"I don’t know if I should trust my own judgement right now, because I can’t tell if I’m just being lonely and desperate or if I actually want/feel something. How can you tell if you’re just stupidly lonely?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
OKAY HEAR ME OUT… loneliness and desperation are real feelings of want. So, you sort of answered your own question.
I mean, if you’re about to engage in some emotional, romantic, or sexual activity with another person, be honest with them about your confusions. Saying “Hey, I’m not sure where I’m at right now, I don’t know if I want a relationship or I just want to spend time with someone, and I don’t want to lead you on, but I love being around you” can be pretty easy. It’s much easier than stringing that person along or trying to fake some feels you don’t have.
AND if you’re thinking of trying to find a person to cuddle, not knowing if you REALLY want a human to share your life with… THAT IS ALSO OKAY.
You will only know the answer to this question if you seek out the answer to this question. You have to try it out, try meeting people, try getting involved with people, try cuddling, try whatever. Try the things you THINK you want, in order to figure out what you ACTUALLY want.
is this bad advice? kristin, halp.
No, you did good Dannielle.
I can still halp tho. Let me tell you a story. A million years ago (read: 5 years) when I started dating my now-wife, she was all, “Hey just FYI I don’t want to date.”
Then we dated for four years and then we got married.
The point of that story is to tell you that our judgement is really, really tricky sometimes, and that being honest with your boo(s) about what you want and need is totally cool, just like Dannielle said… and also doesn’t foreclose the possibility of things changing in the future.
ADDITIONAL ITEM: If you are with someone and you realize every time they make Hot Pockets for dinner you are miserable and you hate watching re-runs of Jeopardy and when you make out you’re thinking about whether or not you need to buy cat litter, but YOU JUST WANT SOMEONE AROUND, get tf out of there and stop it. That’s not fair to anyone and you are wasting good Hot Pockets. If you are all butterflies sometimes and confused other times and unsure… welcome to dating, and take the above advice about being honest and flexible with your feels.
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"My girlf and I share a teeny apartment, so when I’m at school she gets alone time and when she’s at school I get alone time. She hates her program though and is changing paths so she is skipping a lot (still very high grades). I need my alone time, I’m really introverted and need it. How can I help her get that her going to school saves my sanity?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
This can only be solved by HONESTY and a possibly uncomfortable conversation. I mean, every time I’ve been in a relationship I’ve been very open from the beginning about my need for alone time. I hate being in a situation where a few months pass and then I’m like “hey I’m just gonna hang by myself tonight” and the human is all “you don’t like me” … or whatever happens. I HAVE A BAD MEMORY SORRY.
It doesn’t have to be that big of a deal, because it’s a small thing that is completely understandable. First of all, getting no alone time means there is never a time where you’re missing one another OR where you’re wondering what your other half is up to OR you’re making a plan to see one another, etc.
Alone time is so important, it helps you check in with YOU. Having time to yourself allows you to understand how you’re feeling, Time alone allows you to acknowledge the goings-on in your life that you spend most time avoiding. Alone time is necessary. I think it’s an easy enough thing to explain to your boo. Just tell her the truth, you love her and you love spending time with her. Being alone isn’t about being without her, it’s about being with just you. It’s not like you’re saying “I want to hang out with ANYONE BESIDES YOU.” Ya know? Just be very clear about what you mean and maybe the two of you can come up with a schedule so you know for a fact you will have a certain number of hours per day or week that are just for you.
Totally. This is one of those things that FEELS like a huge issue but in reality, it’s just you having totally normal needs and navigating how best to communicate them with your lover.
I said ‘lover’ there to spice up the post / gross most of you out. Fun, right?
So, like Dannielle has suggested, all you need to do is a) reassure yourself that your needs are valid and not a reflection on your lack of interest in your lover (lol), and b) communicate those needs with that confidence, because this will give your lover (lol) more ability to trust in what you are saying. Does that make sense?
