Are you lonely? Have you recently moved to a new city? Do you feel as though you don’t have a network of close friends to whom you can relate? Are you unemployed or working less? Are children, for the most part, the only company you keep? Are you surrounded by noise, activity, and people, yet still feel lonely? It is not uncommon for both single and married women to experience some form of loneliness.
Generally, there are two forms of loneliness--social and emotional. When a married woman describes herself as lonely, usually she is either not experiencing an emotional connection with her partner, or she is depending so much on her partner to fulfill her social needs that she is not reaching out to others.
Social loneliness occurs when a person experiences a lack of social network. Everyone needs people, and women especially need to have a social structure in place in order to feel a sense of connection and belonging. The reasons that some women have less active social lives than others can vary. For instance, some women may be shy or new to an area, work long hours or care for children alone. Regardless, it is still important to work on developing or rebuilding a social network. Most women who have an active social life rarely suffer from social loneliness.
Emotional loneliness is a different form of loneliness that many women feel even when they have an active social life. This feeling can occur when there is an absence of a close emotional connection or a lack of depth in relationships. The superficial acquaintances that can happen when a woman begins to build her social network will not fulfill her deep need to bond and connect. Emotional loneliness is the reason women can be surrounded by people, be invited to every party, have over a thousand friends on Facebook, yet still feel lonely. For many, deep close relationships are much harder to build than a social network of “friends.” However, it is so important to find “your people.” This type of relationship, where you can express exactly who you are, is the way in which you discover aspects of yourself, others, and the world. The sense of belonging is one of our greatest needs. Therefore, without true connections to others, a void will begin to surface.
It makes sense that so many women encounter loneliness in their lives. Developing close relationships can be very scary. It takes a level of vulnerability, self-disclosure, and risk of rejection to truly connect to another individual. This type of exposure is too hard for some people, so they avoid it. In order to find the right chemistry with another person, we need to put ourselves out there and meet many people. This takes a lot of effort, and it doesn’t happen overnight. For women, making connections also means looking at other women as allies, rather than as enemies. This can be difficult for some women, due to an innate, competitive nature, particularly when it comes to the same gender. It is so important for women to work on their own insecurities if they want to cure their loneliness and build close relationships in their lives.
Whatever your situation, loneliness can be truly debilitating. When we feel cut off from human connection, we can feel depressed, crazy, and scared. The truth is, we need each other, desperately.
Is there something preventing you from exploring various forms of interaction and companionship? Do you feel stuck? Do you need help breaking out of the mundane? Do you need to build confidence to break into already formed social groups? If you are ready to change your life, create new adventures, and build your network, I can help you get started! Contact me today to schedule an appointment in my Longmont or Boulder, CO office.