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Do Not Feel Lonely by riverflows

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· @riverflows ·
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Do Not Feel Lonely
![homesteaders copy 2.png](https://files.steempeak.com/file/steempeak/riverflows/7xNlgU3v-homesteaders20copy202.png)

One of the saddest things about my life is seeing my man long for a friendship, and for his family. His love life is fulfilling, still in love with the woman he married sixteen years ago. Yep, that's me, and I'm awesome! All jokes aside, we do have a great relationship. We've worked hard on trust, and love. It's been worth it. We are each others greatest confidantes, and miss each other across the day if we're apart. Romance isn't yet dead - we work on that too. We're both grateful for the strength of our relationship and still marvel that we even met, let alone make the decision to get married within some two days of meeting each other. If one of us died before the other, I think it'd be him that suffered the most. Not because I love him *less*, just because I try to avoid relying on individual people for happiness. Perhaps it's my fiercely independent nature, or perhaps it's because philosophically I don't think it's wise to pin all your hopes and dreams on a single person, or define yourself soley by your relationships with others. I try to be a little more self reliant than that. 

<center>`Everything In the Universe Is Within You. Ask All From Yourself - Rumi`</center>

Despite how happy we are together,  he still longs for *other* connections too - ones I cannot fulfil. It's difficult for him - he's not Australian born and raised, and finds it difficult sometimes to relate to people here, unless they are well travelled, more worldly. It's no accident that the friends we do have are often married to a partner from elsewhere in the world. Yet those close friends are spread far and wide, and we rarely see them. His mother and sister live on the other side of the world and he worries about them constantly. I wish I could move back to England, but on the other hand, I can't - for I'd be the one desperately lonely, and missing my family. This is the problem of cross cultural relationships everywhere.

The desire to have contact with friends is a significant one in all age groups, one that makes everyone feel lonely, according to studies.<sup>[1](https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0091415016655166?journalCode=ahdb),</sup> And the older you get, the more likely you are to have no close friends or confidantes as people you know die, move away or no longer have time for the friendships of youth.<sup>[2](https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0898264307301178?icid=int.sj-abstract.similar-articles),</sup> Many of the people our own age have young children, or are busy with careers. It becomes harder to meet people the older you get. When you are young, it seems that everyone's a potential friend. I watched my ten year old nephew take off across a field exploring with a kid his age he'd only just met, yet as an adult, we are more cautious and seem to see more differences in the people around us. And all the while, the research tells us that loneliness can cause ill health and a shortened life expectancy. 

I don't personally don't feel the need for friendships. To me, being on my own is far safer. This speaks of the damage of teenage years - being bullied taught me to seek sanctuary away from others, and there is less intensity to life if I can make the rules about who I interact with. Good friends know to persist - new friends are puzzled by cancelled plans or reluctance to 'pop over' for a cuppa. To me, that's fraught with danger. It's only very good friends that I feel comfortable with, and I am lucky enough to have a best friend since I was 11. We consider each other family because we are so close, and know each other so well. My man envies me that. He has never formed such a close friendship. I wonder who I'd be without her, but then, I have spent years without her, and only catch up once or twice a year. She's the eagle flying overhead, she texts. She's always with me. Loves me unconditionally. I feel blessed to have her in my life. 

My desire to connect to others is certainly present, but I am satisfied with my online relationships or striking up conversations with utter strangers at the supermarket. I take after my mother than way. We'll talk ten to the dozen to people we don't even know, whilst our men stand back and barely say a word. I love people - they are beautiful. I just don't need them all the time. I'm happy with my own company. Give me a hermitage in a forest, or a deserted beach for days. That sounds just grand to me. My girlfriend agrees - we laugh that maybe one day we'll be forest hermits, sweeping insects carefully from porches and meditating as the sun goes down. Without occasional trips to the city, to soak up a healthy dose of people energy. 
<center>
![image.png](https://files.steempeak.com/file/steempeak/riverflows/Xgb45TjP-image.png)
**Entering the forest: Burma, 2017**
</center>
My family is a different story, and it's this part of my man's sadness that I keenly feel. We don't talk about it much, or it ends in argument - something along the lines of: 'but you have your family here' and me arguing they are his family too. This is true - they love him, and would do anything for him. I imagine myself in Somerset, pining for home, listening to Dad play guitar or Mum talk about her latest recipe for sourdough. When we thought we were going to lose Dad this year to cancer, I went into a tailspin. Who was I, without my father? Who would love me the way Dad loves me? Understands me the way Dad does? Being so close to my father, I felt the impending loss keenly. It's been a journey towards letting go, though he's still with us. One day, those we love will no longer be with us, and we still walk on, drawing solace from our relationships with the people still here. 

