Here’s a big truth about single life. On some days, I feel lonely.

I’ve often written about how wonderful single life is and for the most part it really is, for so many reasons. But feeling lonely sometimes utterly sucks.

I hate to admit sometimes feeling this way, because people assume single equals constant loneliness, which just to be clear, it doesn’t. However this assumption does make it so much harder to talk about it or share these feelings when single.

What is single loneliness?

Basically, it’s regular loneliness, but single people are lucky and get their own special title for it. That in itself really doesn’t help with the stigma’s out there attached to single (especially single women). Singles are assumed as broken, difficult, selfish, hard work, lonely. These are the attributed negatives that often come hand in hand with a single status doesn’t help with talking about loneliness. Which then for me becomes a self defence mechanism to argue against every stigma attached to my singleness.

I’m not broken I’m working on myself, but who isn’t? I can be difficult, but not in a, ‘Could never be in a relationship ever’ kind of difficult, and I know a lot of difficult people who are in relationships, so this one doesn’t work for me. Selfish? Maybe I am, after all I do love my newfound bond with self-prioritizing. Hard work – See difficult, same rules apply. And then we reach lonely.

Yes, sometimes I do feel lonely

Seriously, who hasn’t been through this? Surely everyone has felt lonely at one time or another. Whether single, partnered, stuck on a dessert island or in a room full of people. Loneliness is not only experienced by singles.

I know I’m being defensive, it’s an auto function when I write about this subject. I can’t seem to just say ‘I feel a bit lonely’ without defending singledom in the main and making sure people know this isn’t a constant way of single life. Because I hate that being single comes with an assumption that single life must equal a constant lonely way of life, just because of that single status.

I hate that I feel a need to portray the positives only, rather than admit the difficult times, because I don’t want to feed into societies single assumptions. Or let it be known that sometimes I have off days, feel lonely, get really pissed off that I’m on my own. Single is already seen as this horrendous state of being, and unwaveringly depressingly lonely all the damn time. So just to be clear, single loneliness shouldn’t be a term at all. It’s simply loneliness. Regular, affects everyone, bog standard loneliness. Which is the same level of shit whether single or partnered.

Everyone feels lonely at times

Our culture of romanticizing relationships perpetuates the stigmas surrounding being single. But the reality is that any relationship isn’t a constant state of emotions, and neither is single. Everyone feels lonely at times, whether in a relationship or not. Loneliness isn’t always instantly connected to that relationship status.

Not all people feel loneliness from a lack of an intimate relationship. Sometimes, it’s actually about lack of emotional or mental connection with either a particular person or the people around them. Other times, it can just come from a place of not feeling truly seen, heard or understood. For me, part of my occasional bouts of loneliness stems from my singleness being made to feel as if it needs to be ‘corrected,’ so then I feel a little out of place, and a little alone. And it’s also down to feeling disconnected from the people around me.

Right now, connections are limited

In today’s world, emotional and mental connections with people seem at an all-time low. We are more distanced than ever despite the increase in technological ability to maintain close connections. Whether work, socially or romantically, more often than not a lot of interactions now are virtual. And virtual lacks that real, deep, in-person connection with people. Meaningful conversations are less so when digitized. Everyone feels more distracted via a screen.  

Since Spring 2020, in a post pandemic world levels of loneliness in Great Britain have increased, with 3.7 million adults saying they felt lonely “often” or “always”. In their Relationships in Lockdown report, it revealed that men were more likely to say they’re struggling on their own (45% vs. 35% of women). We all feel it – That sense of disconnection leading to feeling a little alone at times. So despite knowing that confessing my occasional feelings of loneliness as a single woman, feeds into the negative stereotype that single has, I think it’s more important to talk about it, because it’s an issue that affects so many of us.

Prior to the pandemic, loneliness was rarely something I had the displeasure of facing

Yet over the past few months, the pandemic has heightened my loneliness more than I’ve ever felt it before. It has been harder to meet up with friends and family, or hang out with people who make me happy. I’ve not been able to do the things I normally would; less holidays, little socializing, I’m becoming more nomadic in my lifestyle as the months go on. And so this feeling of loneliness has increased. It isn’t because I don’t have a partner, that I’m not married or dating, it’s because the other relationships I value in my life have suffered.

Talking about feeling lonely

Admitting loneliness makes me feel weak, needy and desperate. I’m not sure why, because it’s natural for human beings to enjoy closeness, and so for anyone to feel lonely when that’s missing. People cherish love and affection. People need emotional connection. The lack of these things in today’s society is going to affect how many people feel loneliness. So to talk about why and when we aren’t feeling those connections is perfectly okay. Because no-one is exempt from feeling lonely at times.

Millions of us are experiencing feelings of loneliness. People are struggling with their emotional and mental wellbeing. Many of us feel lonely from time to time. And whether we’re single or not, it’s more important than ever to talk about loneliness and support one another in those feelings.

Single and feeling lonely? I feel you

If you’re battling loneliness, I feel you on every level. So do millions of other people, single or otherwise. Whether you’re happily single and have no intention of that changing. Aren’t dating at all right now. Or you are looking out for someone special. Whether you’re feeling a little alone from your single situation, or because the people around you don’t understand your relationship status, or just because you’re feeling a bit disconnected from your loved ones. No matter your situation, or why you’re feeling lonely, if you are experiencing loneliness, you are not alone in feeling this way sometimes.

There is love all around you

Emotional and mental connections are so important to our wellbeing. They may not look like the way I imagined, but they are there. It’s in the message from a family member checking in to see I am. A friend calling for a catch up. The FB tag when someone saw a post and thought of me. It’s in the conversations I have every single day with colleagues, virtual or otherwise. A stranger who smiles and says, “Hello,” to me as I pass them by. Someone reaching out and asking for my help, or supporting me when I need it from them.

Love is universal and it surrounds us every single day. In those times of loneliness, hold on to that love. Because we are surrounded by people who love, cherish and care for us. Love is tangible in so many different ways. And this is what I try and remind myself of when I’m feeling a little alone.

By Amy Roullier
By Amy Roullier

Amy is the Founder and Editor of The Authentic Optimist. She talks all things life. From the highs to the lows, to all those messy bits in-between. She is a writer, rambler, lover of carbs (her true soulmate) and she is especially passionate about dispelling myths about women in their 30s. Amy lives in Lincolnshire with her two greyhounds.

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