Also, this isn’t about her needing to go to school or anything like that — and that is an important piece of this puzzle: don’t allow your needs to intersect her specific choices. Meaning, instead of saying, “I really think it would be best if you went to school more,” you’d say, “I know you aren’t going to class as much, but maybe there is something we can do so we still get that time apart.” You will, of course, also add in all the ways in which you love and care for her, and that you feel that time apart really strengthens your time together, etc etc.
So, in a whole bunch of words we’ve told you that the path forward is in talking about it honestly, dealing with a possible hiccup of hurt feelings (followed by patient reassurance), and moving forward together so your lover (lol) can skip class when she needs, but you still both get the time apart that helps keep you strong.
*flexy muscle emoji*
"How do you deal with loneliness?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
I think there are a few kinds of loneliness. There is physical loneliness, where you’re totally fine most of the time but GOOD LORD do you want someone to cuddle. There is the kind of loneliness based on a previous codependency, where doing shit alone just FEELS WEIRD BC NO ONE GETS IT. And then there is I-Don’t-Love-Me-Most-Of-All loneliness.
The last one is the hardest to deal with and, in my opinion, the easiest to slowly fix. When you don’t think you’re the best thing on earth, you have a hard time being with just yourself. I spent a lot of my life like that, I would fill every possible second with a hang out sesh because being around people was the thing that made me feel good. I didn’t feel good when I was alone. WHICH YOU GUYS TURNS OUT means I wasn’t actually feeling good when I was around other people, I was just distracted.
I did a lot of reading. I read a lot of those self-fulfilling books about success and passion and finding what moves you and your inner beauty, etc. I did a lot of walking around by myself and noticing tiny things like flowers and puppies and cool buildings. I did a lot of writing. I have about 20billion half-written essays, short stories, and even the beginning of a young adult novel about the end of the world (NBD). I spent hours getting to know me and why I am awesome. I have so many amazing things to offer the world and I recognize that now, which makes being alone with me a lot more fun and interesting.
It’s a hard process, learning to love yourself. You have to get rid of those moments when you think you’re less than. Stop comparing yourself to others because you will never be someone else. You are you. The greatest most amazing you. The only you. The fucking coolest you. As soon as you figure that out for yourself, all the kinds of loneliness will be a helluva lot more manageable.
She’s right. Not a big surprise, I know, because Dannielle tends to be right a whole bunch, but still. Loneliness is an inside-to-outside feeling. It starts on the inside, and most of us do the only thing we know how: we take the feeling and we say, “If I just had (fill in the blank), then this feeling would go away.”
Now, that doesn’t take away the validity of needing and wanting things like having someone to hold you, or having someone to go grocery shopping with you, or having someone who is there to see that your cat just fell backward off the headboard like a total goon. Those moments of wanting human companionship are real, and true. Many of us want that companionship, and want someone to be there to witness our lives with us.
That said, you have to remind yourself that you have time. You likely have a lot of minutes, a lot of hours, and a lot of years to walk around this planet. You are going to have times where you are with someone you love, and feel lonelier than you ever imagined possible, and other times when you are totally alone and feel full of joy at how non-alone you are. You’ll have times where you have someone beside you and you feel safe. You’ll have times where you are alone, and you feel horribly lonely. None of these experiences negate the possibility of others. Your feelings do not mean that you can’t ever feel another way, and they don’t mean that the only way you will feel differently is to have a specific thing that you imagine will be the “fix.”
Trust in the possibility that life can surprise you.
Trust in the possibility that you may find solace in ways you can’t yet imagine.
Trust in the possibility of finding what you are after, and trust that this world often gives us things in an order we didn’t anticipate.
It’s okay to feel lonely. Just don’t give up hope, and don’t focus on only one “solution” to your problem. This is a very, very big world. Take risks, surprise yourself, have patience, and remember that loneliness takes many forms and is never permanent. Hell, none of this is.