Bored and Lonely

I shared the following client dialogue several weeks ago in a post called The Critical Moment to Break Free From Relationship Anxiety:

“What am I trying to escape?” my clients asks.

“Your feelings. Not the feelings that are attached to your intrusive thought and which you project onto your husband but your core, fundamental feelings of being human: loneliness, boredom, emptiness.”

“So all of the mental torture is because I don’t want to let myself feel that one moment of boredom?” she asks with more than a little skepticism in her voice.

“Amazingly, yes. It’s harder than we think to let ourselves feel that moment of boredom or emptiness without wanting to escape. When we really let ourselves feel it, it’s a death moment. It doesn’t last, of course, and the more we practice breathing into our painful moments, the easier it becomes. But we really have to train ourselves to do that because it’s human habit and cultural conditioning to run from those moments. And there are a million ways to run these days. So the question really is, ‘Am I willing to experience the messiness of being human?’”

***

Several times a week one of my kids will say to me, “I’m bored.”

My response is always the same: “Good.”

“Why is that good?” they ask.

“Because boredom is a part of life, like loneliness, sadness, happiness, excitement, frustration, and disappointment. And when you let yourself feel bored, something new will arise.”

With the proliferation of technology that fills every empty or bored moment with stimulation, I fear that the ability to feel bored is a dying skill. Like letter writing and reading actual books (as opposed to digital books), it’s a skill that I seek to impart to my kids so that they grow up knowing how to sit with the discomfort of boredom without needing to fill it with technology (or the variety of stimulants that will be available to them as adults: food, alcohol, drugs, spending, sex).

Without fail, when I don’t rush to cure their boredom and instead let them sit with it for a while, they find something creative to do. At this very moment, my younger son is lying on his bed exploring a fairy house that he purchased with his birthday money a couple of years ago. It’s a lovely ceramic piece with beautiful colors and interesting designs. It doesn’t “do” anything flashy; that’s not the point. The point is to engage with a piece of art and, perhaps, allow it to lead to imaginary play. He’s tapping it and turning it. He’s holding it and touching it. I have no idea what’s going through his eight-year old head right now; it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he crossed the bridge from boredom to engagement on his own. A piece of learning that he can tolerate boredom has dropped into the puzzle of his psyche.

It’s allowing ourselves to be with those uncomfortable micro-moments instead of running from them that shifts how we walk through life. And as I wrote in the post referenced above, it’s astonishing how difficult it is to embody this simple concept. We seem genetically wired to recoil from anything uncomfortable, not only physical pain but emotional pain as well. As such, we’re culturally and historically trained to rush in to soothe a baby’s or child’s discomfort. For the first part of a baby’s life, a baby’s discomfort must absolutely be soothed (to the best of our ability). But there comes a turning point when we, as parents, must learn to tolerate our own discomfort around our child’s discomfort so that we can allow her to learn that she can handle emotional pain. This is no small task.

Loneliness is another fundamental human emotion that tends to get sidelined by our various addictions (including mental addictions). Because we  don’t learn that we can tolerate loneliness, we develop a neural pathway habitual system that hijacks the discomfort the second it arrives. In fact, we’re so lonely-averse that most people don’t even know when they’re feeling it or that’s it’s normal to feel it.  As a reader commented on the referenced blog: “This is bit of an ‘aha-post’ for me. I’ve always thought of loneliness, boredom and emptiness as pathologies. Maybe because I have felt them more than most people. My heart always sinks when people say: Well ,I’ve not really felt that lonely. So I think: It IS only me?”

It’s not only you. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible to live in this culture without feeling lonely, yet because of our cultural obsession with putting on a happy face, this is yet another area (alongside the grief that arises during transitions like getting married and becoming a parent and the doubt that exists in healthy relationships) that nobody talks about. As the great Jungian analyst Robert Johnson writes in his memoir, Balancing Heaven and Earth, when he asked his Indian friend, Shankar, who was raised in a deeply embedded web of loving community, about loneliness:

“I once asked Shankar about loneliness, admitting that it was one of the most painful dimensions of my life, and he replied, “I’m sorry, Robert, but I can’t contribute anything on this subject because I have never been lonely in my life.” His answer stopped me in astonishment; I thought for days about what it would be like to have a life where you were never lonely.”

