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Being Alone And Managing Loneliness

(47 Posts)
Anniel Sat 06-Apr-19 13:44:44

Hello Everyone,

I am here asking for your experiences. In a weeks time I am going to give a talk on the above topiv to my local branch of Growing Old Disgracefully, an organisation I very much enjoy.

Being alone is not the same as loneliness as I realise there are many positives to being by yourself. Loneliness is different in that it is a negative in our lives and from what I read loneliness is not necessarily associated with the elderly as many young people working in big cities can be lonely too.

So I would like to know your opinions and experiences of being alone and how we can manage loneliness as we grow older. I have looked at Gransnet forums and found
The subject of loneliness has been raised before.

I am a widow as my dearest husband died 10 years ago and I miss him so much. I find tears come quickly when I hear music he liked and after 50 years of marriage I doubt I will ever overcome my grief at his loss. But I carry on and am never bored.

Enough about me. I would love to hear from all of you.

Thank you for reading!

Alexa Thu 18-Apr-19 12:27:43

No, seriously, if I had an android companion I'd become fond of them and feel bad if I did not treat them as if they had feelings.

For instance "I'm going to make tea, do you want some?"

Alexa Thu 18-Apr-19 12:24:03

BradfordLass, what annoying habits would your android have? Or else why not get a poodle?

Anniel Tue 16-Apr-19 13:37:07

Well who would have dreamed that there would be so many of us talking about this very important topic. The meeting was yesterday and armed with all your information I picked out very anonymous sentences which summed up how we all feel and the meeting was very successful. There were only 10 of us there and everyone told their stories not unlike yours and at the end of the meeting everyone said how much they had enjoyed it and felt that we all knew the others much better than we had before. One or two people joined singing groups at Uo3rdA and said they found it useful. Most of them did what we all talked about and one lived alone in a house that was too big and was worried about downsizing and losing friends and neighbours.
Most agreed that people on Escape to the Country sometimes did not consider getting old and living away from good transport connections, shops, doctors chemists and other useful facilities.
As you would imagine as our group is situated in NW London most of us said we would not leave the city as it offered so much to do. We might form a theatre and cinema group so we can go out together.

All in all although the topic was serious, discussing it in a group made us feel better about our lives.

So thank you all very much. I am going to visit here more often. I hope you have found talking about loneliness useful.

BradfordLass72 Tue 16-Apr-19 01:15:23

I just wish I could stay alive another 20 years until robotics, which is fast developing and becoming popular, produces a humanoid I could afford.

They already look and sound very real. Voice Recognition technology now enables them to have conversations and the advances in Artificial Intelligence means robotic companions are in our near future.

This would be the ideal solution for me - someone I could get out of the cupboard when I needed them grin and put them back when I need silence.

Alexa Mon 15-Apr-19 15:48:43

Tanith , that companionship happened so long ago in my life that remembering that sort of companionship it seems like it happened to another person. I do understand your sadness, and I guess that I cannot console you by anything I could say about your own loss. It's true that we die a little.

tanith Mon 15-Apr-19 10:48:01

Alexa thankyou for those kind words and you are right.
I’m very sad that I’ll never have another cosy evening with him just being together with my bestest friend.

okimherenow Mon 15-Apr-19 10:36:13

Sorry I've posted on someone else's post... Please ignore... Sorry x

okimherenow Mon 15-Apr-19 10:31:56

In the summer are celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary with a big party in the garden and about 80 friends and rellies...
When we cut the cake and drink the bubbly (!!) daughters say we should make a speech...
Now friends, what to say...!!
Any ideas would be so welcome...
We have come a long way in our life time but don't really want to just go through dates but could use some fun ideas for us to think about...
Can you help us please...

Alexa Sun 14-Apr-19 09:30:34

Densol, what a tremendously good grandmother you are!

I'd guess that you have learned most of your life to be loving and caring and simply cannot manage to be selfish.

BradfordLass72 Sat 13-Apr-19 22:07:48

Densol I just tried to send you a personal message and was told you don't receive them. I would like to offer a suggestion.

densol Sat 13-Apr-19 19:17:55

My first post so please excuse me if I ramble too much !

