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Old 02-11-2012, 06:23 AM
 
545 posts, read 343,996 times
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I was married for 33 years when my husband left me for a friend. I've now been alone for close to 9 years. I never expected this....never lived on my own before...was married at 19.

I never had a problem being alone for hours before, but now I am alone almost all the time. I have health issues that make it difficult for me to get out and do much. I invite people over, I call, I write, I try to be a good friend. I try to be upbeat when with people...my closest friends know how difficult things are, however, as I experience a lot of physical pain and fatigue.

Sometimes I feel like I will die from loneliness. I was always a very loving, affectionate person. Now there's no one to hug, to hold, to touch in any way at all except for my little dog. I do exchange hugs with friends when I get the chance!

I have no family nearby and my sons are very busy with their lives/families so I seldom hear from them.

Because of my health I can't really volunteer.

Does anyone else have this issue? How do you deal with it?
Thank you.
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:38 AM
 
Location: New England
12,282 posts, read 8,461,975 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artangel View Post
I was married for 33 years when my husband left me for a friend. I've now been alone for close to 9 years. I never expected this....never lived on my own before...was married at 19.

I never had a problem being alone for hours before, but now I am alone almost all the time. I have health issues that make it difficult for me to get out and do much. I invite people over, I call, I write, I try to be a good friend. I try to be upbeat when with people...my closest friends know how difficult things are, however, as I experience a lot of physical pain and fatigue.

Sometimes I feel like I will die from loneliness. I was always a very loving, affectionate person. Now there's no one to hug, to hold, to touch in any way at all except for my little dog. I do exchange hugs with friends when I get the chance!

I have no family nearby and my sons are very busy with their lives/families so I seldom hear from them.

Because of my health I can't really volunteer.

Does anyone else have this issue? How do you deal with it?
Thank you.
This thing of our kids being "busy with their lives" I hear all the time. What is wrong with them??? When our generation's parents were alive, generally we were in touch and visited all the time. I know I did, and all my friends as well. In the previous generation, grandparents often lived with their families, creating an extended family under one roof. Elders aging alone was not so heard of.

A few years ago my kids were "too busy to be in touch." I'd call up and joke around with strong hints about being in touch (not wanting to lay a guilt trip). It helped for a while and then one got married and started a six-day business and another went out of the country, etc. I finally realized that I could not depend on them for the closeness I'd expected, and instead sought out friendships and actually (you'd have to know me to hardly believe this) joined a church that is not my original denomination. The loneliness factor drew me to it, and it does fill part of the gap.

To answer your question, yes loneliness and boredom are a factor in my life. I think it's a factor in a lot of older folks' lives, and we somehow have to make peace with it. Especially if we have health issues that isolate us. This is one of the reasons I'm always harping on a general need of elders to not live too isolated from others and to be close-in within a city or town to maximize opportunities to interact with others. Of course there are elders who could care less about interaction, but I imagine most of us want and need it.

I forget where you live--Florida? How close by are your sons? Do you have grandkids? How about a little talk with them about seeing them more often--are there ways that would make things easier for you to get together? Are there support groups to join? In my newspaper there is a list of various support groups. Perhaps you could start a small one of your own. We have to do whatever we can think of to stay connected as we age. I look forward to hearing other responses.
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:50 AM
 
570 posts, read 630,625 times
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Have you looked into online support groups, in addition to the great suggestions from NEG, above? I know online isn't the same as face-to-face contact, but you mentioned that your health often prevents you from getting out. Some contact, even online, may be better than none. Also, you said your sons are busy, but have you thought of Skyping with them? It's a free service, you get to be face-to-face, even if it's only on a screen, and should only take a few minutes out of their day.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Middle Tennessee
363 posts, read 200,615 times
Reputation: 672
Default Loneliness

Hi artangel, I can so relate to your feelings. While I am not in the same situation as you, I know what loneliness is like. Fortunately for me, I still do work part-time, and that is my contact with the outside world. I am my husband's caregiver and he sleeps most of the day. This computer is my link to a whole host of favorites, including this forum. I probably spend too much time on it, but it is my entertainment and education.

I agree with NEG's post about our kids being too busy with their lives, but I feel like if you have to ask for contact from your kids, it's not genuine. I know that is the situation with my son; I can't change him, so I just have to accept his "non-contact," much as it bothers me.

The Skype suggestion is a good one! I have made friends with a gal from Australia, and we have had some good conversations, and best of all, it's free!

While I don't know what your physical limitations are, or if this would work for you, let me tell you what I plan to do when I do retire. I saw a story about this on tv once and said to myself, "I can do that!" A woman took her dog to a grade school to help children read. She did it one day a week, for an hour or two, let her dog lie next to a child on the floor, while the child read to the dog! It was heartwarming, inspiring, and brought the kids out of their shells and improved their reading, all because of her dog! It was an amazing story and I'm sure something that would be needed in all schools. And I'll bet she got a LOT of hugs everytime she went. Something to think about, I guess.