So I amend here what I’ve written: perhaps loneliness isn’t a fundamental human emotion but, rather, one unique to the isolation and separation of Western culture. Irregardless, there are always going to be feelings that, regardless of our cultural upbringing, we want to push away. The conscious path is to learn to move toward, as Pema Chodron says, the places that scare us. If we push it away we fall prey to our addiction, and for most people reading this blog, the addition is the escape hatch of intrusive or repetitive thoughts. The moment you can stay with the feeling – “I’m feeling bored, lonely, sad, longing” – without assigning inaccurate meaning to it – “I’m in the wrong relationship or the wrong life” – is your moment of gold.

***

By the end of writing this post, my son shared what was going through his mind while he was playing with the fairy house:

“Mommy, the fairy house is hollow so they could have made the door open. That would have made it more fun. Why are the windows tinted? I like lying down while I hold it on my chest because I pretend that I’m tiny and this is my fairy house. Ding-dong. Is anyone home? Hello…!”

It’s the stream of consciousness of a mind free enough to wander through the fields and flowers of an imaginary world. It’s a mind unfettered by technology and a soul with enough empty space to dream. It’s a heart that hasn’t been hardened over by the onslaught of insults and meanness that populates most television shows and movies. It’s who we all are underneath the defenses, the intrusive thoughts, the worry, the rumination. It’s our own inner child who is waiting to be set free.

47 comments to Bored and Lonely

  • Izzie

    Hi Sheryl, as usual this post really hit the spot- these are two things I’ve always struggled with and probably play a bigger part in my anxiety than I give them credit for… will be working on that!

    Wondering if you’d be able to impart any wisdom on my current situation? After finishing therapy and starting medication, I was doing really well for a few months until we had to move out of our shared house, into a temporary house, and then into our own new flat together- THEN spending a week house-sitting in my family home- which, having followed your work for a long time, I can see why my days full of obsessing are slowly becoming more frequent. I’ll add that all of this has really affected my partner too, as he’s been dealing with some serious physical health problems on top of everything, so neither of us have been in an amazing place.
    The issue I have right now is that I made so much progress a couple of months ago that the anxiety I’m experiencing now is less intense and I am better at pulling myself out of it, but unfortunately in my mind at the moment, that means the “problems” are still there- I’m just better at being in denial about them. And that the period of time I was doing well was all a lie and I wasn’t really happy. And that now I’ve mostly reconciled with the “what if I don’t love him?” thought and I’m well aware that I do, I’m now fixating on “just because you love him doesn’t mean you’re compatible!” and all the related threads of thought that spin from it.
    I don’t know. I hope this makes sense, I just need a bit of encouragement to fight through it I suppose.

    Thanks always for your amazing work X

    • Maya

      Hey Izzie,
      I can relate in some ways to what you are saying. It sounds like there has been a lot of change going on with your partners health and your living arrangements. I find sometimes routine can be helpful in establishing peace of mind. When things are all over the place it can be more challenging to feel connected. I know personally when I am stuck in fear based thinking cycles I pull back emotionally and physically from my partner. Feeling in love requires me to act in love. It could be helpful to decide to lean into those feelings of discomfort and try to do those loving actions that facilitate those connected feelings. Compatibility is a commitment to respecting each other’s differences and continuing to grow together. No relationship is perfect. I know for myself personally, keeping a journal day to day helps me remember how I am feeling. When I get caught in a negative spin cycle sometimes my head will tell me that I have never been happy. I can use my journal to reflect on the validity of that thought and recognize it as a symptom of something else, likely fear. Be kind to yourself through this process. I hope this provides you with some comfort.

