I recently spoke with someone who had been through a divorce years ago, and subsequently a short but very challenging relationship wherein he endured a great deal of emotional pain. The man is quite interesting because he has such a desire to give and love, and there’s every reason to believe he would in fact do that in any given situation. Of course, as he shared, I had to trust his story not to be too biased. But he was brutally honest with me about his shortcomings and failures, so I tended to give him the benefit of the doubt. For argument’s sake, let’s assume he told a well-rounded story.
This man, who I will call Ron, came to me because he is having trouble even getting connected with anyone he might find interesting. He says this has been happening for quite a long time, and has felt this has even been the case much of his life. Ron says it’s probably more prevelant now because of what he’s been through, and the fact that he’s not getting any older.
Ron says he goes through lonely phases, but they are often triggered by any given situation, feeling, memory or moment. He says that in these moments, which can last for minutes or up to days, he feels uncared for, neglected, unwanted, not good enough, and like he’ll never be desirable by anyone he would regard. He says oftentimes, it makes him want to run, escape, be completely alone, to sleep, to pray, and just be away from everyone.
He also said that for a long time he found himself also crying, sometimes extremely hard, during these painful spells. He said there were times he almost had to pull off to the side of the road. He couldn’t exactly trace how long, but he said it went back through to the beginning of his last relationship. Ron, by nature, is a reserved introvert with sensitivity but not emotionality (a lot like me in that regard). He has never been a cryer, per se. He said that he realized something was really wrong after a while, when he started getting tired of “crying again”, as he put it, one day leaving work.
He also said sometimes he finds himself staring off or out a window, or pausing in the middle of anything he might be doing or saying, and numbing out. He said that these times can come about with similar triggers as the loneliness, but they can also seem to come about very unexpectedly with no noticeable trigger. (My guess is there is a trigger, but he just doesn’t realize what it is at the time.)
Besides not naturally being emotional, Ron is also well-adjusted in social settings as an introvert, but he still has shyness when it comes to talking to individuals in situations where there are no props, and especially if it’s a woman he has interest in, as you can imagine. And what he goes through at times can really hamper him.
Now, Ron is the type of person who has high standards, and upholds them better than most anyone I know. He can be very vocal, but has genuine passion behind everything he does. He admits this is probably something that contributes to people feeling smothered or overcommunicated to, especially early on in a connection with an acquaintence. He said he really needs to focus on “less is more”.
From what I see, Ron’s heart shines through the work he does, in his job and volunteer activity. He said he has often used his service to get people’s attention, including women, hoping they would like him for it. But he finally realized that this can really come across as prideful and haughty. Moreover, he said he feels like the people that do appreciate him or connect with him only do so because of what he does and not for who he is. He said this is a source of great loneliness in itself. So he had the idea of keeping a lot of his efforts and successes to himself. He said that he might come across as too serious and even intimidating with his natural straight face accompanying his focus on serving and giving, and occasional social backwardness.
His final comment to me before soliciting my feedback was, his lack of connecting with someone is either because of God or himself. I had to chuckle at that. (I think it’s possible it’s a gentle combination of both, in a way.)
So, while I certainly don’t have all the answers, I did have a few things to share with him. I shared that I related to him in several ways, and he’s definitely not alone in his struggles. I also encouraged him in the fact that he doesn’t cry hardly at all anymore, which he pointed out the tears seemed to stop within recent weeks after a few significant revelations in his heart from God. Ron’s a very decent looking guy, so I assured him he wasn’t repulsive or undesirable. I tried to encourage him to relax and enjoy people more, and genuinely.
But, I don’t necessarily want to share what I had to say in this message. (I would prefer to hear what others have to say, actually.) The purpose of this is mainly to share the experiences of someone that you might relate to, to let you know that you likewise are not alone. Ron is the type that looks like he has it all together from the outside, which in turn makes him feel even more lonely, because no one seems to notice him. What would you say to someone in that situation? What would you do if you knew someone was going through that?
Many blessings to you. I pray this has potentially been encouraging or insightful in some way. I welcome your responses.