Love your loneliness

Stigmatization surrounding people who crave relationships are problematic



Surprisingly, in a society where love is at the forefront of socializing, we are ridiculed for feeling incomplete without it.

JUSTIN WASHINGTON, Evergreen research editor

I am 19 and have never dated. Cue the violins.

A friend told me a couple weeks ago that romance is a social construct. I would say that is mostly true. After all, we do not necessarily need romantic love. It is a mere desire. 

In that case, romantic love is not necessary for our survival. However, it can certainly help. For example, being in a healthy relationship with someone helps us live longer

But really, love is vastly overplayed in society. We make it seem as though romance is our only purpose in life when that is not the case. 

Despite knowing this, I cannot help but continue to pursue it. Why?

Because contrary to what others think, I believe love is a need no matter the form. Love motivates us. If we do not feel loved and we do not love ourselves, we see no reason to fulfill our basic needs.

But why is romantic love such an important thing when love from family and friends is just as good? For that, I would argue two things: longevity and physical touch.

Families seldom stay connected, friends even less so. People move away, find new people to bond with, get caught up in commitments or just simply lose interest in old friendships. This can happen with romantic relationships, but the bond is a little stronger.

Most friendships last months at best. To truly establish a long-lasting connection with others is rare. This is how it is in my case, at least. Most of my friends end up becoming too busy for me or they just move on and find new friends. 

At least with a relationship, you not only have an easier chance of establishing a strong bond, but it is likely to last longer.

Physical touch is another important thing for humans to experience for a variety of reasons, though we do not often get it from family and friends. A romantic partner, on the other hand, is more inclined to offer cuddling or physical bonding more regularly.

These aspects of romantic relationships make us crave love. When we are deprived of said things, we experience loneliness. It is an emotion that many of us feel.

I am not alone in this view. Hunter Kearns, sophomore history education major, is a bisexual man who is currently dating. However, he experienced loneliness when he was single.

“Before my relationship, I was certainly lonely. It wasn’t a big deal to me at the time, and to be fair it wasn’t a main goal of mine, but a feeling of isolation in general was there,” he said. “It was only after I’d been in a healthy relationship that I really realized the full extent of that isolating feeling, when that feeling was finally gone.”

Kearns also said that his experience as a bisexual person made him feel increasing feelings of loneliness because of the stigmatization surrounding the LGBTQ community.

“That can definitely heighten feelings of isolation, as part of my very identity is being examined and pointed out as, essentially, a character flaw,” he said.

Harrison Farnsworth, freshman business marketing major, is another queer individual who is currently dating. However, he recognizes pressure to be in a relationship is high around ages 18 to 20.

“I think that it’s hard to know where to look if you want a relationship,” he said.

Not everyone is lucky enough to be in a romantic relationship. It can be a crippling experience to feel lonely, especially when there is constant societal pressure from romantic songs, movies, and poetry.

Loneliness can best be described as a silent crisis occurring in our society. It is a real thing that many people experience. It is just not brought up as much because society does not like addressing it.

I have been ridiculed for bringing up my feelings of loneliness and my desire for a relationship and I personally feel pathetic for it. It does not feel good when I cry after reading a romance novel or get depressed after seeing a couple interact with each other.

But at this point, I am not looking for a solution as much as I am looking for acceptance. Some people do not desire romance and that is perfectly okay. However, the ones that are looking for it receive judgement and negativity from others.

This is where people need to learn to agree to disagree. Some think that wanting a relationship is dumb or unproductive. It is okay to feel that way, but it should not invalidate the feelings of those who do want a relationship. They are entitled to their feelings too.

With that, I will always be looking for a relationship, but I will also be looking for the guilt-free opportunity to say: “I am lonely, and it is okay for me to feel that way.”