People like to be with people who like to be alone. love to be
Source: image by mohamed-hassan/pixabay
Mental health requires individuals to be comfortable with themselves and generally found in good company. They seek the company of others as a way to be close to another as an extension of the closeness or intimacy they have with themselves. They invite others into their personal intimacy.
People with symptoms of personality disorders frequently report that they hate being alone. Some equate being alone with rejection or abandonment by others. They feel isolated and empty when alone.
People with borderline personality disorder often experience this along with feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing. People with symptoms of dependent personality disorder experience fear when they are alone because they feel unable to take care of themselves. People with symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder seek attention and adoration from others to reaffirm their worth and attractiveness.
Seeking relationships in order to avoid being alone is an act of desperation. The goal is to get others to keep you company at all costs. Some people use sex to keep others around. Others use silver. Some intimidate others into being with them through threats or intimidation. None of these methods will produce intimacy.
These patterns and methods of approaching relationships will alienate healthy people and can instead lead to unhealthy relationships with other unhealthy people. These are relationships based on barter: companionship is offered in exchange for validation or dependence or convenience. This is a business transaction, not a passionate act of intimacy.
Marie and Hari
Mary hated being alone for as long as she could remember. She would accept anything anyone wanted to do as long as they included her. She watched movies she wasn’t interested in and even watched sports with her brother and friends just to avoid being alone.
When she was alone, she felt empty. She felt like no one cared where she was or what she was doing. She felt rejected, cast aside by society and unlovable. She hated feeling like this.
Mary had many relationships with different lovers. She always said yes to anything asked of her, no matter how she felt. Her lovers loved it at first, but ended up taking her for granted and exploiting her.
Her most recent relationship was with someone she met at a yoga class. She noticed that one of the students kept staring at her. She liked the attention but didn’t know why Hari was interested in her. She was thrilled when Hari approached her after class to share carrot juice.
One thing leading to another, Mary and Hari became lovers. The first two weeks after they met were full of passion and excitement. Mary was happy to go along with anything Hari wanted as long as she could stick around. After two weeks, Hari initiated the following conversation.
Hari: Mary, would you mind if we didn’t spend tonight together?
Married: No… oh… that would be nice. I guess I’ll grab my things and go home.
Hari: Awesome! I’ll talk to you soon.
Mary was shocked. She felt completely left out. When she returned home, that terrible feeling of isolation and emptiness returned. She went down the rabbit hole; she cursed herself for being unattractive and unable to maintain a relationship. She wanted to ask Hari why she was rejected, but she was also angry. She thought about dating someone else.
Hari called the next day. Mary was excited to get back together with Hari. She would do whatever she had to do to keep Hari happy so she wouldn’t be abandoned again. They had the following conversation.
Hari: How are you?
Married: Better now that you called.
Hari: What do you mean?
Married: I hate being alone.
Hari: Is that why you’re with me?
Married: No. I really like you. But I hate being alone.
Hari: Hey… I have to tell you, I’m not looking for a relationship.
Married: But I love you!
Hari: I was just trying to have a good time. I think we need to slow things down a bit.
Married: I will be with you whenever you want me.
In the transaction above, Mary gave Hari full control over the relationship in order to sometimes get attention, all on Hari’s terms. Hari is then put in a position to be able to manipulate Mary. It’s not love. It’s not privacy. It is mutual manipulation.
Mary will become resentful of the power she ceded to Hari. Hari will lose respect for Mary due to submission.
If Mary is able to tolerate and hopefully eventually enjoy being alone, maybe she can tell Hari, “Tell me when you want to see me and I’ll see if I’m available.”
This will force Hari to make a move that shows Mary’s desire and the value of the relationship with her. It is only by achieving the comfort of being alone that Mary can enable others to want to to be with her and not to choose to be with her because of goods or services she might provide.
Finding comfort and pleasure in being alone comes naturally to healthy individuals. For those where it does not come naturally, healing and growth are needed. It requires a vigorous and honest inventory of self and a systematic acceptance of all aspects of self that cannot be changed, while changing those that increase self-desire. This process can be difficult and sometimes painful. Engagement with a competent psychotherapist will be very helpful. Successful achievement of this goal will prepare you to experience passionate intimacy with others while feeling content and secure when you are not.