I feel lonely… 39

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There is no other way to say it, so I might as well come out with it. I feel lonely.

I’m lonely and I’m tired of feeling this way. I’ve been alone for quite a few years now and while I was happy for some time, over the past six months something has changed and I’m not coping the way I used to.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or because I’m just reaching a new phase in my life, but I think something needs to change.

I’ve been divorced for 17 years now and my children, a boy and a girl, are both grown and have left home for good.

They are both in relationships and live in different cities with their partners — my son is in Perth, my daughter is in Brisbane and I’m in Wollongong.

Like all young adults, they have their own lives and don’t call me as much as they used to. While we still talk once or twice a week, I miss their constant companionship and being able to pop in for a coffee or catch up on the weekend for a family dinner.

Nowadays, I find myself waking up at midnight on the couch where I fell asleep after eating a dodgy dinner of beans and toast and watching terrible TV shows.

Although I have a busy life, it feels empty a lot of the time. I have plenty of friends and a great work environment, but when I come home at night and there’s no one to talk to (except the dog); I feel fundamentally alone.

A huge part of me wants to move closer to my kids, but with that comes the difficult choice of deciding which one to live closer to. How does a mother pick between her own children?

Plus, it would also mean leaving my friends and my job, which to be honest is a scary thought. I’m not sure I’m ready to start over somewhere else — especially at my age.

What should I do?

I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who feels like this… If I am, well geeze, I should really stop complaining!

I’m wondering if other people feel the same way. Lonely, yet conflicted about feeling lonely because really I have nothing to complain about!

I have friends, a great family and a wonderful job. I just can’t shake the feeling though.

I’ve only been in one relationship since my marriage broke up and that ended years ago. I’m not looking to fall in love with anyone else, but maybe that’s what I’m missing… Someone to talk to and debrief on the day with.

Then again, if I did have a special someone in my life, I’m sure they’d drive me nuts and I’d be kicking them out the door before they knew what was going on.

I’ve grown so accustomed to my ways over the years that the thought of someone else actually living in my house with me is abhorrent.

At the end of the day, something has to change. I don’t want to live the rest of my life wanting for something. I don’t want to feel alone every night when I walk through to the door.

I’m just not sure what that change needs to be.

Does anyone out there have any advice?

Do you have any words of advice for this writer? Have you ever felt the same way?

Guest Contributor

  1. Hi – Im almost 72 and live in UK- my entire family including new Grandson live in AUstralia. I have been divorced for 40 years and never remarried nor had a live in relationship since. Lonely? Get a grip Mrs your life is your responsibility, youre making your decisions whether you think so or not.
    You have a an income, you have close long term friends, youre familiar with where you live, your children are at least on same bit of terra firma- stop feeling sorry for yourself youre so rich in so many ways yet not seeing it. Smile, smile smile, its the first step to feeling better and just do something you wouldnt think you could- rent out your house, buy a ticket somewhere get out of that safe rut and challenge yourself- life is for living, not waiting for some unlikely romance to walk into you- and when you excercise some personal responsibility and ‘get a life’ you’re sure to find someone who does want to share some of your life, and if it doesnt well it doesnt matter, youre LIVING your life!

  2. You dont know how lucky you are,you have friends,work everything as the other chap said get a life, i know you wouldnt want my life. I have to live with my son now (i miss my pricacy)i love my son dearly & he wants to look after me which i do appriciate but he doesnt understand my illness. I have severe fibromyalgia severe depression & anxiety, i cant work, i have no friends, i cant go out etc you should be happy with your life and your better off with out a man in you life,i know i am and alot of women feel that way these day.go visit the children and stay a week or 2 travel with your friends, you dont know how lucky you are love,

  3. You know you’re fortunate in many ways so I’m not going to beat you up telling you that.

    The one thing I can suggest is doing some voluntary work in some areas you are interested in. I know , I know, it sounds corny but it can help. Not sure if you work full time or not but even half a day on the weekend can help.

