It would seem impossible for someone to confuse loneliness with love when they mean the complete opposite. Wikepedia defines loneliness as "a feeling in which people experience a strong sense of emptiness and solitude . . . [s]omeone who is lonely may find it hard to form strong interpersonal relationships." Love, on the other hand, is described as "a number of emotions related to a sense of strong affection, and is a"major facilitator of interpersonal relationships."
But it happens.
Laura stayed with Donnie believing she loved him, when she was actually, afraid to be alone. "At first it was exciting and I thought I really did like him, but then I realized that I wasn't happy with him." "He made me feel bad about myself, but I stayed with him for six months because being with him also made me feel that I wasn't alone." Laura knew it was better for her in the long run that she broke it off with Donnie. However, having had no serious relationship in over a year, she craved Donnie's attention, even if was bad attention.
Amy lost a good friend. "I knew James like me more than just a friend, and I knew it wasn't the same for me, but I went out with him anyway because I was lonely." I remember he waited for me to get out of work and there was this big full moon out, I would see in his eyes how much he loved me, and in that moment, I wished I did." Amy sadly continues, "It went on for tow more months and then I took the chicken way out and told him I thought he was too good for me, I told him that he would find someone better -which was true, but I never owned up to using him."
"Loneliness acts like love where it makes you do things with and for someone else that you would have never done before because it goes against the type of person you are," says Tina. Tina as a brother and sister that she attended college with - away from their parents. "I had to keep a lot of things from Steph and Michael because I didn't want my parents to find out I was with this guy." "I never lied to them or my parents before." Tina would sleep at this guy's apartment for weeks on end and make excuses. "I told my sister I got a stomach ache and that was why she didn't see me coming out of class." "I would then lie to my parents that both Steph and Mike were mistaken or exaggerating about how much I really was disappearing off the face of the earth." "Honestly, there wasn't anything special about him, he was just there." "Everyone thought I was fine, but I was really, very lonely - I wanted a boyfriend and I took who came along."
Julie slept around, a lot. "I knew there was something off when I ran into a guy and couldn't remember whether he one of the guys I slept with." Julie convinced herself it was okay because she controlled who she slept with. She was a sexually liberated woman. It wasn't the promiscuousness that she would have a falling of of conscience with, it was when she realized she was sleeping with these men to fill a void. "I had lost my father when I was really little, and I was always looking for a man to instantly love me and be there."
Lori had the same problem as Julie when she spent the night with a man after three years of having had no dates. "I didn't sleep with him until after a month of him pursuing me and going on four dates, but my loneliness made me act out after I thought I loved him - after four dates!" He made the mistake of not calling her the morning after, but had told her he would be busy with work. "At this point, I told all my friends what a womanizer he was and then put him on blast on all the social networking sites." Lori took it further and ignored his calls the next day. "I couldn't hate him for not returning or answering my calls for the week after that . . . he must have thought I was the craziest, most psychotic woman he ever ran into."
Although loneliness made these five women act out in different ways, they all shared the same regret at hurting someone, whether it was a man or themselves. Speaking to and knowing these women, it was apparent that on some level, they each knew what they were doing. The only flaw was that they couldn't fully recognize it until it was too late. By sharing their experiences, they hope that you won't confuse loneliness for love.
So confusing loneliness for love happens. But love also happens. Stay tuned for real life stories of love to come next week in time for Valentine's Day.