be without a soul mate or partner. One of my close friend found the love of her life in her 40’s and have been married for the last 3 years. She also used to feel like she was going to be alone for the rest of her life until she found the man of her dreams.

  40. Echo says:

    I think a lot of people fear being alone and sometimes, it does take a long time to find the right match. The right match is often not always what you think. For example, my mother, is much happier and content being a single grandmother than she ever was being a wife. Being a grandmother completes her.

  41. Milena says:

    These are great observations. I know a few friends that I’m going to be sharing this post with today. Thank.

  42. Jenny says:

    I struggled with this through my marriage and then also as my divorce when on. It is amazing how loneliness can affect you in life. So important to make your own happiness too.

  43. Vyjay says:

    Very candid and introspective post. Being alone can get a bit tiresome sometimes, but it does have its bonuses. Like everything else it has its pros and cons.

  44. Kathy Kenny Ngo says:

    Great insights. I love the advice too. Such a wonderful post to brighten someone’s day. Keep on writing wonderful articles!

  45. I am single but I am happy being single but its true some people do make excuses for why they are single. There is nothing wrong with being single.

  46. this post is so thought provoking! in that there were some things i needed to re-evaluate after reading this. thank you ever so much. i do enjoy being single but i know everyone wants to meet someone, somewhere that gets them and i acknowledge that i too want to meet that person.

  47. wendy says:

    Great insight to what your future can be and what it can hold. Thank you for writing a great and provoking post that make all of us stand back and think.

  48. Courtneylynne says:

    The art of compromise can go a long way in a relationship! Any relationship, romantic, friend etc… Will eventually fail without it

  49. Emily says:

    I love this article! I think a lot of times we wonder why we are in a certain situation but never step back and examine our own actions and what we can do to change it.

  50. aurora says:

    You know when I was young, I didn’t mind this topic because I had a lot of friends. Now that we get older, it’s always something to think about. I think that’s one of the reasons why I got married so early.

  51. Wildish Jess says:

    This is such a scary thought. I’m married but you never know what can happen in life.

  52. Berlin says:

    Compromise is very important in any relationship. The husband and wife or boyfriend-girlfriend or even parents-children should learn how to listen and give sue respect to each other. .

  53. Aye, there’s a lot of judgmental people and it stems from being too picky. Great read by the way, you give a lot of advice for just about anyone in or out of a working relationship. Sometimes, chocolate and vanilla can mix together.

  54. Hi Carol,
    Look at all these comments! It looks like your post touched a nerve.
    I am in L.A. I once read a beautiful actress was alone and blamed men in L.A. for wanting younger women.
    We can be loving and demonstrative and fun, but if a man in our age group wants a younger woman, what are we to do/
    Thankfully, I am happily married, but my husband is 12 years older than I am.
    I hope I don’t end up in this situation.I would hope I’d go to a senior center where there are people.

  55. Guess what, Carol? Your post won the Blogger’s Pit Stop Linky Party! Congratulations!

  56. Leigh Anne Borders says:

    What a powerful and deep post. You provided lots of great insight. At times, I feel alone myself. I once thought I could not do it alone, but I found out that I can.

  57. Feeling alone is perfectly normal I think. It happens to everyone so we dont need to be ashamed of that.

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