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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Couples and Individuals: Alone or Lonely?

Uploaded: Nov 2, 2018
"I feel you beginning to come to grips with your loneliness, which is a necessary thing ? to accept that you are alone, that that is the human condition. Most people spend their lives running away from it, denying it, pretending . . . But in acknowledging it, you acknowledge your fundamental connection to all life.

In a field of flowers, each flower is alone, yet they all share the same sunlight, the same days and nights, the same changes of season. To me, the question is not whether we must be alone, but what we are to do with it. If we bemoan the fact, or avoid it, or feel there's something wrong with us for being as we are, then aloneness becomes loneliness, and is a very painful thing.

But if, on the other hand, we simply accept it, without judgment, then it becomes our point of contact with each other, a source of strength, and the vehicle for developing compassion; then we can transcend the whole issue and get on with the business of living, which is, essentially, enjoying."

My friend Larry Robinson, a retired psychotherapist and former mayor of Sebastopol, CA, wrote this to me almost 33 years ago.

I've been thinking about couples in the context of feeling alone or lonely. As some of you know, feeling lonely in your relationship is incredibly painful. However, knowing you are alone, and choosing to be in relationship ? a secure attachment with your partner ? is life affirming. You can be like sunflowers turning toward the sun; choosing connection and intimacy with your partner each day.

A couple of things come to mind that can get in the way.

The first is that you need to know who you are and how you feel so that you are authentic in your relationship; you have to show up in order to be loved as you are by your partner.

Secondly, your care for each other needs to come from a healthy place of honoring one another. At times you are driven by insecurity, fear of abandonment, or another deeply-seated feeling that leaves you tired and uncertain rather than energized and nourished by your relationship.

Another issue that arises between partners is timing. One of you may awaken to the desire and longing for intimate connection (yes, sex is a subset of intimacy) and your partner hasn't yet. You have to honor each others' timing. What can you do in the meanwhile? Become interested in your own internal life (emotional and mental, and spiritual if that's your way); get your own house in order as it were. Become interested in and curious about your partner. Ask: What are your hopes and dreams? What makes you tick today? What worries keep you awake at night? What are fun things to for us do together? What music do you like now? Who are your closest friends now? When you started dating, you wanted to know everything about each other.

Yes, we are alone. And we have choices.
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