Why Are We So Afraid Of Being Alone?


Confused asks: Comment: Hi.  About 6 years ago I met a man online when I was living in NYC.  We went out twice and had sex on the 2nd date.  I was not emotionally involved and not sure I was very physically attracted but it happened.  It wasn't good.  He wanted me to stay that night and all I remember was how I just couldn't wait to get out of there.  I think I rushed into it and didn't really give a chance to really get to know him.  I was also very active on the online dating world at the time so to make the story short, I ignored his calls after the second date and I think I texted him back saying I was no longer interested or something like that. 


Ive been living in Atlanta for the last 2 years but Im considering moving back to NYC.  My boyfriend and I broke up 2 months ago after 1.5 years of a tumultuous relationship.  Being 35 I definitely feel my clock is ticking and my needs in the things I look for in a partner have changed.  3 days ago I got a notification about the guy  from NYC on Facebook as someone I may know and I requested him.  He accepted me, I emailed him saying hi, long time, blah blah, he responded and I sent him my number cause it would be easier to catch up on the phone.  So he called me a couple of times and we were finally able to talk earlier today.  We spoke for about 45 minutes.  The conversation went very well.  It felt like I was talking to an old friend.  He seems to be a very nice and decent guy from our communications and his few Facebook posts between friends. He is 3 years older than me and looks better now than when we met 6 years ago, at least from the pictures. 


I ended the conversation telling him that if he was ever in Atlanta he had a home(since I own a 2 bedroom condo) to stay at and he said oh! you too, when you come to NYC, please let me know and you should stay with me.  Thinking that NYC hotels are so darn expensive I told him I may take him up on that offer.  I was actually thinking of going to NYC in the next few weeks.  I am considering getting to know him better.  Would it be weird to ask him if I can stay with him for a weekend?  It would be as friends but I think I would be open to getting to know him better, again.

Age: 35


Here's what I think: I think you're lonely, which is a very uncomfortable place to be for most single people, especially this time of year. I firmly believe that we, as a society, don't talk about loneliness enough, and that there's a stigma to admitting to being lonely.

There shouldn't be. Loneliness is normal. As humans, we are wired to crave attachment. Loneliness hurts - physically and emotionally. It makes sense that we would want to do anything we could to rid ourselves of the longing.


Whether or not you rejected this guy to quickly is something I can't answer. What I do feel comfortable asserting is that, by staying with this man when you visit NYC, you'll be putting yourself in a very precarious situation. Right now, you're wondering if you made the wrong decision and feeling pressured to get into a relationship, maybe even have a baby. Real talk: being single at the holidays can sometimes suck. Now you're doing what so many people do around the holidays: you're scrolling through your mental contacts list, wondering if any of your past relationships could be revived.


Many singles get (and send) those texts from exes and one-time online dates near New Year's Eve & Christmas. Unlike the rest of the year, when dating apps and dating sites feel over-populated with the walking dead, there's an urgency to be in a relationship at the holidays. Everybody wants that romantic date of holding hands while snow softly falls around them. Phones blow up with texts from people you've long since deleted asking how you are or telling you that you popped into their heads. I once matched with someone on Bumble or Tinder on New Year's Eve. We exchanged messages and eventually he tried to convince me to come out and meet him. He could stand being home alone. Needless to say, I passed. When we did meet up a few days later, he was in full-on boyfriend mode, calling me sweetie and making suggestions about what I should order. He wanted a relationship and he wanted it right then and there. The holidays can make people impulsive, willing to involve themselves in any relationship if it means they won't have to be by themselves.


People joke about the sappiness of Hallmark movies, but I enjoy them. Vanessa Hudgens meets a time-traveling Medieval Knight and they fall in love? I'm here for it. All 120 insane non-sensical minutes of it. I enjoy those movies for what they are: reminders that anything is possible and that our lives can change on the turn of a dime. They keep hope alive for me.

Right now, you're swimming in fear, doubt and loneliness. Did you make a mistake by letting this NYC guy go? I don't know. But I do know that trying to force a relationship to happen when you're in such a fragile emotional state is unwise. Dating when you don't feel confident or are struggling with self-doubt will make you susceptible to the wrong people and will affect your decision-making. What you could do is remain in touch with Mr. NYC and take some time to re-acquaint yourselves while you fully heal from your break-up and the emotional turmoil that comes with a split. Break-ups can be traumatic, which means your brain and your emotions need time to re-regulate. Don't run from what you're feeling right now, because there's growth on the other side of it. That growth will help you choose a better partner, one that creates less drama for you like your ex-boyfriend.


Enjoy your long-distance friendship with Mr. NYC. Get to know him again. Most importantly, try to determine why you rejected him initially and was it out of a genuine lack of interest or something deeper. Right now, the focus should be on you. He's just a bonus, something to enjoy while you work through the effects of your last relationship.


Turn on Lifetime, watch a few silly rom-com movies, and let yourself off the hook for awhile. You have way more options than you think, for both relationships and having a child. Sometimes you just have to sit in the uncomfortableness. Once you do, once you come out the other side, that fear of being alone will have less control over your behavior. You'll also be healthier, which will help you attract and find a healthy relationship.


I wish you the best. Happy Holidays.

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