I am glad we are all here for each other in this forum. Remember you always have us! If we lived nearby, I would come get you and take you out to lunch! I could use the company too.
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:15 AM
 
Location: New England
12,282 posts, read 8,461,975 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tngirl205 View Post
While I don't know what your physical limitations are, or if this would work for you, let me tell you what I plan to do when I do retire. I saw a story about this on tv once and said to myself, "I can do that!" A woman took her dog to a grade school to help children read. She did it one day a week, for an hour or two, let her dog lie next to a child on the floor, while the child read to the dog! It was heartwarming, inspiring, and brought the kids out of their shells and improved their reading, all because of her dog! It was an amazing story and I'm sure something that would be needed in all schools. And I'll bet she got a LOT of hugs everytime she went. Something to think about, I guess.
What a coincidence! I am the new co-chair of the Friends of my local library. Yesterday I took my dog to a meeting and was asked if she could be trained to be a reading dog. I laughed out loud, thinking it was the dog who would be trained to read but then found out it's read TO the dog lol. What a great idea. I wonder of my dog would like high-brow literature or trashy novels?
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:59 AM
 
Location: delaware
531 posts, read 370,587 times
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i think this is an issue for many people as they age , with marriages changing through death or divorce, friends moving away or in some cases dying, and children living at a distance and/or wrapped up in their own lives.
last year,when i taught a course for adults on women in their sixties redefining aging, this was a subject that we discussed quite a bit. people certainly handle it in different ways- some through travel, on-line groups, church groups, and other organizations( book clubs, senior center groups etc. ) of course there is no magic bullet and what works for a while may not work long-term. one of the conclusions of the group was the absolute need for people to be open to all possibilities for interaction and with a wide variety of ages. also,many voiced the need to change one's expectations about friendship ( not easy ), and to be open to many levels of friendship, not just those that would constitute a deep friendship. most of the people in the class felt that many seniors are looking for new connections but are clinging to older models of relationships with which they are more familiar - high school friends, work friends, parents of childrens' friends- and are not really those connections that may be possible now. some seniors in the class invited neighbors( asking each to invite another person ) for an open house to become acquainted, and to discuss interests they may have in a monthly lunch, game/bridge night, afternoon movie, etc. the people who lived in over 55 communities seemed to have a much easier time with friendships- superficial and otherwise- as social interaction is built in, but personally, this model would not be of interest to me.

i definitely feel it is extending yourself sometimes in some unlikely situations; of course if there are health issues, this is more difficult.


catsy girl

Last edited by catsy girl; 02-11-2012 at 11:01 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Central US
202 posts, read 223,417 times
Reputation: 365
I believe the key is to help other people. Find ways to help them even from your own home if you can't get out. Call people in need like yourself. What are your talents. Can you fix things? Can you sew? One of the causes of loneliness is focusing on oneself. You can "get out" by using your phone and your computer to help others. There are lots of possiblities. Think about other people. You can do it!
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:30 AM
 
313 posts, read 355,221 times
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I know that many towns have a program where volunteers call elderly people who have medical issues to make sure they are okay. This might be a great idea for you - you could do it from your home and I bet over time you would strike up some friendships with people you called who are also lonely.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:44 AM
 
Location: earth?
7,290 posts, read 5,208,952 times
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For me, loneliness is not just about mingling with random people, but having quality people I can relate to in my life - and those people being emotionally available - not just warm bodies . . . and that is a tall order, I think, because I don't think most people ARE emotionally available at all - a lot of people are satisfied with surface-y interactions - but that does nothing for me - and it makes me feel lonelier to be in the company of people I want to connect with but can't, because they are not emotionally available.

I think the suggestions to volunteer are good because that taps into something real - can't put my finger on it - but the few times I have done any kind of volunteer work - from working in a homeless shelter kitchen to just talking to old people in a nursing home - I had the feeling I was really connecting with people on a deep level.

The problem with volunteering in my area is that you have to commit to specifics - you can't just pop in whenever you feel like it - and I don't like commitments so much. But I am open to trying to figure that out.

When you stop working in the outside world (as I did last year), then all of that busyness goes away and you are faced with no distractions from your loneliness.

And I personally know that you can be lonely in a relationship, so a lot of the people we imagine aren't lonely because they have a spouse - well, they might be still feeling very lonely inside if they cannot connect with the person the way they want to . . .

I don't know what the "solution" for this problem is - but it has to be very individual - and in the end, we come into the world alone and we die alone - and no one can ever really know us because we can barely know ourselves - but it sure is nice when you experience the feeling of being connected to other human beings in meaningful ways.
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:31 PM
 
10,097 posts, read 14,264,698 times
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I have always felt lonely, including (especially) in my family of origin. When I left home at 18, I was very free and feminist and all, but deeply believed in lifelong companionship with a man (never wanted kids, didn't believe in marriage per se). I'm now almost 59, working full-time, living alone mostly since age 23, no long-term relationship worth mentioning. I enjoy some conversations at my job, but working third shift five nights a week has collapsed any other "getting out" things or activities, by and large. I think I miss a sense of community, but have never had it that I know of, and wonder if I am capable of it. I do appreciate on-line community, really, especially because words are so important to me. (Now, the hugging part, has never been a part of my life, and I suspect I miss what I've never had).
I can only imagine what it's like to have had a long marriage and then be alone (whether divorce or widowhood). In a way, I think divorce might be worse, if one didn't want it- a loss different than a loved companion dying. I don't know, but I hope OP knows that many of us experience loneliness regardless of the cause, and "WE all experience loneliness" is something of a contradiction. Best thoughts to OP.
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