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  • It's not hard to understand the fear of being alone: the empty apartment after work,

  • the eerieness of Sunday afternoons, the sense of exclusion during the holidaysWe know

  • the agonies of being on our own very well. What is far less well understood,

  • is the enormously high price exacted on the other

  • side of the equation. The fear of being alone is perhaps

  • responsible for more unhappy relationships, more throttling of psychological development

  • and more pent up misery than almost any other: it isby any reckoning

  • one of the single greatest contributors to human misery and the driver of some of

  • our weightiest and most unfortunate decisions. If only we were able to get the costs of what

  • is for the most part a simple misapprehension clear in our minds, we might save ourselves

  • a substantial portion of our lives.

  • We can pick out at least seven unnecessary penalties:

  • For a start, and most obviously, people who are afraid of being alone make some very

  • wrong choices around the company they keep. They have no option but to privilege any one

  • over the appropriate one.

  • They don't have the

  • strength to be able to hold outas one mustfor the 20th or 200th candidate.

  • The only souls with any realistic chance of ending up with the partner they deserve are

  • those who have properly reconciled themselves to the prospect of never being with anyone

  • at all. – Being with not quite the right person

  • sounds almost bearable but extended over time, like a proverbial pebble in a shoe, 'slightly

  • wrong' ends up indistinguishable from 'entirely horrific'. No nagging doubt one has ever

  • entertained on a wedding day will fail, with the addition of several years, to become a

  • cause for mind-shattering despair. Every beautiful location we travel to together will be ruined,

  • every promising moment will be trampled upon, every success will be compromised. What may

  • begin as slight fractiousness or tedium winds up as cataclysmic irritation, self-disgust,

  • sexual misery, broken finances and the kind of excruciating loneliness thatironically

  • merely and innocently being 'on our own' would never have the power to generate.

  • Furthermore, when terrified of loneliness, we have no strength to argue for our needs

  • within any relationship. One is always at the mercy of the one who fears loneliness

  • less. Partners develop an advanced sense of the person who has nowhere else to go. It's

  • no use stamping our feet after an argument and saying 'we've had enough' when,

  • in reality, everyone knows that we will never have had enoughso scared are we of having

  • dinner on our own. – What's worse, after time in the wrong

  • sort of company, we tend to develop learned helplessness: every reluctance we once had

  • to be alone grows worse, even as we acquire more experience of what bad company actually

  • means. In our comfortable but deadening captivity, the wild appears more terrifying still: we

  • can't now imagine ever knowing how to change the dishwasher fluid alone, walking into a

  • party by ourselves or taking the initiative to send our nephews birthday presents, so

  • used have we become to using the other to compensate for our weaknesses. We experience

  • none of the bracing, but also educative pressures visited upon the single, who have no choice

  • but to overcome their inhibitions: those brave souls who

  • have to learn how to garden, go on holidays in the

  • mountains, endure empty weekends, call up their mother or cook a chickenand thereby

  • achieve the resilient competence upon which true social discrimination and liberty rest.

  • For those who have too lightly signed away their freedoms, there are sure to be

  • constant, and searing, reminders of what they have foregone. Every party and every walk

  • down a busy street will provide evidence of what might have been, all those potentially

  • fascinating or charming members of humanity they have now forever been disbarred from

  • getting to knowbecause they were so unnaturally scared of having a bed to themselves for a

  • few more years. – It isn't just other people we won't

  • get to know, it's also ourselves. The constant presence of companions stops us from making

  • friends with our own minds, and exploring our feelings and ideas in a way that only

  • extended stretches of solitude allow. We fail to develop our identities, we grow more like

  • everyone else. The chatter outside prevents us from being able to follow the feint but

  • vital dialogue we might otherwise have been able to have with ourselves. We use another

  • person to distract us whenever any slightly painful or challenging internal matter comes

  • into view. There ends up being so much we won't ever really feel or understand about

  • ourselves, so many big questions about our careers and our ultimate purpose that we will

  • ignore, because there was always someone else on hand to chat to about what to order in

  • for dinner. – Worst of all, we might not even be actively

  • miserable after a while. We'll grow used to cosy mediocrity. We won't be curious

  • or restless. We won't dareas the single mustto go up to strangers and risk our

  • pride. We'll stop learning. We'll believe that we've answered our needs completely,

  • but only on the basis of suppressing our knowledge of what our needs really are. We'll have

  • ended up in a conspiracy against uncertainty, novelty and the flux of life.

  • To start to correct everything that stems from this ridiculous fear of being alone,

  • we should from a young age learn that that being alone never means there is something

  • wrong with us, just that we are being appropriately patient, until what truly satisfies us shows

  • up (if it ever does); we have a choice; we have not been punished.

  • We will never

  • learn the true promise of community, discover our own interests or hold out for the connections

  • we deserve until we make genuine peace with the prospect of a life by ourselves.

  • Our online shop has a range of books and gifts that address the most important and often neglected parts

  • of life. Such as finding a good enough partner and mastering the art of confidence. Click now to learn more.

It's not hard to understand the fear of being alone: the empty apartment after work,


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B1 中級 英國腔

我們為害怕孤獨而付出的高昂代價 (The High Price We Pay for Our Fear of Loneliness)

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    Mayu Okuuchi 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日