  • I’m really drawn to the excerpt you shared, about the man saying he’d never felt lonely in his life. I’d venture to guess this man had made friends with himself, including his loneliness, and, because of that, never actually felt lonely. It just makes me think of what’s possible for us when we turn toward what might initially scare us about ourselves.

    • Yes, and it’s also a result of being raised in a culture like India where the focus in on the feeling function and on nurturing the web of social interactions and support. We, in our increasingly isolating Western culture, don’t have the foggiest idea of what that would feel like.

      • Very true. Man, imagine a world in which the feeling function was a primary focus. Sad and disappointing that that world, on a larger and more global scale, can only exist in our imaginations. It’s interesting to me how us humans have cut ourselves off from these basic needs, as though they’re not needs at all.

  • Alexis

    Wow. What perfect timing for this blog post. Today my new “intrusive thought of the day” is questioning if my relationship is boring and questioning wether or not that is my problem, his problem, or a relational problem, and honestly it makes me feel as though I need to escape from my partner to “chase after my undiscovered passions and fly like a bird”. This is stupid though because my partner is the most spontaneous adventurous man I have ever met and encourages me in my pursuit of a passion. Do you have any other clients who have struggled with this, Sheryl? Clients who have questioned if their partner is holding them back from some incredible adventure when in reality that doesn’t line up with the facts?

    • Brittany

      Alexis – absolutely! You are not alone. I have been with my now fiancé for almost 7 years and a year before we got engaged I started having those same feelings. I was so afraid that by being with him I was missing out on who I was truly meant to be, that if we got married I wouldn’t turn into that person. I would Google stuff and I would find articles on celebrities that went through divorce or never got married and instantly think… well if they had stayed or gotten married they wouldn’t be who they are today! My anxiety goes crazy and I work myself into panic attacks and couldn’t stop crying.

      We actually separated for a few months and through this time I could see that he wasn’t holding me back. I was holding myself back and putting the blame on him! I was projecting all of that on him. He is the most loving and supporting man and beyond amazing. It still takes a lot of work, but it’s gotten much better. I can now calm myself down and realize that it is fear. Sometimes I have to come here to the website and read Sheryl’s blogs and the comments too. It reminds me that I’m not alone and it’s normal. Annoying at times… but normal, haha.

      One thing that has been really big on my mind lately is something a therapist once told me, no idea if it will help you, but it’s stuck with me for a long time and I think because I am getting closer to starting my own family it makes more sense. She told me once that maybe I’m not supposed to be the next Oprah or whoever, maybe God justs wants me to be a good mom to my future kids. To just be the mom I never had. Maybe my life is supposed to just be that simple. And I have to remind myself that a simple life is great too! I don’t have to be the next big author or change the whole world. Sometimes just changing my perspective and being happy with how great my life is right now is good enough 🙂 it definitely calms my anxiety!

      Sending love to you <3

      • Brooke

        Absolutely LOVE your response. And what you said about the thought your therapist gave you about maybe your life should be just that simple as being a good mom to your kids and be the mom you never had. I can relate to this and that is something that I felt calm my anxiety when I read that.

      • Alexis

        Thank you for your reply, Brittany 🙂 do you have any experience with the question I asked down below as well?

  • Bee

    Thank you dearest Sheryl for this wonderful post. Timely as usual.

    I am going through a lot of grief, having to do with past family of origin hurt and trauma. My parent’s marriage keeps coming back to me in a shock and I am seeing the difficulty of letting go of past pain, abandonment, rejection.. i am also seeing a lot of boundary issues. I notice my mind is overly active, thinking, obsessing, and thinking more.. I breath into the pain every time, and the cycle is endless.. My inner child feels broken and isolated.

