As a teenager I have been guilty of constructing in my mind, the image of the perfect woman. I am sure I am not the only person who is guilty of doing this. I would venture to say, most of us have some kind of list of what we think a potential partner should have. For some of us, our expectations are realistic, have a decent income, perhaps a non-smoker, etc. For some of us though, our expectations are a bit too detailed. In our minds we construct a caricature of a real person, like a Barbie doll, something that could never exist in real life but in fantasy is appealing.
If you ask the average lonely person, what do you need to cure your loneliness, most would agree with the 67% of respondents and say, having a romantic partner. The thought is, if I just had that one special person in my life, someone who would understand and love me, then my loneliness would disappear into thin air. In fact, back in 1976, when one of the founding loneliness researchers, Robert Weiss started his work, he found a similar phenomenon in a single parents group he was working in. He said that having that romantic attachment almost seemed like an "anti-loneliness" pill. By magic, falling in love made loneliness vaporize into thin air. The problem with falling in love though is that it doesn't last. In fact the brain is playing lots of tricks on you for you to fall in love. One of those tricks is that you tend to ignore all of the bad/incompatible traits in your partner when you are in that "cloud 9" stage. Once things cool down, you begin to notice all of those traits you had previously ignored. Another trick is that what appears to be love at the beginning of a relationship is in fact something else entirely. If you think about people in abusive relationships who grow up in a household with abusive relationships, you sometimes wonder, why is it, someone would choose to date/marry someone as abusive as their parent was. The reason is that familiarity is often mistaken for love.
I think when 67% or more of you say, a romantic relationship would cure your loneliness, you're not talking about a romantic relationship with someone with lots of emotional baggage or who needs things you are unwilling to provide. When you imagine a romantic relationship, you are imagining the Cinderella fantasy, a Prince Charming (or Princess Beauty) coming to rescue you from the abyss of loneliness you currently reside in. The trouble is the expectations can be unrealistic, people are going to fail you, and you will not have all of your needs met. In fact, even if you did get someone to "rescue" you, you're still not going to be happy. The illusion of perfection only exists in your head. Try putting those expectations on someone and watch that relationship crumble.
So, if you're lucky enough to find a partner, as my blog title asks, now what? Yes, your loneliness is going to disappear probably for three months, maybe longer. And then it's going to come back. If you had trust issues before, you're still going to have trust issues in your relationship. If you had communication issues before, it isn't going to magically disappear. If you really want to get rid of your loneliness permanently, you have to work on your own issues without expecting your romantic partner to do it for you. Romantic partners are exactly that, partners, they aren't your therapist or your parent that never loved you and quite frankly they can never be. You need to love yourself, to be content in your own skin, to be brave enough to be vulnerable before you can partner up with anyone. Otherwise, you're just setting yourself up for disappointment.