So my issue starts with a question. Do you believe that everyone has a person out there and eventually they’ll find them? Because I’m at that place where I don’t think this is true anymore, and some people really end up alone. And like, I’m learning to accept it, I’ve decided to give up dating and I’m starting to imagine the rest of my life like this but I’m also terrified of ending up alone. Not right now, I have a lot of things I can focus on, I’m building my career, I have great friends, so the loneliness is easily masked. But I keep thinking about 10-20 years from now, when all my friends have built their lives with their partners so of course we’re no longer as close as we used to be, and basically they won’t be as available to me as they are right now. And I’m terrified that being alone then will be awful. Can you imagine being 50-60 yrs old and you really have no one? It sounds so sad and lonely and I really don’t want that. One of my biggest fears is ending up like that woman who was found alone in her house having died for like 2 years and no one knew who her people were. Can you imagine being dead for 2 years and no one even noticed? Whew. I guess I know what the root cause for this is, I’m scared of not mattering, not being valued. And as much as I know romantic love isn’t the be all and end all, there’s also a level of companionship and intimacy that you get in romantic situations that you can’t get elsewhere. When you have your person, and the two of you are committed to each other, there’s a way you can ward off most feelings of being alone. So my question then will be, do you believe in a person for everyone, and if not, then what can you tell a person whose entire life has shown her that there really is no one for her. How would this person then build a life where she will not end up sad and lonely in her old age? (As context, I’m in my late 30s so I’ve lived life, and these thoughts are not just panic led hysteria caused by “if you’re not married by 30, you’re useless) Thanks for listening and apologies for the long ask.
To answer your first question: Personally, me, myself and I, I do not believe that there is that one person out there for someone, nor do I believe that people will eventually find that person. I believe that there are people who come into your life and then we see the possibility of spending the rest of our lives together and then we put in the work. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.
The concerns you raise are not new to me. I have heard them before even from my friends. And only recently, I read this article which you should read if you have not yet.
Let me say firstly, this was a hard question to answer. And as someone who is in a committed long-term relationship, it would be remiss for me to speak about romantic relationships as something that doesn’t matter. It has to be more than me saying that you need to be self aware, enjoy your company and all those other things. I am aware of the privilege I have in that case as well as probable blind spots I may have as I respond to you.
That being said, I think we need to re-imagine companionship and intimacy inside and outside of romantic relationships.
The statistics show that for women, they feel lonely in their marriages and seek companionship from their friends. Being married does not preclude you from loneliness and does not ensure that you are valued or that you matter. Those are the facts. I think what is more important is to create fulfilling, reciprocal, kind and empathetic relationships.
We need to make a life in this world as is and part of that means seeing and acting on relationships – romantic and platonic- differently. It means having honest conversations about companionship and intimacy, it means thinking of relationships outside of societal norms, it means asking more from our friends, married or not.
I have read stories of communal living where women friends are opting to live together. I would like to see how it works out. And I know the issue of sex will arise, but that is a whole separate issue, isn’t it?
If you think about it, capitalism is the reason we opt to live separate lives. It keeps us in a state of want and benefits from loneliness. It makes all the sense then, to think outside of the boxes that capitalism keeps us in, to speak with each other about loneliness, companionship and intimacy, to seek out people who enrich our lives and to demand reciprocity.