    The emptiness that you are describing here, I feel it when I drop down into my intrusive thoughts and it’s scary. I feel so much anger at times. And when I don’t let my angry feelings surface, I notice intrusive thoughts, sometimes rage, I try to only feel and not externalize. Is this normal? How can I handle this in a healthy way? My ego pain body is massive and I fear losing control, hurting those I love. How can we implement healthy boundaries while living with people who have hurt us in the past? Creating a loving, win-win situation. I would love to hear what you can say about that. Thank you.

    • Yes, feeling anger is normal and healthy, as long as it’s worked with consciously and responsibly. I recommend writing anger letters that you don’t send but instead ritualize in some way (burn, shred, dissolve, bury). The anger needs expression, just like every other emotion.

    • Bee

      Thank you Sheryl xox I will do that exercise

  • C-

    Dear Sheryl, thanks to the Universe for you, your existence and your work.

  • Jackie

    Beautiful. When you say its who we are underneath all the defenses, it reminds me.of this really great movie I saw recently: Before I Fall.

    • Sounds like a beautiful film. I’ll add it to my list.

      • Frances

        Thanks, Jackie, it’s on my list too 🙂 Sheryl, it would be great if you could add films to your resources page as it’s so rare to find films that reflect this work, and the REALITY of life/love. I’m yet to watch Inside Out…

  • lailah

    Hi Sheryl,
    This post was so helpful. When I first saw its title “Bored and Lonely,” I thought it was going to say that if we feel bored and lonely it means we’re not doing adequate turning inwards. I used to be involved with a fundamentalist stream of a 12-step program. That unhealthy version of the program said that if you felt irritated, restless or bored it meant you were failing in your 12-step spiritual work. SO, it was such a great reminder and a RELIEF to read your article and remember that boredom and loneliness are inescapable. It’s the trying to escape that causes more of our problems. As my husband said when he helped me leave that unhealthy group: “Are you irritated, restless or bored? Congratulations, you’re alive”!

  • LightAtTheEnd

    I do often wonder what creative buds would appear in me if I could replace my mental addition/remuneration with a much fresher ‘alive’ type of energy…so much of my headspace can be taken up with my escape hatchet of wishing I felt differently…yoga does help me…but I revert to my highly addictive thoughts so quickly and without consciousness…often having to give myself a talking too ‘I’m back thinking of getting out again…what is this feeling protecting me from feeling?!?’

    • How often are you doing yoga? How many times a week – or a day – are taking time to turn inward and really BE with yourself through journaling, mindfulness, yoga, or any other form of self-reflection?

  • Jen

    Sheryl,love your writing and it makes me smile remembering pics of your Asher in his “dumpling” days..may creativity and spontaneity be our most intimate friends!

  • Angela

    Hi Sheryl,
    This post is all about me, it feels like its written for me, thank you ?
    This is why I am here, I have always walked away externally to things to others, so I could not feel my feelings. This is a big one, i have been in this habitual cycle for a long time. I came second, I was either affraid or not bothered or both. And I never knew i was doing this damage to myself. Until now when it shouts out, Hey Angela, your not being loving to ur inner world compass, stop and breathe and listen to the message Your given. Feel it name it and do the right thing, keep going. Could the bullying as a teenager and physical abuse from my dad cause this unhealthy pattern?

    • Yes, as well as your narcissistic mother. You had it from all ends Angela, and now you’re learning, piece by piece, how to be kind to yourself. Sending you lots of love.

  • Doubtfulmind

    I feel like I love my boyfriend but I’m not in love with him. I’m really scared about that because then what’s the point of being with him romantically? Why have him as my boyfriend if I’m not in love with him? What even is being “in love” with someone? What’s the difference between being in love and loving someone? I’m really sad and confused about all of this and I’d appreciate any input that anyone has

  • K

    Wonderful article yet again. On a divergent note, what is your view on a somewhat “red flag” issue that has been resolved and isn’t relevant anymore. My mind is ruminating and replaying the past and fretting about the future, whereas to be honest there’s absolutely nothing for me to worry anymore. It’s like I’m making up a red flag in my mind. After all the progress, this is so demoralizing.

