I read an article recently and it addressed the concept of loneliness as a man. At least, one part of it did.
It struck home. The simple fact is, and I say this without blame, accusation, etc., but most of my marriage was the loneliest time of my life. For years prior, I lived alone. To this day, after, I live alone except when my children were here. But I wasn’t lonely during those periods in time.
Loneliness as a man
I learned that being alone as a man and loneliness as a man are not the same things.
To be clear, I enjoy camping alone. I loved traipsing around Europe…alone. As much as I enjoy my children and like doing things with them, I enjoy solitary activities like reading, gardening, cutting grass.
These are not lonely, they are solitary activities and that time is important to me.
But when I was married, it was something … deeper. Something I still to this day don’t understand. I had somebody to eat dinner with, sleep with, confide in, talk to, watch movies with, share things with and yet I’ve never felt more alone in my life, despite the physical proximity.
It is a critical question, and loneliness in men is an epidemic. Heck, Psychology Today said so.
Healthy and Unhealthy
There are ways to deal with loneliness and not all of them are healthy. That said, I don’t feel particularly lonely these days. I spend a lot of time with my children and I have a wonderful girlfriend. When she talks about marriage I think of my previous marriage – likely unfair. But I recall how I felt during most of it and it worries me.
I teach all day and am with kids, so it suits me to come home to an empty house. I’ve pushed away many of the marriage-associated relationships, and that suits me, even if it might not be healthy.
When it hits me is when I think of money issues – I am a teacher with child support payments to make. I think about the unfairness of some aspects of child support. The need for a part-time job even though I have a master’s degree. It can get to you.
It certainly makes it more difficult to cope, no?
I have no answers and I have no real solutions, only the knowledge that it is a real struggle. A very real struggle. One men much watch out for.