Perhaps you have just experienced the surprise of your life when your spouse came home and told you he was leaving. Or you could be one of the many who has been in a miserable situation that despite all of your efforts didn’t work out. Even if you saw it coming, went to counseling and had your support group on call, nothing prepared you for the tremendous loneliness you now feel.
In my practice I have seen countless mature women revert back to feeling like little girls in the face of a companionless life. Knowing they are not ready to enter the dating scene, and having no desire for going out yet still feeling the need for connection, they feel lost. And often times wind up in situations that they regret terribly later. I have seen the gamut—going to bars just to feel attractive, having rebound sex, or even marrying another person they hardly know.
It’s impossible to ignore how intense the feeling of loneliness is, but if you can keep it in perspective while you’re going through the healing process, you will be able to make decisions from a healthy mindset instead of a hurting one. It’s always better to understand our feelings instead of react to them.
So how do you do that, you ask?
- Remember feelings aren’t facts. Just because you “feel” lonely, doesn’t mean you have to give in to that feeling. I am sure if you took a moment you could list several people in your life who love you and enjoy your company very much. And if you feel you can’t do that, how about spending a little more time with the one who loves you so much that He sent His son Jesus to die for you? Has anyone else ever done that for you?
- Don’t misinterpret the signals. In another lifetime when I was a health and fitness professional, one of the things that clients would complain about is how hungry they always are. My next question was always, how much water have you been drinking and how much sleep are you getting? The argument would ensue: “What does that have to do with it, I’m hungry?” If they were to be completely honest with me and with themselves, they were often just looking for me to give them permission to eat based upon a feeling. A false one at that.
The same holds true for all other feelings. Just like craving food when your body is really dehydrated, we confuse what we truly need and give it a temporary and often harmful fix.
- Hold off on sex. No matter how much you feel you need it, no one has ever died from not having sex. What you are really craving deep down in your soul is connection and intimacy. Remember sex is a God-given expression of a love between husband and wife. You can’t put the cart before the horse. Do you have people in your life that know the real you? I understand that when you’re hurt, it feels hard to let others in, but closing yourself off will not stop the feelings, it will only keep others—good and bad—out.Perhaps you are devoted to staying pure but you long for touch. If you don’t get these needs met, you could hand everything over to the first one to come along and hold your hand and make you feel loved. Touch is a vital part of feeling connected and some temperaments need it more than others. If this is you, consider asking your friends for a hug. Go for a massage. You’ll be surprised at how much this will meet your need for touch and at the same time relax tight muscles.
Feelings change but the Lord always remains faithful. This season will pass. If you long for a new relationship, the Lord knows that and in due time He will bring you the very person to light up your soul. Stay on track, build healthy friendships, and don’t let your feelings decide your actions without some honest reflection first.