  • Angela

    Thank you Sheryl ??

  • Alexis

    I am curious if there is a line in relationship anxiety where you should break up? My partner and I BOTH have relationship anxiety which has been happening for a few months now and it is absolutely deteriorating our relationship although we love eachother very much. It has left me feeling extremely inecure. It’s also very strange because sometimes I will have a freak out or even nightmares that my partner will leave me because of the weight of this anxiety, but then sometimes I feel as though I want to leave him and that I just need to go my own way and figure out myself. Can anyone relate to this? It’s a crazy rollercoaster and feels so heavy and I don’t know if I should continue on with him even though it feels like there is. I hope in sight or to just leave. Please help!

  • AnxietyStage2

    Hi Sheryl,
    I have followed your posts and read many of your blogs which I was so, so grateful to find after feeling months of despair and not knowing where to turn to relieve myself of this uncertainty. So many people who follow your work are so right about he fact that your blogs come at the most appropriate time and as if you have read our minds on the specific theme that anxiety throws in our way each week!
    As you discussed in your post “If I’m calm now is it still relationship anxiety?”, I believe I am somewhere in stage 2 of this process, feeling indifferent and still having some intrusive thoughts and a general feeling of unease. However, I am glad to see some progress from the initial state which was very debilitating and it gives me some hope that I am moving forward.
    My current main stressors are the word “bored” as if it is absolutely unacceptable to mention bored and my boyfriend in the same sentence and whether this makes me an awful person and whether I should leave the relationship etc (we have been together 6 years and this is the first real instance of relationship anxiety I have experienced). I have realised that most of the triggers for me come from things I’ve read online over the years and the media (exactly as you say) which have helped to form opinions in my mind which say “you shouldn’t be bored of partner – that means your relationship is doomed” and many other themes which I have gone over for weeks and then my attention is diverted to a new worry.
    The last few days I have had a new feeling and string of thoughts emerge. I believe I suffered with hocd as a teen and looking back on my life throughout this current encounter of RA, I realise I have always been prone to being quite sensitive and highly absorbing of all stories and situations around me. This week I have been feeling a sense of “who am I truly” and experiencing some pain which I recall from being a teen which I cannot exactly pinpoint. What triggered these thoughts was a perfume I recognised which I think I used to wear and it transported me immediately to this deep-rooted feeling of unease and severe discomfort. I truly cannot pinpoint an exact moment back then where I felt anxiety other than the time I felt worries around hocd and I am getting paranoid that this is “telling me something” and that I’ve been “lying to myself”.
    I hope you can shed some light on this feeling of losing yourself. I am trying to breathe into this pain but I fear so much what it may uncover about me. This is further exaggerating my feeling of disconnection from my loving boyfriend as I feel pain that there are parts of me he can never understand and that I’m alone in my mind forever.

    • Alexis

      I have had the exact same thoughts that you are having, so know that you are not alone! Thoughts like “is my partner holding me back from being the best me I can be” or “is there something I’m not seeing in myself that I would only see as a single woman?”….I believe these thoughts are very much based off of fear of vulnerability and being completely known by your partner and accepting that they see your flaws and imperfections. Just know that personal growth is ALWAYS happening, and it’s 100% possible while in a relationship. You will continue to discover new things about yourself and that’s okay! That’s a great thing! You are not alone. I’m fighting these thoughts with you!

      • AnxietyStage2

        Thanks Alexis for your response and kind words! I hope you too are strong enough to withstand this experience and reach a higher point of clarity and peace.

        I am finding it challenging at the moment as it’s rehashing my negative feelings of my teenage years and experience of hocd and then this makes me worry I haven’t dealt with that properly or I’ve just “glazed” over it and the worry spiral continues… I find it really difficult to decide what exactly I am feeling and from what moment or experience. Should I even know this answer?

