You tell your friend how you just broke off your relationship and she laments at just how lonely you’re going to be. You’re moving to a new area, don’t know a soul yet and your parents are nervous because you’re going to be so lonely. You’re single and enjoying life but people still worry that you’ll be forever lonely. Society equates being alone with being lonely. No matter which way you swing it, the word lonely has a negative connotation associated with it. It describes feelings of emptiness, unsteadiness, anxiety, isolation, and sadness.
I remember going to see a therapist when I was contemplating a divorce and within a few weeks, I proudly came in to tell her that I had finally made a decision and filed for a divorce. Her response to me was, “But who will you go to dinner with? You’ll be so lonely.” Whomp, whomp, whomp. At first, I couldn’t help but be irate that this woman, whom I was trusting with my emotions, proved to be so emotionally unstable herself. After all the inner turmoil I put myself through, that was her reply to me? How dare she! After the initial shock of her reaction wore off, I actually couldn’t help but feel sorry for this woman (and all her other clients honestly). She believed a person should stay in a marriage so that they had company, someone to eat with? It occurred to me that this must have been a big reason why she was in her own marriage, along with many other people who probably felt the same. I realized alone and lonely were too closely associated with each other.