When You Suddenly Feel Lonely…

This weekend was one of those perfect ones in New York: full of celebrating, wine and laughter. I bounced between birthday dinners and themed parties, had long walks with Lucy and long talks with my closest friends. After two full days on-the-go, I was excited about a relaxing Sunday to check off my to-do list for the week.

I started with a light brunch with my friend A, catching up about her European travels and then grocery shopped for my new diet, weaving in between the crowded aisles at the (cheap and totally worth the hassle) Fairway on the Upper West Side. I even held true to my unspoken New Year’s resolution to make more eye-contact and small talk with attractive men, casually asking for help reaching the salad dressing and where to find the frozen chicken. Neither conversations resulted in anything, but did boost my ego for .05 seconds. After trekking on the train and cuddling with Lucy, I looked out the window by my bed at the blue, wet city below and I…

…suddenly felt very lonely. 

Instead of giving into the random sadness, I took a deep breath and analyzed the situation: I’ve had a full weekend of fun and excitement and even relaxation, I have nothing to be upset about, so why do I feel this way? I took another deep breath (they truly help with everything) and counted just a few things I’m thankful for (this apartment, this puppy, my family, my amazing friends, this banging booty that helped me pull off a Beyonce costume on Saturday night) and got myself up out of bed with determination: I was going to distract myself and not let myself fall into a funk like I did in 2013. Not this year, not this time.

So I meal-prepped for the entire week. Then I swept and mopped all of the floors. I gave Lucy a new chew bone. I made myself some hot tea. I emptied out my inbox. I wrote down ideas for blog posts. I hung a fun sign on our front door that encourages happiness. I responded to some messages on OkCupid. I took out the trash. I tidied my room and made my bed. (And I would have gone running if it wasn’t raining and very cold.)

And at the end of all that, I came out to the lemon-y smelling living room with my chamomile tea while Lucy slept on the dog-hair-covered futon, and I still felt a little sad. I took yet another deep breath and admitted what was bothering me: I wanted was someone to cook dinner with, watch something on TV, snuggle in bed, maybe have some lazy sex, perhaps split some wine and fall asleep. I’ve gone on many dates, but I haven’t had that level of comfortability in quite some time — nearly two and a half years, to be exact. I do long for that, I do want that, I won’t settle for less than that, but on rainy Sunday nights, it’s easy to feel cold and alone.

What helps (for me) is remembering that I’m always exactly where I’m supposed to be, that I’m always the person I’m supposed to be at this point in my life. I remember that I’m so very lucky and most of the time, so happy with the life I have. I remember to write down my dreams and to remind those I love just how much they mean to me. I try to do a good deed (even if it’s just letting Lucy run in the rain). I try to remember that most everything is temporary, and that this feeling will pass and another one — splendid or terrible — will come. I change something small or I make sure my living area feels homey with a candle or some tea. I take a long bath or close my eyes and think of things that make me smile without hesitation.

So as I write this blog on Sunday night, texting my friends for their advice, I do feel a bit lonely. Somewhat sad. But I’m riding the wave of lonely – and so can you. Here are how my dearest do it:

“I try to do something nice for someone else… write a surprise card, send an encouraging text message, or just call someone I haven’t talked to in awhile. I go for a long run. I write it all down for me — not to share. I mindlessly surf Pinterest. I succumb to the glory that is retail therapy. And sometimes, I watch a documentary about people who have it worse than I do.” -M

“I do a lot of self-care. I clean everything – up and out. I throw away a lot of things. I do yoga, take long deep breaths, and  long walks where I just pay attention to every detail. I guess my big thing I do (thanks therapy) is trying to identify the source of the problem, and then I try and cut myself some slack and decide how and what I’m going to work on. It’s all about the process.” – A

“I have a music playlist or have a mental pep talk with myself in a quiet (but public) spot… like in a park, on the river, outside on my stoop. Or I go to this bar where I’m a regular, it’s my happy place. But… going to a bar is not the most constructive…” -E

“I exercise. I read uplifting material. I remind myself that this is just one day and that everything works out in the great divine order. I also go to bed. I look at nature. I think about how big God really is and how much we are loved and taken care of. Also count my blessings for all of the good in my life. Just takes practice.” -Mama Tigar

“I try to do something productive, something that gets at the cause of that loneliness, which is really just fear that I’ll never have a full life unless I meet someone. Putting extra money into my IRA or finally comparing my health insurance options isn’t exactly a feel-good experience, but it reminds me that I’m a capable adult who is going to be fine no matter what. Not to mention, my white knight’s arrival is a lot less urgent if I have medical coverage and enough money to pay for my own retirement.” -K

