It is incredible that happy people always seem to be hiding something jaded under their smiles. Just when I started to get a tad jealous of people in relationships, I remembered some of the issues I once had way back when I was addicted to dating.
One of my closest lady friends has been dating a guy for almost a year now and the haunting words of “when he’s not around I wish I were single” seem to spew from her confused lips more often than “I love him.” Whether the relationship is in close quarters or long distance, as this particular one is, loneliness can arise even when we feel like there is no reason for it.
Mark Evans, Ph.D. of the University of Oregon explained in a journal about Self Help Information, “Some of us may have internalized the false view that to be happy is to be surrounded by others at all times, regardless of how we may feel in their company.”
Society forces us to believe that in order to be perfectly happy we should be in love and once we have that person there can be problems but ultimately having them is the true reward. These expectations that we can build, that my friend most definitely has, can cause a downward spiral of disappointment when they are not met.
It is unfortunate that my dear friend is surrounded by single friends who have incredible stories about one-night escapades, mini crushes that last a week, and a list of phone numbers to run to whenever lonely.
Her friends are running around acting like young fools enjoying life and she is waiting at home for her boyfriend to call and say goodnight from two hours away. Nobody wants to hear about what kind of flowers she got or how their families are meeting; in a sense her groups of girlfriends believe relationships to be overrated, but she feels completely opposite.
A fear of being alone is another concept I feel as though my friend may be experiencing, and her boyfriend could simply be functioning as an extremely attractive and kind safety net.
Dr. Evans discussed this topic by saying, “Growing up in a society that promotes a dependence upon, or even an addiction to external things for a sense of well being – food, clothes, drugs, other people – leaves many of us floundering when left all to ourselves.”
My temporary issues with loneliness are answered with having some insane nights that probably should not have happened let alone be discussed, and I believe my friend finds it to be a void that needed to be filled before it was “too late” – also known as the end of her college career, which is quickly approaching.
In this particular case where my friend is in confusion and I am constantly glancing at her with a knowing eye from my own experiences, I hope she finds the inner confidence to realize not every relationship is perfect and expectations often lead to disappointment.
The lesson I feel she should learn, as well as anyone else going through this instance, is that self love may be the key to experiencing love from others that we can take and hold onto without preconceived notions of how it should be.
Giavanna Ippolito can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.