Loneliness: It’s not for the faint of heart

Hello everyone:

A unexpectedly unmarried friend of mine told me when she feels the loneliest. It is not when she is by herself at a sporting event for her son or even at a graduation when he moves on to his next level at school. Nope, her time of feeling the most alone (and somewhat jealous) is when she sees happily married elderly couples sitting at the mall, drinking coffee together.

The mall has a variety of folks, but the ones that make her feel the most isolated are those old folks who have been married since dirt was created and who still find joy in each other’s presence. She watches their shared smiles, their joyous laughter, their private jokes, and their obvious love and devotion and she feels alone in the world. She has a large circle of friends who adore her, a job that she excels in, and a loving family who cherishes her, ┬ábut she is still one of the no-longer-marrieds.

What does one do in these circumstances? She tries not to look at them too much, without seeming rude. She glances at the folks who stop by to visit with them, the other “tragically unmarried,” to quote a Doc Martin character. How do you handle this isolation? I would love to hear your tips for avoiding those “all alone” and “totally isolated” feelings. Please do share your thoughts; perhaps we can help alleviate some of that accompanying pain by sharing ideas with one another.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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