On one level, my life is pretty great.. I have a good job in a career I'm happy with, am financially secure, healthy, have a solid group of friends, hobbies and the means/time to pursue them, etc. On another level.. I feel so desperately lonely, and am having a really hard time getting past that feeling.
When I was younger I seemed to care a lot less about this. I just figured it would take care of itself.. I was always on the shy and introverted side, though not cripplingly so, and was relatively happy to focus on academic and then eventually professional success. I worked hard at that, along with pouring time into several hobbies that consumed me. For years my love life was pretty much non-existent, but I didn't feel too bad about it. I guess I was following the "live a full life and love will find you" mantra. And it did, sort of. I eventually felt I needed to work a little less hard, met someone I fell in love with, got into my first long term relationship and was deliriously happy for a few years. Then the relationship petered out, probably in no small part due to my own lack of experience, self-awareness, emotional development, what-have-you (hindsight being 20/20 and all that). It's closing in on 2 years since that ended. I've been in therapy, started dating again, feel like I've grown tremendously in terms of understanding myself, and how to be in relationships, put my heart out again and had it beaten up a bit, etc. And now.. I'm lonely. A lot. Really lonely.
Ironically I'm starting to think that it's almost more a problem that everything else in my life is so good.. it just makes this particular outage all the more painful and noticeable. It's not like I'm struggling to feel successful professionally, or battling financial/health issues. I can't seem to stop feeling like I have this great life and that all I'm missing is someone to share it with.. and sometimes I even feel guilty for feeling this way, since I have so much to be grateful for. But those very things I ought to be grateful for are fading to gray, like I can't really get excited about them because they just seem like rather meaningless ways to while away time when what I really want is to be building a deep and satisfying romantic relationship with someone. How terrible is that? Like I'm hanging out with friends, and it's so hard to just enjoy their company without feeling sad watching the couples interact, or feeling like "what am I doing here not meeting new people".
I just feel like I've been alone for so long. I hear the advice to "stop looking for love, just live life and it'll find you" and I think "well that didn't work so well for most of my life". And now I'm closing in on the late 30's, and I feel like I've succeeded at everything except the thing that really matters. Ugh.
I've read this
, and think there's some stuff there for me, but I also feel like I'm asking something slightly different..?
How do I stop letting my singleness and loneliness define me? How do I stop looking at every decision and action in terms of "how will this help me find someone?"