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This crushing loneliness

BeanLaidir posted 6/9/2021 15:50 PM

I'm separated 4 years and headed for divorce (takes a while where I'm from). I do not miss my XH or have any interest in dealing with him beyond the bare minimum needed to get a divorce sorted. Our children have no relationship with him at the moment, and all are young adults so I am not expecting to have to interact with him in any way going forward.

I have amazing friends, a wonderful family, a new job which I enjoy, interests, hobbies, travel (well, soon again I hope!) and have dated and met some lovely men in the past couple of years.
I have worked on myself and feel secure in my life and choices. I have one special man in my life, although neither of us are in a position to move things along to a more serious relationship at the moment due to family commitments and distance issues (we live more than 2 hours away from each other). We are both happy with the status quo for now and see each other when we can.

But despite all the positives, I sometimes feel very much alone in my life. My kids are still living at home but do their own thing in the evenings and on weekends, as they should of course. My friends are either coupled up in solid marriages or have been single so long that they do not miss the companionship of a partner. I seem stuck in the middle somehow. I can't quite put my finger on it, and it comes and goes, but I sometimes really feel the loss of the companionship of my marriage so acutely. I am envious of couples enjoying summer evenings together walking their dogs or having a bite to eat at an outdoor restaurant. I am envious of travel plans made with a spouse or partner, of long lazy days in each other's company, the kind of days I used to have with my XH. I know how good it can be, how fulfilling and comfortable those times can be. I miss that so much and I can't seem to focus on all the good connections I have with my kids, family, brothers, cousins and friends. It's a different connection I guess. I enjoy my own company and am never bored, but I have reached a good place in my life, kids are grown, less job and life stress, and I am sad that I cannot share that stability and freedom with someone I love, if that makes any sense.

I know I have a much more fulfilled life now. I do not miss or want my XH in my life. I got out of infidelity and rid myself of a cheater but I so miss that level of companionship. Can anyone reassure me that this is just a phase and it will pass soon?

WhoTheBleep posted 6/10/2021 06:25 AM

I am envious of couples enjoying summer evenings together walking their dogs or having a bite to eat at an outdoor restaurant. I am envious of travel plans made with a spouse or partner, of long lazy days in each other's company

I understand this. I hope one day to have this with a partner. I know the feelings will ebb and flow. Allow yourself to feel them, but don't get stuck there. It sounds like you have a wonderful life. Everyone has their stuff and their struggles. I try to remind myself that I am much better off than a lot of people. I'm also worse off than a lot of people. It's all relative. Focus on the joy as much as you can.

Karmafan posted 6/10/2021 15:02 PM

I know I have a much more fulfilled life now. I do not miss or want my XH in my life. I got out of infidelity and rid myself of a cheater but I so miss that level of companionship.

BL, you mention someone you are seeing, albeit not regularly. You say you are OK with the status quo and donít wish for things to be different. But the rest of your post doesnít read like someone who is happy with just having a long distance, Ďrelaxedí relationship. You seem to be craving a lot more than that. So maybe this arrangement is not meeting your needs after all? Do you see this going anywhere? Do you talk about the future at all? I am sorry to be asking these questions but being fulfilled in a relationship, even a long distance one, and feeling such acute loneliness donít necessarily go together. ..


stubbornft posted 6/10/2021 15:12 PM

I had the same thoughts as Karmafan but couldn't figure out how to word it!

When I was single there were times I would find myself in these kind of casual relationships. I felt like it fit in well in my life and I could focus on other things, however, I ended up feeling like it was keeping me from finding someone I could have a real future with, and it made me actually feel even more lonely for some reason. I really wanted a more intimate and traditional relationship and these kind of partial boyfriend things were keeping me stuck.

cbgrace1980 posted 6/10/2021 16:40 PM

I like how articulate you are with your feelings. You are very self aware and that is helpful. I think you are missing something very normal, and that's not unhealthy. I feel very similarly to you. I feel very alone even though I have so many good people around me. I miss having a spouse. I keep reminding myself that everything will be okay, and I know you believe that, too. It's ok to long for something more. Keep a journal and see how you progress!

BeanLaidir posted 6/11/2021 06:54 AM

Thank you all for your very valuable insights, and in particular with pointing out the disconnect between what I articulated about my current 'relaxed' relationship and what had me feeling low and lonely.

I try to remind myself that I am much better off than a lot of people. I'm also worse off than a lot of people. It's all relative.