Ive been on my own for 30 years after a divorce and bringing up a child singlehandly. My child left home quite young at 18 and I was bereft. It felt like a bereavement.

We live close to each other and were very, very close until they got married. Im not complaining because I do realise that I am now at the bottom of the ladder and that their partner will always come first.

I have 4 gorgeous grandchildren but my loneliness is exacerbated when I haven't seen them for a few days.

As others have said on here they keep themselves busy, as I do, but at the end of the day I dread going home to an empty house.

I fill up every hour of every day with socials, clubs, keeping fit, a part time job and seeing the grandchildren but all it takes is something to change my schedule and I get very upset.

I like routine and knowing what Im doing days in advance and when its suddenly sprung on me that for instance I won't be seeing the grandkids because they need to be with their parents, when I was told that I would be seeing them, I burst into tears and feel very, very sad for days afterwards.

One child in particular I am very close to and adore them and love spending time with them without the others. Is that wrong? Should I have the same connection with all of them?

How can I stop being so silly and be grateful for my life and health and also grateful that they live close by and I see them regularly.

It seems sometimes that its never enough. I think of the particular grandchild as my own child and worry about them and pine for them.

Its making me feel sick each time it happens and I dont know what to do to stop it.

It seems like something has changed in my relationship with them and Im not sure what it is. Ive asked my own child if Ive done something wrong and they have said no, their mum just wants to see them at the moment and Ill have to wait a week or so.

Its absolutely killing me.

Tomorrow when Im in a better mood hopefully, Ill read this back and realise how stupid Im being but at the moment all Im doing is crying.

Alexa Sat 13-Apr-19 18:36:06

Tanith wrote:

"I’ve now lived alone for 6 mths and it’s ok but I do miss someone to just sit with watching tv or using our iPads showing each other silly stuff or tunes we’ve loved. "

That, Tanith, illustrates the essence of poetry. You have painted a true word picture in very few words.

I wonder if it takes quite a long friendship before friends are sufficiently at ease to be so relaxed and companionable. And do people have to share a house before they can be so casually friendly? Arranged meetings in a public place aren't usually as Tanith describes are they?

crazyH Sat 13-Apr-19 18:08:19

You can be lonely in a crowd. Loneliness is a state of mind. I was lonely in my marriage. Husband's attention was always on something else or someone else.
I am now divorced, live alone but have never felt lonely. I like my own company anyway goes back to state of mind

Happiyogi Sat 13-Apr-19 17:45:00

Grannyknot, I like the distinction you make between with and by yourself. That works!

Gonegirl Sat 13-Apr-19 13:58:17

I like the sound of that song anniel. Sounds a lot like me some days. grin

Bopeep14 Sat 13-Apr-19 10:16:18

I felt lonely and isolated all the time when my children were younger. I have never been able to make friends easy I am a very shy person. Once my children were at school I got a job and no longer felt isolated. I gave up my job to look after grandchildren and I now feel exactly the same as I did when mine were little. No more catch up with friends, my choice not there’s as I couldn’t cope with a toddler in a cafe. Maybe when he is a bit older, luckily my friend is one of those that when we meet it’s is as if I only saw her yesterday.

janeainsworth Sat 13-Apr-19 02:00:21

Tanith I think some people just aren’t very proactive about making social arrangements - they sit back and wait for other people to invite them.
If you want to see these friends again, maybe you could send them a vague messsge on Facebook, something like ‘anyone fancy a get-together?’
The ball’s in their court then, and it’s hardly foisting yourself on them!

BradfordLass72 Sat 13-Apr-19 01:33:37

I think loneliness can be defined as a longing (or even craving) for the company of others.

It can be directed at a specific person or persons, or just the general need to be part of the herd, so to speak.

I know people who go out to bars just to be in company. One or two even say they don't need to talk to people (although it's nice if someone talks to them) but just need to be with others.

