Curbing Loneliness with Fake Love
BY: NIKKI MICHELLE CHARNSTROM
Even as an introvert, I have always had a longing for connection and intimacy. When I was younger I fed off deep conversations and those up-all-night sleepovers where you eat the most unhealthy foods at 2 a.m. around the kitchen table with your silliest of friends. If I’m being honest, some of my fondest memories usually involve ridiculous decisions made in the moment with those I love most.
While I find energy in the time I spend alone secluded from loud dinner parties or casual coffee dates, it’s incredibly easy for loneliness to creep in. We can pride ourselves on our independence all we want but the human condition can’t be fooled — we need connection, we need people.
After a breakup, what’s one of the hardest “side-effects” to cope with? Loneliness. From once spending most of your time with that one person to suddenly erasing their number from your contacts, the heart is not capable of letting go as easily as that “delete” button. So, you go your separate ways and loneliness barges in like the unwelcome guest it really is. As if the pain of heartbreak isn’t bad enough, now you’re feeling all sorts of low because you’re under the impression that you’re entirely on your own.
I’ll be the first to say we do some pretty stupid things when we’re lonely — myself included. Whether it’s falling into old habits or calling up that person we know we shouldn’t, we do it anyway because loneliness clouds our judgment. Now, don’t misunderstand that as an excuse to behave poorly because it most certainly is not. When we feel lonely, we get desperate.
I’ve only had one major breakup in my life and while at the time it hurt like no other, I was naive. I’ve since experienced pain on levels far worse than the sudden end of an 8-month relationship, but this is where my path of poor choices began — at the start of my sophomore year of college. I allowed my loneliness to lower my standards when it came to men. I mended my heartbreak with any bit of attention that would come my way — it didn’t take much for a guy to mysteriously wrap me around his sneaky little finger. But, as you can imagine, any kind of relationship built on a rocky foundation of settling and fragility never ends well. I continuously set myself up for rejection, hurt and loss of interest. In the midst of my loneliness, I allowed myself to experience unhealthy bouts of fake “love” because in my head it was better than being alone. Wow, doesn’t that sound dumb — but how often do we hear ourselves say, “Being with him is better than being by myself... I’d rather be in the wrong relationship than living a life of loneliness...”
Blah, blah, blah... when are we going to decide enough is enough? I know I drug myself through this heart-shattering routine for more than two years and I can tell you that was far too long. If you’ve been mending the crack in your heart caused by loneliness with a faulty band-aid of fabricated romance, can I just encourage you to rip that sucker off? It’s not serving you, it’s not fixing anything, in fact, it’s deepening the tear.
Girlfriend, just because one man didn’t see your worth doesn’t give you permission to ignore it as well. You are far more precious than a one-night stand or a summer fling. You deserve a relationship that honors you and betters you — not one that degrades you. Make the choice to love yourself through your loneliness, don’t search for it from anyone else. Anytime you seek out a man to fill that void, it’s like telling yourself you’re simply not enough.
Don’t give into the lie that you’re incomplete. Don’t settle for cheap alternatives when it comes to love. Even when it hurts, respect your heart’s healing process without trying to speed it up or ignore the feeling. Go easy on yourself, babe. You’re going to make it to the other side of this, you need only to be patient.
Nikki is the owner and founder of Crowned Chics. She lives in the warm desert of Phoenix, Arizona with her beloved family. If she's not ferociously clanking away on her typewriter, she's behind the camera capturing moments for her business Charnstrom Captures Photography.