Friday, December 26, 2008

Lonliness Ends

Someone on a message board threatened to commit suicide because he was so alone. I wrote a response to him and got a lot of positive email about it. I really just tried to write what I wish someone had said to me back when I was 22, single and convinced I would be alone forever. As it turned out, the suicidal guy requested that the posts be removed, so the moderator deleted them. That's fine. I hope he's getting the help he needs.

In case it helps someone else, here's what I wrote:

I was alone for decades, and I learned something really important. I'm not going to tell you "you can be happy alone." I think some people can and some people can't. I feel in my bones that I'm meant to be coupled. That's just who I am. And (too bad for me) I don't couple easily. I'm not one of those people who is happy being with just about anyone. So I NEED to be coupled and I'm also INCREDIBLY PICKY about who I'm coupled with (added to which, women have never been lined up around the block).

So what have I learned? I've learned that though loneliness is agonizing, being in a good relationship IS WORTH WAITING FOR NO MATTER HOW LONG YOU HAVE TO WAIT. I'm so glad I didn't do something stupid when I was in my twenties and miserable. And I might have, even if a fortune teller had convinced me I'd be happily married in my 40s. Back then, I might have said, "Fuck that. I want to be in a relationship NOW!"

If -- God forbid -- my marriage ended and I found myself alone again. And if I didn't find anyone else to be with until I was 70, I know now it would STILL be worth it. Love at 70 is still LOVE. In other words, if that fortune teller came to me now and said, "Sorry, your marriage will end in two months and you won't find another partner for thirty years," I would wait out the 30 years. They would be worth enduring. Not that I'd just endure them. I'd thrive as best as I could. But my point is that love doesn't have to happen NOW to be worth waiting for.

So while you're alone, work on yourself. Become an interesting person. Become a kind person. You WILL find a companion. The odds are in your favor, even if you're ugly, even if you're not super-confident. The odds may not favor you finding someone tomorrow. The odds may favor you finding someone in five years, ten years, fifteen years or whenever. But it will happen. And when it does, it will be sweet.

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