        • Alexis

          I don’t believe you need to know the answer to that. What would be most helpful is to live in the present and work on how you feel in the present. The past is the past which you can change, but changing the present and growing from new experiences is what should be the focus! So just let go of the worry of the past, take some deep breaths, and move forward working on your current self 🙂

          • Brittany

            I have been going through this as well, I posted earlier in response to Alexis’ initial question. By the way, Alexis, it seems like to me that your replies seem to be answers to some of your own questions 😉 you got this, girl!

            For a long time I didn’t do a lot of things I wanted to do because I was afraid that I was going to love it so much or I was going to completely turn into someone different and me and my fiancé would break up. I was almost using him as a scapegoat to NOT figure myself out. To not do the work. To not go through the messy growing. How crazy is that? I started just doing it anyway and facing my fears. I was either going to figure out who I was and possibly lose him – but still have a better understand of myself and what I really truly wanted, or I was going to find myself and grow as a person and realize what in the world was I so afraid of?! I ended up doing the things I’ve always wanted to do. Small things like joining a workout boot camp or going out with friends even if he couldn’t go or going to a new yoga class where I didn’t know anyone. By working on myself I was able to better show up in our relationship. I was so much less depressed and anxious. I didn’t have as much time to spend worrying about our relationship and every little detail. I needed to find myself outside of my relationship and know I was more than just his fiancé. I could still create the life I wanted and be the person I wanted to be AND be with the love of my life. Why was I so afraid of it? Probably because I knew it was going to be a lot of work and some sacrifice, but I’m so much more happy on my own and in my relationship now because of it.

            They said fear stands for either: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. You just have to decide and focus your energy on one of them and it’s going to take time. You can either listen to your fears or rise above them. Whatever voice you decide to listen to will dictate the outcome.

            Bringing it back to Sheryl’s point about being bored: I was so bored in my life. And while yes, I definitely still need to work on being OK with being bored sometimes because as one person commented – we’re human and being bored happens! I think there are times where we do just need to take some action. I needed to do those things I really want to do and stop projecting them on to my fiancé. Maybe sign up for that art class or wine night with friends (minus your boyfriend), that yoga class or whatever it is! I had to make myself happy first and not be afraid of the outcome.

  • Frances

    I’m still struggling to know when I’m having feelings. I know that sounds so strange, but unless the feeling is really urgent, like anxiety, I find it very hard to identify what’s going on. I would say that I cycle between depressed and ‘fine’ most of the time. I don’t experience this full spectrum of emotions people talk about. Often I can’t tell whether I’m thinking or feeling. I was away with my partner for a couple of days and was aware of something ‘off’ inside. Some sort of dissatisfaction, but I couldn’t make it or feel it in my body. I know I love my partner but I can’t say with confidence that I feel it or where I feel it. I feel very odd and unaffected by things. I know I’ve posted very similar things before but it amazes me how little I seem to feel compared to others. I was such a hugely feeling child and teenager. I don’t know where it’s gone. It’s not a huge issue, I suppose. I am fine. Though I don’t feel alive. Mostly quite levelled-out. Am I just looking for something to be wrong? Is it normal to just just feel kind of ‘eh’ or find a lot of the time?

    I am trying to do inner work that isn’t obsessive and without end, so I’m doing the Headspace pack for Depression as each meditation is only 10 mins. It’s bitesize and manageable which is what I need right now. I’m learning about the Noting technique – gently noting when you notice you’ve been distracted from the present, and whether the distraction was thought or feeling. I am hopeful that this will help me see more clearly.

    One more thing I’ve been pondering lately…

    My partner is really struggling with boredom and emptiness right now as well as uncertainty and lack of fulfillment in his music career. How is it best for me to respond? We tend to have long conversations about how to fix it. But is fixing it trying to escape it? How do you defrenciate between an idea born out of sitting with boredom, and trying to escape it with activity?

    Sorry for the long post. Thanks for the post, Sheryl.

