When I was 14 I met the love of my life. I am one of the lucky few to have found love so young. We’ve been together 9 years and plan to get married in a couple years or so.
John is wonderful. I love him. I love him so much it seems I spend every waking moment with him. At least this was the case when we were in high school and then again all throughout undergraduate studies (we went to the same schools).
We were in different programs located at opposite ends of the campus but we were adamant about spending as much time with each other as much as possible to maintain a healthy relationship. It was probably more a result of finally being free to physically go out and date without parental restraints (strict traditional Asian upbringing).
Anyways, we ate together, studied together, sat around in silence together – we did everything together.
Problem was this taught us to become too reliant upon each other’s company. His presence was necessary for me to feel calm, and when I wasn’t around he was bored out of his mind.
When we were away from each other it sparked anxiety and it also led to a deep sense of loneliness and longing.
This was especially the case for me when I moved away to another school to complete my post grad program in Guelph. I felt sad constantly when he wasn’t around.
Now Guelph is really not that far away from Toronto and, in reality, we still saw each other like on a biweekly basis so all this seems rather silly in hindsight. I mean honestly, why didn’t we just take up some individual hobbies?
Finally being away from each other for an extended period taught us an abundance of things about ourselves and our relationship that has helped us grow as individuals and as a couple.
These are things I think everyone should think about to help you learn the difference between being alone and being lonely:
Do not define your happiness or yourself by the presence of someone else
You are an individual so invest in your alone time to explore who you are as an independent person. You’re not just his girlfriend. You are a multi-layered person; you’re so interesting on your own! You don’t need someone else to make you whole.
Get to know yourself
Doing so will help you understand who you are and what your own desires, interests and goals in life are. How can you get to know someone else if you don’t know who you are first?
Get a hobby
This goes hand in hand with the previous point. Engage in a stimulating activity that you alone enjoy. Yes, you should have couple activities but setting aside the time to do things you like to do will help you fulfill your own sense of happiness. Be proactive about producing your happiness. After all, having someone in your life is not the only way to be happy. (Besides, not having to drag your partner kicking and screaming to a dance class with you is pretty nice)
Love Your Self
Embrace who you are because once you discover who you are you will have a more fulfilling relationship with everyone in your life, not just your partner. You will glow because you know you are awesome.
I’m young and evidently still naïve with many more lessons to learn, but I’m happy to have finally found myself. Having learned these key life and love lessons, I know I’m on my way to being a happier person who will live a more fulfilling life because I’ve learned to love being alone myself.