In the end, any kind of long term happiness that depends on others solely is doomed. Romantic love comes and goes, deepens into friendship and the long lasting, profound love that settles in lovers that have not met, but been in each other all along, as Rumi so poetically puts it. I feel this way about my husband, but I cannot depend on him for my own happiness - life is rich and long and full of many things, and one man cannot fulfil all my heart's desires and longings, and one day, one of us will die, and we must find a way to be happy. Family may provide emotional and financial support, and a sense of being truly home, but not all family dynamics are so blessed as mine. Getting wrapped up in expectations of how they *should* be or how family *should* behave is bound to end in disappointment. Friendships too come and go. Nothing is permanent. 
<center>
![image.png](https://files.steempeak.com/file/steempeak/riverflows/UEkbzBTa-image.png)
**Me and my truest love, caught in a moment.**
</center>
Everything changes. 

Where then does happiness lie? 

True happiness can only reside within the self, in our heart of hearts. To know that we are connected to all things - to the sky above, the earth below, the beating hearts of millions of beings whose hearts too beat rhythm with ours. To know that we are alive in this envelope of flesh, blessed with this gift of life, each breath another blessing. To find joy despite the suffering. To know that life goes on, and on, as long as we draw breath. Outside this window, a rosella lands on the fencepost. The wind tickles the silvery leaves of the olives. Waves of clouds move through the sky. My man will be home soon, and I'll make him a cuppa and ask him how his day was, and he'll throw his arms around me and I'll be silly happy. Dad'll ring to chat about a song he heard, or my nephew will text me something silly on Discord. We're planning a trip to Tasmania to see my sister from another mister and her husband where they live in a bus in a forest outside Hobart. 

The pain of knowing all of this will pass is the lining on the joy - but the joy is also the lining on the sadness. 

How wonderful it is to be human. 

How wonderful it is to be divine. 

We're all here in the same infinite space. Be happy with what you have, right here and now. The heart finds it hard, sometimes, to grasp the most universal of truths. 

Nothing can be depended on for happiness, and everything can. 

<center>`Do Not Feel Lonely: The Whole Universe is Inside You - Rumi`</center>

###### This is a response to Tribe Steem Up's Question of the Week, posed by @elamental: 'What kind of relationship is most vital for long term happiness: family, friendship or romantic?'.
πŸ‘  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and 222 others
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@tts ·
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@sallybeth23 ·
Thanks for such a thoughtful post - we must indeed find happiness and peace within ourselves as a natural way of being.
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@riverflows ·
I worry it is bad for our mental health to be TOLD we should have lots of friends and people around us when it is not always possible. πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’• I am okay on my own, but it must be tougher for others who  rely on everyone around them for some illusion of happiness. Saying that  its not that I wouldnt be devastated if my loved ones suddenly died. 
πŸ‘  
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@sallybeth23 ·
I think most people know better quite honestly- everyone needs a little space to know themselves. As with everything it’s a case of finding a healthy balance πŸ€—β€οΈ
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@karinxxl ·
What a cute snap of both of you!

Yeah I guess that is exactly one of the reasons why I am leaving Switzerland. Getting connections at a certain age isnt the game as it was before, and apparently I am also a creature who longs for people around her.

Indeed, being good to rely on yourself, that is key indeed...but I get your husband! Even with a perfect +1 on your side, you might still have the feeling of missing someone/something. Give your man a big hug from me!
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@riverflows ·
Aw, I will. I do understand him.. and you... and i have had those longings too.. but I cant spend my life thinking about it so have chosen something different I guess. Xx Big hug to you xx

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@goldenoakfarm ·
I am also a loner and the very few who are my friends also know to stick around and be persistent. 

It was really hard on my husband when he got so sick. He's a real people person. but he effectively has no family, due to the way he was raised. And when he got sick and stopped being a party animal all his "friends" disappeared.

He has a couple he spends time with, one who often puzzles him as the friend is more like me and often doesn't interact much. Then will call like he did last night and talk 10 to the dozen for a long time.

Sometimes I am lonely, but not often. I am pretty content as I am.
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@riverflows ·
Sounds exactly like me. A chat with someone at shops usually cures me of needing someone! I come home and say so and so said this or that, and he thinks I have lots of mates.. but Im just talking to random people. I sympathise with our hubbys... guess we wish they could see it our way. 
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@vincentnijman ·
There's so much I recognize in this, even without a +1 ;>)

Although I can talk with anyone, a friendship is completely different. I can even feel, here in Portugal, that some neighbors / villagers don't understand why I don't invite them over for a coffee, tea, lunch, dinner and prefer to keep ( the inside of ) my house a castle / secret. I much rather talk to them outdoor or in the local restaurant. 

I have a couple of really good friends ( in The Netherlands ), but am closest with my family. I don't need loads of friends, even though I sometimes feel like being around more people, especially when I'm starting to be a little too much in my own head. Then, after spending some time around others, I soon long to be alone again and recharge my batteries. It's too much for me pretty quickly.

Funny enough, I still have to work on my self love ( treat myself even more as a friend ) but I think I'm slowly getting there.