    Hope you dont feel so hopeless soon

  4. I agree with SR. I am going through the extreme loneliness you are feeling as well. I retired a year ago. At first, it was great, visiting friends, getting a new puppy, exercising, nesting in my house which I did not have time to do before. I do not have any sage advice because I am going through the same thing. I empathize with you and know that the others are trying to be helpful and do not realize that those comments are not that at this time. Feelings cannot be erased with logic.

    3 REPLY
    • As a retired teacher and mother of two grown children, who understands your feelings, I would tell you to reach out to a local school or childcare facility that could use your love and kindness to help some of the children who need an involved caring adult in their life. When you step outside yourself and see all of those around you who need your love and support you will fill full and complete by opening your heart to others.

      1 REPLY
      • Not everyone can find the balance over 60. It is not what you have or don’t have. I had to move another country – following my husband’s job. So I sold my business in AU, and am force-retired in a less developed country, where I need to learn my 6th language, as they don’t speak English or any other foreign language. I find my learning motivation is much less at my age, and my degrees and experience. Also, isolation can come many way to even young people. The question is, how you react to it at your age. We cant find a more mature person advising us. We suppose to advise the younger ones! And volunteering is not everyone’s answer. Maybe using your creativity. Or finding another person, who struggles with mature loneliness and can share and brainstorm finding a tailored solution. I would love to chat with you.

    • Yes they can! You only have to be willing to listen!

    • Good reply – a lot shorter than mine. Logic has nothing to do with this and that’s really hard for our earlier selves or our friends and family to understand.

  5. I am married and still lonely. I have just retired from a very exciting career in mining/construction, kids and grandies all grown. I busy myself with various activities but most of all I travel, alone of course. Put you backpack on and explore the world girl while you can. Happy travelling …ooh and stop snivelling.

    1 REPLY
    • Ditto Julie.
      After a separation after 42yrs together, I continued to work in my business. BUT I needed something. I did what you suggested Julie ………… I put on the backpack (I was almost 60) and took off for months of budget travelling ALONE

  6. Sorry to hear how you are feeling. I feel much the same, it’s hard coming to terms with being alone. I have found laughter yoga a wonderful help laughter truly is the best medicine. Check it out bound to be a club near you. The people are lovely and your mood will improve substantially. Give it a go you will be amazed how good you feel. I also agree with other helping people is a great idea really makes you realise how fortunate you are. Finally don’t beat yourself up about how you feel put do something special for yourself everyday. Go away with friends doing something completely different to what you normally do example fishing, walking tours etc. Take care of yourself

  7. Start a hobby that you only do at night to give yourself something to look forward to each evening. Try genealogy, patchwork, scrapbooking, knitting, sewing, even writing shoirt stories for children. You could also find someone in a similar position and phone them each night for half an hour, it is amazing how you feel after a chat.

  8. Yes, I feel it too. Similar circumstances too. You must learn to make yourself happy. If you can’t, get some help, to rule out anything medical, like depression.
    It is up to us now, it is our life. You must actively go looking for it. Go find what makes you happy, because it’s different for everyone, but you must go…you already have all the aspects of a happy life. Best of luck.

  9. Get involved in volunteer work – you need to get out and do for others take your mind of yourself -!! also a site called stitch.net which is a social group it;s all over assie and you can start your own group Good luck !!

  10. I have been divorced for 6 yrs. Have good friends and close ties to family and grandkids. Also have joined sing Australia and probus, do craft and knit. It appears I have a full and interesting life but there are times when I am lonely. I understand where you are coming from and I don’t think there is a quick fix. If you do find one please let me know. I think what we both need is someone to talk the day over with and that doesn’t necessarily mean a male.

