The dream of the great love-the soul-mate- often intensifies around the festive season. With more social functions to attend, we seem to see loved up couples at every turn: somewhat like a woman who is trying to conceive just sees pregnant women everywhere. Christmas is a time when those who are lonely, in whatever manner, and for whatever reason, feel that loneliness more intensely. Sadly, this is the season when deaths increase sharply, particularly suicide, and when family breakdown is most likely to occur.
Where we ever got the idea that it’s a season of fun and frivolity, is anyone’s guess!
And those of us on dating sites notice an increase in new members: both the recently single and the suddenly lonely.
Most of them are desperately scrambling to get laid for the festive season or pick up a date for New Year’s Eve. At first glance this influx might be seen as an opportunity: new faces mean an increase in the chance that M/S Right might be amongst them. And a NYE date WOULD be a nice idea…
But beware. The chronically lonely do make good dating or even good sexual, material. And loneliness is not, ironically, a good starting point for finding love or companionship Loneliness in itself is no bad thing: in fact it is biologically essential. Recent research in this area has shown this. Humans are the most social of animals. The company of others is vital to survival. Loneliness, like pain, is an indicator; a warning signal. When we feel that which we call loneliness, it is our bodies and brains telling us that we need more of the social company of others of our species. So seeking to alleviate that feeling does not make us pathetic or needy: we are doing what millennia of biological hard-wiring has taught us to do.
The problems occur when we overlay this feeling with cultural narratives. Often, when a single person starts to “feel the feels”, they immediately interpret that as meaning “Find a guy/woman.” “Get into a relationship. “ “Have sex immediately.” Humans are notoriously bad at figuring out what will make them happy.
Sex is particularly troublesome in this regard, as it can feel so instantly comforting. And it can also feel like closeness and intimacy. But we know that, although it CAN be all those things, there is little guarantee. And in the casual arena, it is rarely those things.
I’m certainly not eschewing the casual shag: if you are just horny, or in need of some skin-on- skin, then go get ‘em tiger! No judgements here. Tie some tinsel on it if you like and Merry Christmas to you. Just don’t take the casual, festive shag as being the love of your life. And don’t expect it to assuage your loneliness. We can all get very reactive around the festive season: it hits all kinds of nerves and triggers all manner of old, unpleasant, stuff. It can be difficult to even name our own feelings. So it’s quite understandable that we should grab hold of instant comfort in the form of a date. Sadly, though, the casual hook-up is very likely to make us feel worse in the long-run. It has a come-down just the way alcohol and other drugs do.
So possibly what us lonely singletons need to do this season is to take some space. Although it can feel horridly uncomfortable to sit with bad feelings, this is often the way to dissipate them quickly. Lean into the loneliness and allow your clever, human mind, to show you what you need. Eat some pudding. Sing some silly carols. Watch crap TV. Embrace the daggy, uninspiring down-time of Christmas and know that you will come out the other side a stronger and more content human being.
And that makes you far more attractive to your gender of choice. And far more likely to make some fabulous dating decision in the New Year.
May 2017 bring you the companionship, love and/or mind-blowing sex your heart and body desire.