I still hope your husband feels less lonely in the near future. I know - from experience - that it's easier said then done but it must be a huge help to have someone like you on his side :>)

Much love from a fellow Libra and mediator / introvert
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@riverflows ·
Totally the same!!! I am closest with my family, mainly my parents. I think we would find it hard when they go, but I am training myself to see the universe not the tiny wood. 
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@vincentnijman ·
Same here. I would survive without them too ( knock on wood ) but, in the end, they're still the most important people in my life. I won't make any jokes on tiny wood.
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@raj808 · (edited)
Loneliness can be a real bummer. I get it bad sometimes when I don't leave the flat for weeks on end. 

I feel your hubbies pain... lol it can't be easy being a Pom in OZ. 

> We're all here in the same infinite space. Be happy with what you have, right here and now. The heart finds it hard, sometimes, to grasp the most universal of truths.

But as what you say here points too, the true freedom arises when you can connect with the love from the universe anywhere. Ha ha, I manage it once in a blue moon.

P.s. great to hear that you guys have such a strong relationship. That is so important :)
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@riverflows ·
Once in a blue moon shows you that it is there, in my book. Thus, we can practice seeing it. Leaving the flat and walking and chatting to strangers can help. Saying that, you reminded me of living in England! I would TRY talking to random people and it didn't work... I found most British people quite reserved in that way! Australians can be more open I think. 
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@raj808 ·
Yes, you're right about the British reserved thing. 

> Leaving the flat and walking and chatting to strangers can help.

The leaving the flat and wandering the great grey skied outside I can do. Lol, taking to strangers I find much harder. 

The blue moons seem to be rising more often the last week which is nice.

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@trucklife-family ·
I really feel for J that must be hard, but then love is something you carry with you and I am sure he has an abundance of it from his family that gets carried over the seas. I answered this in a different way, but I love your answer, I too don't really need or want a lot of interaction I am happy with my girls and me and being immersed in nature. Yet when I need to I do not have to travel far to see my friends, family is a little different. I have not always had a good relationship with my, my sister who passed away was really my anchor in the family, she kept me connected. I really miss that now, I really miss her. But her love I feel it and carry it with e, i see her in my girls all the time and she is with me always. 
I agree our happiness lies with us xxx
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@riverflows ·
πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’• When you went through all that pain (which lingers still) you were intensely grieving, but I never once heard you say you were UNHAPPY. You knew you had so much to be grateful for and so much living to do, and that it would soften and pass a little. You will always miss her like I will always miss my folks when they go, but we know in our hearts happiness is our call.πŸ’•πŸ’•
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@agiftoflove ·
You really hit a deep point that is so important!  I remember someone telling me that my happiness cannot depend on anyone else.  I thought about it for a very long time, the Buddhists cover this in Non-Attachment and it is such a fine line to balance.  When someone brings joy into your life, how to meet it and appreciate it always without becoming reliant on it.  How to open up to those around you and make new friendships while still honoring whatever boundaries you need to feel comfortable.  I was just talking to someone who was going through a breakup and ended up on this same subject.  No matter what, we have to maintain enough to keep ourselves happy.  When we rely on others for our own happiness, it will crash at some point.  I do hope your Husband finds someone to virtually chat with who is likeminded.  This Global community is pretty awesome.  We are no longer just stuck with those people who are in our backyards.  <3
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@tryskele ·
@riverflows you guys are adorable.  It is very hard to be away from everyone you love. He has you which is awesome, but family ties can be strong. The only way I got through it was to talk with those that made me feel empty not having them near on almost a daily basis.  As you mentioned with your BFF texts or some form of contact is the only thing that helps.
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@porters ·
Such depth of wisdom and I love to see the gratitude and knowing that you are blessed with a loving relationship and to have a loving family and of course your bestie! 
Also to have the wisdom that none of this is permanent yet we can still experience joy in this human life as well as the sufferings! 
I feel for Jamie being so far from his family and living in a different culture than he grew up in - Do hope you have a wonderful time in Tasmania!
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@riverflows ·
Aw, thanks. I do feel fir him too. Its the hardest part of our relationship.

Posted using [Partiko Android](https://partiko.app/referral/riverflows)
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@stortebeker ·
It felt so nice reading this very positive post of yours! I especially liked the last part about the silver linings on all ends, how there is something sad in each happiness, but also something happy in each sadness.

Plus, I can really relate to your cross-cultural relationship. That's exactly what I'm in too, except for that it's my family that is literally spread out over three continents (or rather two continents and an island nation far away from everywhere). And currently we are making "plans", really just throwing ideas around to meet my parents AND my sister, whose partner also happens to be Latin American. 

Oh, and I wanted to tell you how much I like the picture of you with your man in your moment. So full of life!
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@riverflows ·
Aw, thanks. It was a happy day! I can see you would understand about cross cultural issues. Such richness, but tough to be so far away from the OTHER people you love.

Posted using [Partiko Android](https://partiko.app/referral/riverflows)
πŸ‘  
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