  11. One word girlfriend. Menopause. Shame on those of you saying get a life etc. this lady works, so volunteering? I’d go to the doctors and check yourself out to make sure that all is clinically well. I too live away from my kids and I miss them madly, our eldest has lived in the USA for the past 10 years, she has 4 children, we’ve only seen them a handful of times, but we chat almost daily via messenger and FaceTime. Lucky for me they’re moving back home this Christmas so my prayers have finally been answered, but as one of my friends said, ‘careful what you wish for’……lol I live with my husband, but am also still lonely, there’s crap on TV, but I have a hobby, well more like an obsession with craft. So I hand embroider most nights or crochet, knit, always doing something with my hands.
    Have you ever thought about fostering? A good way to have people around and you’re helping others. Anyway, don’t take to heart any of the nastiness on here, if you’re feeling fragile it’s the last thing in the world you need to be told to ‘get a life’ or ‘pull your socks up’. Hugs to you, get to a doctor to rule out anything medical. You could perhaps start a night class in something that interests you, a book club, go to gym class or fitness class of some sort, then you’re meeting like minded people that you could maybe meet up for coffee with or go out with during the week. Another thing, have you actually spoken to any of your friends about this? They may think all is okay with you, you need to tell your best friends that you’re not. Hope you find some help X Sue

    1 REPLY
    • That is great advice Sue. Friends can be so helpful especially if they know you are struggling. 🙂

  12. Hi…dont think it’s a good idea to move closer to family for various reasons…they will still be living their own lives, they may decide to move again, it’s not easy to get a new job, not as easy to make new friends, and you will still be lonely at night…which is the main issue.
    Do you have an iPad ….there is so much you can do on it. I keep in touch with family and friends (instead of 2 hourly conversations if we call each other) through Facebook ( I don’t add anyone I don’t know) and there are many interesting sites on any topic that interests you.
    You can learn a language, do your family tree, learn a new craft, etc ..or you can join your local CAE to do any of these and more.
    Maybe start planning a holiday with friends….the research and planning can keep you busy.
    What about taking in a female student boarder….someone to share dinner with and have a chat …then they are likely to leave you alone while they study or go out….but it’s comforting to know there is someone else in the house. Do it for a short term to see how it goes.
    Hope you find the answer. Good luck!

    2 REPLY
    • I know EXACTLY what you are feeling. I’ve made similar posts for the last decade and received a plethora of similar replies. Go to church. Volunteer. Join a club. Get a hobby, plan for holidays, entertain and you’ll be invited back, go back to work, get a health checkup, exercise, do Yoga, get a pet, get a housemate, etc., etc. So 99% of the responses you will get are well meaning and offer wonderful and helpful, but most simply don’t understand the feeling we are trying to express because it has never happened to them. That’s not mean to be critical of those trying to help – it took a while for me to understand that I have been in their shoes and could never have understood this feeling before it happened to me. I don’t have any advice, but I can validate what you are feeling. The good news is that I don’t think it happens to all who find themselves growing older alone. The bad news is that if it happens to you, you will understand that all of the above doesn’t help. Please know that I am deeply grateful for wonderful family and friends, for fairly good health and having all my faculties at 75; and for deriving pleasure and profit from my purposeful work, volunteer or paid. But it’s not enough, and I feel badly about that because I have so much for which to feel grateful. If I knew how to make loneliness disappear forever I would act on it and shout it to the world so that those who do feel alone with severity might hear and be healed. I can share this: it’s an emotion that’s been validated the world over so it’s sort of ironic that we are part of such a large group who can’t find each other. I no longer look for a significant other; or to friends or family for understanding because it makes them feel they aren’t doing enough – or worse, they give up and in various well meaning forms say “get over it.” Strangely enough, I think that is the answer. We each just have to do what we can to get over it or learn what to feed the beast that makes it sleep for long periods. Fodder for my own beast is filling my days with the things I most like doing; the things and people who bring me the most happiness and contentment, and withholding from it the things that give it power over my soul. I understand that I am solely responsible for my choices and how they make me feel each day – and that helps because it frees me from searching and hoping for someone else to kill the beast (which I did for a long time). What I’ve learned is that we all get to play the hand we are dealt – and that’e eminently superior to not getting to play at all.

    • Hi Lorraine I have read through all responses and find yours refreshing and positive, I hope a lot of people out there read your post and get the benefits from your suggestions, this is the first time I have responded to these chats. Stay positive

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