“I pray and I read the Bible.” -N

“I think about how lucky I am for the things and people in my life.” -J

“I kinda just let it ride out until the mood or the thought passes, like what the little girl says in The Tree Grows in Brooklyn: ‘Let the hurt waves pass through.” Also, I take a hot shower, ride out the thoughts and listen to some happy pop music.” -K

“I get my nails or hair done, buy a new dress or something pretty to make me feel good. I also change something as simple as the curtains or the pillows or do something that I’ve been meaning to do. You never want to over-analyze. If I feel down, I do something that brings a little joy. I think the key is getting your mind off of it.” -M

“I have a photo album on my phone that I call my ‘Be Happy’ file. They’re pictures of quotes. Quotes I found on Pinterest or see on Instagram or statues I like on Facebook.  Quotes about uncertainty and fear and bravery and being vulnerable or other things I’m lacking or I’m afraid of or that inspire me.” -R

This Valentine’s Day, write a self-love letter to yourself and it’ll be published (anonymous or not) on Confessions of a Love Addict! And you enter yourself to win a prize! Learn more here. Submit here

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Love Addict Seeks Confessions

Since starting this blog, I’ve received a tremendous amount of support. From strangers half-way across the world to people I haven’t spoken to in years who I happen to be friends with on Facebook. I’ve had people recognize me from this space, after their friend passed it along to them. The URL is in my email signature from my personal Gmail and even my broker went as far to compliment what I’m attempting to do and my dedication.

I’ve somehow developed quite the community of bloggers and what I refer to as my Twitter loves – people I don’t really know personally, but if I don’t hear from them in a while, I wonder how they are. I’ve made friends in cyberspace and we’ve exchanged words of advice and comforted each other in our own struggles.

I’m amazed by the reach of a website that’s written out of an apartment, coffee shop, and office in New York City, by one person, who really never intended any of it. But usually what we least expect becomes the things we’re thankful for and cherish the most. As much of a pain it is to write every day sometimes, I feel a sense of accomplishment, as well as a growing hope that I’m helping someone, somewhere out there in a place I’ll probably never go. But maybe my words make them feel like they are less alone or those little things we do that may make us feel like crazy, 20-something single women, are really not so outlandish, but just normal.

However, I’m not the only lady of the world wide web who writes about love and life. I’m not the loan blogger who chronicles her journey and each event that happens in it, from a bird’s unfortunate aim to the uncomfortable task of being vulnerable with a possibility – both of which, are full of shit from time-to-time.

If I’m really doing a recovery 12-step program to learning to love myself in or out of a relationship, with or without the approval of a male – then I’m missing a critical component.

The meetings.

Right? Part of overcoming an addiction (even if it a self-proscribed one) is talking to other people who suffer or struggle with the same things. Those who worry over making the right decisions with their lives, both romantically and otherwise. Those who play the real-life part of Gigi in “He’s Just Not That Into You” or find themselves repeating stories to their friends about different men, who really, are all quite the same at the end. Especially when the beginning and the end are separated by less than a month, again and again. I know I’m not the only woman who’s battled these thoughts or worries – you’ve all told me so. And really, anything I’ve explored is what any single girl, in the city or out, attempts to figure out as she goes through her 20’s and beyond.

So, I’m proposing a weekly Sunday meeting, or what I’ll call a Confessional with the Love Addict. If you’ll join me, that is.

We can’t really split a bottle of red wine at one of my favorite cheese and wine bars downtown in the Village. And we can’t really IM over Gchat using the real names of the men behind the blog or give each other advice on what to wear out Saturday night – but we can talk here. More importantly, we can be one another’s sponsors, if you’ll play along with my analogy – keeping each other in line and remembering what’s most important – loving ourselves, no matter what, no exceptions, no man required.

Each week, I’ll publish a Q&A with another blogger, reader, fan, or friend. We’ll answer the same questions on a topic that’s pitched to me. It can be about sex, love, dating, relationships, dieting, self-esteem, looks, city life – whatever. No limits here. Boys allowed too. You’ll confess what you’re dealing with and we’ll go from there, wherever it may go. We’ll link back and forth and encourage comments and hopefully, we’ll stimulate a conversation. Even better, we’ll start the week a little more refreshed and a little more confident. And maybe, feeling like we got what we needed off our chest and shoulders – as I usually do after spewing a blog post or two.

If you’d like to have a Confessional with the Love Addict, email me with:

Name

Blog (and link)

Topic you’d like to chat about (not a lot of details needed)

Three questions you’d ask me about the topic (I’ll respond with my three for you)

Notes: I’ll only publish one Q&A a week, so thanks in advance for your patience. Those who email without the above will not be considered. Commenting below once you’ve submitted would be helpful! :)