  • Amaryllis

    Perfect timing as usual. Thank you for the reminder.

  • andrew

    I don’t know where else to turn, I am very scared and my mind keeps probing me as to why i’m even scared. I feel like I don’t know that I love my partner anymore, I wish I could connect to that deep down sense of knowing but I just feel like the indifference and not wanting to be with her forever is all there is. I really really do want to love her and feel sure the same way she does about me, but I keep doubting and second guessing every bit of progress. I’m 19 and she’s 21 and we’ve been together for two years, one long distance. My head is just going back through all of my relationship with her and making me think it was either just me being young and “in love” or that I was faking it or that I was changing who I was. This is my first relationship and it is hers so you can understand my worry. Everywhere I look it says that you need to meet other people or that you’re too young to settle for anything, or that I am just “in love” and can’t actually love her. I really really want to, it’s all I want. I just want that sense of knowing that we are good together and that we can have a good life together. Everything that I want to do like settle and get married seems so far off in the future. I feel like I don’t even really care about her anymore right now or that I never did, I just cared that she was someone there for me. She’s always been there for me, even through this. She’s encouraged me to see a therapist which hasn’t helped much. She sits with me and holds me while I think terrible things about us. Is it possible to just realize you don’t and never have loved someone or grown away from truly loving someone never to come back? I realize that love is a choice and is action but i’m really struggling with finding reasons to stay and commit even though she is so supportive, and caring, and loving. Why can’t I be the same? Am I just forcing it or playing a part to make her happy and not upset my comfort and safety? Why can’t I just see that she is good to me and chose to love her? I don’t even know what I want in the future, I feel like when we talk about our future together I can look forward to it and i’m happy to have kids in the future and pets but then I think too hard about if I picture her there and I don’t even picture myself there. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I just want clarity and to know that I should keep going even though I feel like there’s no reason to. I feel like we’ve run our course or something, but I don’t ever want to let go. I also feel like i’m taking us for granted and not realizing what I’d be losing by not being with her. I can’t picture myself being alone right now, or with anyone else, but I don’t feel content or excited about being with her forever and I wish I could. She feels it for me, part of me thinks that’s the only reason i’m staying. Logically I can see the good life we could have but i’m not excited for it like I want to be, I don’t have a clear vision of her in my future, I don’t have a vision of my future at all. I feel like i’m bored of her sometimes and feel like i’m not doing either of us a service by not being overjoyed at the sight of her or happy about just lying with her, my mind always checks how i’m feeling and wanders off to other things instead of just being content and happy with her which makes me think I can’t be. I feel like i’ve gotten too used to her or something, it feels like I don’t even see her as another individual and when I do think about the fact that she’s the one I will be with forever and the face I will see for my whole life and the reality of being present I get overwhelmed and very scared that this is it and not even sure what i’m doing. All of this makes me sound like an absolutely awful person. I wish everyone reading this could meet her, she’s very attractive, very hardworking, very dedicated to me and us, very innocent and pure, and all i’m doing is hurting her and doubting what we have. Why don’t I feel interested in her and confident that I want to spend my life with her.

    I’ve been going all over the place, sorry… 🙁

    Wow this was so long but someone please respond, I feel like i’m losing my mind.