I never feel this way. I am what is termed 'a sociable loner'.
However, I certainly enjoy company when I get the chance ....but for a limited time. I soon get that feeling I need to be alone again.

Like joot I have mobility issues and arthritis for which I take MSM, and I can no longer drive or use public transport as I am partially sighted.

To anyone else this might be purgatory but apart from the fact I can no longer, paint, draw or do crafts, being housebound is fine and I often breathe a sigh of relief and pleasure when I close my front door and lock the world out.

Please let me know how your talk went Annie - I suspect it's over by now. smile

tanith Fri 12-Apr-19 10:00:30

I’ve now lived alone for 6 mths and it’s ok but I do miss someone to just sit with watching tv or using our iPads showing each other silly stuff or tunes we’ve loved.
I have plenty of family to spend time with but m ade a real effort to contact two really old friends, we had a little Facebook contact but hadn’t met up for years so I asked them both out to lunch separately and it was lovely to catch up but although both seemed really pleased to meet up and said we must do it again soon, since then nothing! It seems we’re back to occasional ‘likes’ on FB and it was really hard for me to reach out and how sad it was we’d driffted apart but feel like I’d be foisting myself on them if I yet again suggested lunch.
Saying all that I’m fine with my own company most of the time.

joot Fri 12-Apr-19 09:03:10

I am lonely but cannot get out much due to mobility issues. I am fortunate to have my DH still with me but he works during the day and my mobility problems mean unless someone collects me i am housebound, I am not in a wheel chair but can't walk much at all so lost all confidence. I look for places to sit when i do get out with some one but alas not many places consider arthritis in my opinion.

Anniel Thu 11-Apr-19 15:05:13

I have read all your replies and think it is not being alone so much that is the problem but loneliness is harder.

I think many of you have family and grandchildren around, but for those of us who are much older ( nearly 85) with no family living close by it is different. Both my sons live overseas and my daughter lives a coupe of hours away from London and still works and gets very tired. So she will visit for weekends now and again. I adore dogs and cats but our block rules don’t allow them. I am lucky in that I visit my second son often and he has dogs who I adore. As son remains single he likes having me there and wants me to stay permanently, but even at my age I would miss the convenience of the big city and health provision is not good for people like me with chronic illness.

I have very few friends and spend hours on the internet as I support dog welfare groups and enjoy my net time. I love radio and listen to different stations all day. I generally try to go out every day and I often have hospital appointments for various tests.

I should go back to U3A which I stopped because I am away from UK so much and I have just joined Silverline.

So as we grow older and so many of us outlive our partners loneliness can be problematic. I don't know whether I am lonely or not! I could invite people for lunch or dinner, but much prefer to meet at a restaurant so I can relax without hassle. I should make more effort to meet people but I lack the drive. In other words I am like a dog sitting on a thorn and just too tired to get off it (old song).

Hope you do not mind me rambling on but I guess I chose this subject for my talk as it is on my mind so much and I thought it may help others as well as myself to discuss it.

Thank you for reading and any suggestions welcome! I am writing this on my phone so apologies for typos!

Grammaretto Thu 11-Apr-19 12:50:24

Thankyou Alexa
I expect if and when it happens I will cope somehow but I try not to think about it. He doesn't.

Alexa Thu 11-Apr-19 10:29:30

Grammaretto, what you have to fear is the hard work of learning a new form of life. It can be done and the result is a happy one when the work has been done. It's not only emotional work it's also learning to think of yourself as a single not a married woman.

Grammaretto Thu 11-Apr-19 09:46:10

I've never lived alone. I've shared a room all my life. Now that DH of 50yrs is seriously ill I am actually afraid for my future. My DM was widowed young and said she hated being alone although she had to live alone for 40 years .
I guess you just make the best of what life throws at you.
I have friends who've always lived alone and others who are having to adjust in later life.
I shall read this thread with interest.

Grannyknot Thu 11-Apr-19 09:31:42

I'm often alone, but I think of it as being with myself rather than by myself. I'm very happy with my own company...

I have experienced loneliness, so I do know what that's like. There's little worse than being lonely in a relationship.