Thank you WhoTheBleep, I agree, it is all relative. Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling like this as I know others have much more challenge than I do. A friend once told me that it's not the Separation and Divorce Olympics and even though others' stories may be worse, it doesn't invalidate my difficulties and feelings. That's why I love coming here to read and learn, and see the support that people offer to each other no matter what their circumstances.

You seem to be craving a lot more than that. So maybe this arrangement is not meeting your needs after all? Do you see this going anywhere? Do you talk about the future at all? I am sorry to be asking these questions but being fulfilled in a relationship, even a long distance one, and feeling such acute loneliness donít necessarily go together. ..

Karmafan, thank you so much for asking the questions, I need to see them! There is definitely a good bit of avoidance going on on both our parts, both of us are afraid of getting hurt but also see the potential between us. I think the most difficult part for me is the lack of physical connection and touch. No amount of messaging, facetime or phonecalls can replace that. I wish we lived closer and could see each other without it having to be a feat of logistics and timetabling!


I felt like it fit in well in my life and I could focus on other things, however, I ended up feeling like it was keeping me from finding someone I could have a real future with, and it made me actually feel even more lonely for some reason. I really wanted a more intimate and traditional relationship and these kind of partial boyfriend things were keeping me stuck.

stubbornft, this is really food for thought, thank you. I don't want to get into a sunk cost fallacy situation here. I know that sounds awful, I really like this guy, there is so much that is caring and loving and positive about our relationship. I think the distance thing might be worth thinking about again, if I continue to feel like I'm missing out, it might be time to draw a line under it.

Keep a journal and see how you progress!

Thanks cbgrace1980, I must get back to doing this. I did it when my XH left and it really helped. It's amazing how my perspective changed as the months rolled on after DD. I will do that over the summer and see how my feeling progress.

I think it was a combination of good weather, easing of lockdown and the generally festive air about that had me feeling like I was missing out.

EvenKeel posted 6/11/2021 08:08 AM

I think the distance thing might be worth thinking about again, if I continue to feel like I'm missing out, it might be time to draw a line under it.
I am leaning towards thinking this is relationship related as well with your SO.

Our needs just change. When I was first dating, I didn't want anyone geographically close. As the years went by (and my kiddos aged out), my time availability changed and I wanted someone closer. For the reasons you are sharing, general companionship (dinners, walks, whatever). I still love my "space" but I don't think I would like an out of state relationship at this point. My life if just at a different stage now.

I understand both of you have life constraints that limit your relationship but what IS the long-term plan? If you know you are working towards a goal with your SO and can map out a timeline you like, then you can get through it. If it looks like an endless highway of "well this is just how it has to be" then you need to reassess if this relationship still works for the both of you.


BeanLaidir posted 6/11/2021 16:46 PM

Oh EvenKeel, I think you may have hit the nail on the head there.
The geographical distance is a safety net, arms length feels more comfortable on some levels. Maybe I am starting to move from one phase to the next and that is what is giving me this feeling of something being missing.
I am a few years ahead of him on the kids front, mine are grown although they still live at home. Both of us are very involved with the care of elderly parents and I have a divorce to go through sooner rather than later, so it does look more like the endless highway you describe.
Perhaps as you say, my needs are changing and are not really in sync with his. The only way to find out is by bringing the subject up I guess!

Thank you for helping me see another perspective

EvenKeel posted 6/14/2021 08:22 AM

The geographical distance is a safety net, arms length feels more comfortable on some levels.
My friends would laugh at me. First I would only date out of state, then in state but had to be hours away, then finally I would date in-state but NOT in my county. Then within my county but not my town. Now...my SO of 4 years is about ten minutes away.

Crazy....but that is what worked for me along the way.

The only way to find out is by bringing the subject up I guess!
I highly recommend doing this. Just a checking in on where are relationship is, what are needs are and are we on the same page for the future.

If the mapping looks like you guys will be cohabitating in say five years and you are ok with the compromise in the interim, then ok.

If you can't seem to agree on the path down the road, then it is good to know that now.

The guy I was dating one county away knew I would never cohabitate until my children were out of the house. Although he wanted more, he was fine with waiting since he knew that was the long-term plan, etc. People are looking for all sorts of things. As long as you guys communicate about it and have check-ins along the way - then it is all good.

On the flip side, sometimes we are in relationships with good people but we just can't make it work due to individual life situations (as you said elderly parents, kids, work, etc). That super stinks too!

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