  • andrew

    To add to my above message, I feel like i’m missing something, like that magnetic pull that Sheryl talks about. I don’t feel that towards anyone, at least that I can recognize. I feel like the only thing keeping me with her or interested is that I force myself to do stuff with her and consciously make the choice to be with her and when I do I believe I enjoy my time, but sometimes it’s just boring or i’m indifferent about it. I feel like if I went off and did my own things (whatever those would be, honestly I don’t have anything I’d really like to do that i’m not already doing I guess) I would forget about her or not really feel that need or desire to be with her all the time and that makes me think that I would not feel the desire to ever be with her. So is that just a lack of connection? I know we meet each other intellectually and we are both religious people, and we have plenty of moments where we are thinking the exact same thing and I generally think she’s funny and she is such a genuine person which I admire about her. But there’s no magnetic pull, almost like I could take her or leave her and that hurts me so badly to say. Is it natural to come to this place eventually or am I legitimately missing something with her. I can’t picture myself being drawn to anyone else like I want to be with her, there’s no imaginary or real person in my head that I can think of that I desire to be in the company of, I just be with her because she is comfortable, and safe, and never tries to make me do anything I don’t want to. Am I too passive? I just don’t feel that desire to be with her and I fear that I never have and never will. Is the only thing keeping me in the relationship me just going with the flow and being comfortable and doing stuff with her because I “should”? She’s the closest thing to a best friend I’ve ever had which I suppose makes her my best friend, I tell her anything and everything and can trust her. I’ve found the perfect partner, why can’t I just be happy and content? Sorry this one went longer than I thought too…

    • andrew

      I just went through and read Grass is Greener Syndrome – Part 2 and I got spiked at the thought that it’s possible all this time that I’ve just been comfortable and that I don’t love my loving partner and never will. Am I staying for the wrong reasons?

      • Frances

        The goal is to be comfortable, Andrew. This means you have securely attached. From your comments it sounds like you have a bit more learning and reading to do 🙂 I say this to comfort you, not to make you feel like you’re not doing enough. Like learning any new skill, it’s a slow process to re-learn love. Do you have the Break Free course?

        • Andrew

          I do not have the break free course yet, I plan on buying it eventually when I have the money. I’m also just worried that I have to fake and force it, at least that’s what I feel like I’m doing. Which doesn’t make any sense because I don’t know any other me I could be if that makes any sense. I’m worried I’ve just discovered my truth is that I don’t love her deeply and I never will and it’s just taken me this long to realize it. I feel comfortable around her but I feel like something is missing, like I don’t feel confident that I love her or that we have a good time even though we laugh together, I just get back to thinking was that really the real me or was I faking it or changing myself to be what she wanted. I don’t think I am and I hope I’m not. I just want to know I love her because I’ve already been so committed to her for 2 years and we have moved in together recently and plan on getting married in a year or two. Am I just realizing this is the end and I’m sad and anxious about being alone for the first time or is it fear trying to convince me I don’t and can’t love her? And even if I don’t truly love her right now it’s possible to grow that right? I don’t know what’s keeping me here but it’s something, Marybeth it’s a combination of this is all I know, I don’t want to hurt her ever, I want this to work, she’s my first love, my fear of breaking up and starting over and regretting leaving her because she is so loving and supportive and willing to do anything for me and for us. I’ve never ever met anyone more genuine and deep down she’s great and I realize that, I just want to be able to love her, I don’t want to love anyone else. Maybe I’m staying for the wrong reasons?

    • K

      We are literally facing the same thing. I’m with a very genuine, caring, wonderful human being too who let’s me just be and loves me despite all my flaws and anxiety problems. I never expected to be accepted so radically by anybody(she’s literally the only person who knows all my issues and flaws) All she expects from me is love and care. Nothing more. Why I’m a struggling so much with someone so beautiful? And why can’t I just let go of these fears and worries and just experience this loving relationship without judgement. I never had relationship anxiety till I realized how sincere and unconditionally accepting she is. While that touched the core of my soul, it also scared me to bits. I felt naked and exposed. So, a part of me knows this is not really about her or relationship, rather it’s an opportunity to face up to my lifelong fears of closeness, intimacy and anxiety issues. I think it all boils down to making a choice and sticking to it despite the fears. That’s the only way out of fear is through it. I hope to purchase the Break Free course soon, and do this work in a more structured manner. Let’s carry on with this work. Our relationships are definitely worth it. 🙂

  • Frances

    Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of Headspace, on Meditation, Boredom and Pain – https://www.headspace.com/blog/2015/09/02/radio-headspace-35-andy-on-meditation-boredom-and-pain/