What is Loneliness?
Loneliness is a sad and unhappy emotional state due feeling socially isolated.
Most people think loneliness is the same as being alone and the two terms are used interchangeably. Being lonely is an emotional state vs. being alone is a state of solitude not an emotional state.
Tis the Season for Online Dating?
The holiday season is also a busy period for online dating sites such as match.com and eharmony.
Have you ever made it a New Year’s resolution to find love or are you looking for love because of feelings of holiday related loneliness? I’ll be discussing how loneliness can lead to unhealthy relationship decisions and I’ll also be discussing how to cope with feelings of loneliness.
If you are experiencing loneliness, along with anxiety and depression I recommend that you download my anxiety expert guide.
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What is Online Dating?
Online dating enables people to meet each other through an internet based connection, with the goal of developing personal, romantic or sexual relationships.
It’s estimated that 40% of adults now meet each other online.
Online dating has many advantages.
Ease of Access: The number of potential partners increases with online dating. Especially if you’re a busy person or a single parent that has trouble finding them in your daily life.
The number of choices available can be overwhelming and confusing. Online dating has the paradox of choice that can feel like car shopping when you feel stuck endlessly shopping, rather than starting a satisfying relationship.
Matching: Many online dating sites offer you a personality test that can determine your match. Such matching can help users become paired up with dating partners who may be compatible. It’s possible to specify who you’d like to be matched up with by selecting specific information such as demographics, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicities, certain ages and lifestyles.
The results of the personality test are not always accurate and matching is usually a difficult process. The person you’re match up with may present themselves differently in person than they do in their profile. Matching has the potential to overlook potentially good partners. There’s also the issue with geographic barriers; someone you’re matched up with may be located long distance.
Communication: Online dating offers a number of ways to get to know a potential date before meeting in person. This allows for the safe and convenient interaction without the risk of the time commitment.
When you’re communicating with someone through a computer there is a lot of information about that person that is lacking. It’s harder to evaluate a potential partner online vs. face-to-face interaction.
Being in a Relationship to Avoid Being Lonely? Red Flags To Be Aware of?
There are some singles that want to enter a relationship or stay in one out of loneliness regardless of unhealthy it is.
Feelings of inadequacy can also be caused by holiday related cliches related to gift giving and kissing under the mistletoe. In the spirit of all of these cliches there’s that assumption that if you’re alone this time of year that your life is lacking.
Loneliness can have a negative effect on your relationship choices and there are many red flags you need to check yourself for.
Red Flags include:
- Compromising what you will and will not put up with in a relationship.
- Making excuses for yourself for why you’re staying with the person you’re with.
- Ignoring the advice or input from friends and family regarding your relationship.
- You may have a sixth sense that’s telling you that the relationship is unhealthy, but you ignore it out of the fear of being alone.
Being lonely can make you vulnerable to some of the more dangerous aspects of online dating.
People can lie on their online dating profiles: It’s estimated that a little more than 50% of online daters have lied on their profiles. Common lies include age, height, weight, income, photos and Job Type/Title.
Many people like to wear masks that project an imagined or ideal version of themselves and this is why you never know who a person truly is like until sometime later. Sometimes they try to hide dysfunctional aspects of their personalities.
Catphishing: Lying on an online profile can be taken a step further with catphishing. This is a kind of deception where a person creates a presence in social networks as a fictional online persona for the purpose of luring someone into a romantic relationship in order to get money, gifts and attention.
It’s important to aware of some of the negative patterns that can occur if you’re looking for a relationship if you’re feeling lonely.
How to Handle Loneliness in a Healthy Way?
Loneliness is an emotion we will all experience from time-to-time. It’s important to cope with it in a healthy way so it doesn’t interfere with our lives in an unhealthy way.
There are many positive ways to cope with loneliness including:
- Get Intimate and Talk About How You Feel: I’m referring to building up the positive relationships you already have with family and friends. The fear of being vulnerable can make you more prone to loneliness. Talk about how you feel with someone instead of holding it in. For the guys reading this post this pertains to you too. It’s not a sign of weakness to admit that you are in a negative emotional state.
- Find Community: Finding a community of like minded people helps you stay busy. Remember that loneliness can lead us to unintentionally isolate ourselves out of self pity and gives us more time to focus on negative thoughts. A great place to start in your search for your community of like minded people is through websites such as meetup.com.
- Practice self-care and Reduce Your Social Media Usage: This is important. Feeling lonely can cause us to turn to unhealthy habits such overeating, not getting enough sleep and drinking too much alcohol. It’s also important to be aware that you’re at risk of attracting toxic people into your life, so try to focus on meeting more positive people. I mention this a lot in this blog. Social media can make a lonely person feel more lonely and reducing your social media usage can help you a lot.
- Volunteer: Volunteering your time is not only for a good cause, but it also has the additional benefit of keeping your mind occupied. There was one Christmas when I was in college and I volunteered at a food pantry and you can stay just as busy as you would at a paying job. Volunteering is a positive activity that can you feel positive.
- Have a Response for Intrusive Questions: Have you ever been in situations such as parties or family functions and you’re bombarded with irritating and intrusive questions about your love life that trigger feelings of inadequacy that go along with social anxiety? It helps to either change the subject or walk away completely, or if the person talking to you continues to be intrusive come up with a good comeback. Good comebacks include, “It’s none of your business” or “Take a good look at yourself”. Also, when you’re coming up with these comebacks it’s important to be aware of your body language and the level of assertiveness you project, because if you say something with confidence it’s showing that you mean business.
You are who you attract. Learning how to cope with loneliness in a healthy way can have a positive affect on your relationship choices. If you’re in a positive and healthy mindset you’ll attract someone who also has a positive and healthy mindset. Also, the same law of attraction applies to negative people, so owning up to your feelings of inadequacy can go a long way.
How do you cope with holiday related loneliness?
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