1. After sixty years of loneliness, I feel such a strong disconnect from the rest of humanity that my whole existence seems like a complete mistake
I never had any major friendships in elementary school, or high school, or college. Everyone who came into my life drifted out of it again just as easily and permanently.
I’m not ugly. I am not weird, necessarily. I am just… nothing. You would see me and think I am just another old man. You would assume I probably have a wife, kids, grandkids waiting for me at home. I don’t. Truth is, I have nothing waiting for me at home. Or anywhere else, for that matter. All I have is my own thoughts, and those are my constant companion from which I cannot escape.
When I was in my early twenties I had moments where I could go to a party, even alone, or a bar or gathering or whatever and get pissed drunk… and I would be sociable, if only for a night. I would feel human, however briefly. Then I sobered up and the feeling left me. By the time I reached my late twenties, I couldn’t even do that anymore… no matter how much I would drink, I would still feel lost, out of place, uneasy… and I lost the only clutch I could have had.
Nothing gives me joy. But on the up side, nothing gives me too much pain anymore either. I wish I had what my peers growing up had… but I never did.
At times it kills me to imagine all my high school bullies, as well as that silent minority who either looked down or me or simply wasn’t aware of my existence, now has a much more rewarding life than I do… at times it kills me that I still think of them, while I am sure none of them ever think of me.
As I approach my 65th birthday I cannot help but imagine how life could have been… had I not be, well, me. But I am me. Shy, insecure, introverted me. Useless me, who, even at his most sociable and daring, never did well enough to leave a lasting impression, forge a lasting, meaningful relationship or friendship.
I sometimes look up my old batch mates and I see what their lives are like. They go fishing with their grandsons. They sit beside lakes with their wives and husbands balancing wine glasses in their hands. They age gracefully, beautiful white hair glistening in the sun, they visit Italy with their partners, get their picture taken amid Greek ruins and ancient building sites. They enjoy their golden years while I never even had a single golden second.
2. I’m a broken person. I haven’t experienced all the “life-essential” moments that almost everyone my age has gone through. I’ve never had lasting friends who keep in touch, never mind a romantic partner.
While I barely leave my house, on my long commutes to school I get to see the outside people. Everyone has something going on for them, everyone is perfect. The guys all have their hip hairstyles, the girls all wear the same fucking white Adidas trainers with three stripes. By now I’ve become so toxic that I actually despise normal people.
Where are all the other lonely defective people? Are we really that much of a minority? Or am I the minority of a minority?
I don’t mean this as a self-pity kind of thing, but I’ve come to the realization that even most other FA are better people than me. Some of you have money, others are actually socially capable, and some are even intelligent and perhaps attractive. Some of you have friends, while who I call my “best (and only) friend” is a person I only talk to every few months. Had I never met that person, I don’t know what would keep me away from total insanity.
I tried to join the ForeverAlone discord channel, but I couldn’t even begin to talk. It’s crushing recognizing people who post in this very subreddit by their username, and then realizing that they actually can work their way around a live conversation. I mentally shut down during live conversations, and now avoid them both IRL and online.
The worst was visiting the “ForeverAloneDating” subreddit. While that place is meant for FAs such as myself, most of the people posting there are what I would call “normal” from what they describe in their posts. If I can’t compete with other FAs who are supposed to be the minority, how could I with the majority?
The biggest problem with all this is that I don’t see any way to fix the way I am. Growing up most of my life from my bedroom has made me a fundamentally damaged person, and not only I don’t know how to fix it, I don’t think I even want to get healed. Being broken is now part of me and if I fix the brokenness, nothing else remains.
But I’m worried that this is an endless cycle. The fact that I’m lonely makes me avoid more people, adding to the loneliness problem even further. A cycle that will only end either by a miracle, or when I reach my last day.
A few days ago I watched a documentary about the Japanese hikikomori. It was like seeing a prophecy of my own future: dying alone in their room and having people scoop up forgotten remains after weeks of decomposing away on the floor.
There is no meaning to unobserved life. You could cure cancer, create the most beautiful artwork, and build a rocket to the moon, but if there is no one to share the experience with, its meaning sums to nothing.
Living as FA is meaningless.
What’s the point in living a meaningless life?
3. I remember when I was 14 and 15 worrying about never finding a girlfriend and having no one interested in me. I used to google “15 and never had a girlfriend” and used to talk to a friend about how I’ll never find anyone. He assured me this wouldn’t be the case.
If that child knew that 23/24 year old me was still struggling to even get a woman to look at him—let alone date him or have sex with him—he’d have just given up all hope on trying to find anyone and focused on his studies, career, and earning money. But I don’t even have that to be honest, because I’m a graduate who has been in retail for 2 1/2 years whilst I’ve had friends get good jobs and girlfriends. I just go to work, go to the gym, go out with friends where possible (but since they’re getting girlfriends and getting older they’re drifting away anyway), go to a bar by myself, play video games, write on my blog, and occasionally hike. I do most of my hobbies alone.
People tell us this isn’t a big deal but it fucking is. I’m always hearing about dating and relationships. I’m always having to read and hear about sexual escapades and the things people do when they like each other. If these things weren’t a big deal then very few people would do these things.
I go through periods where I give up and keep trying, but the periods of trying are far more painful because it reminds me how far gone I am. Giving up is the path of least resistance for me and while I wouldn’t say I’m happy, I’m not sad or painfully depressed from trying and not getting anything out of it. Being on this earth for nearly a quarter of a century and having a firm grasp of my attractiveness to women has made me realise that the only way to find someone is through sheer luck, and that the only way to get laid is to pay for it (which I am ashamed to say that I am considering). I’ve tried cutting down on jerking off because I want to disassociate my brain from sex as much as possible and I’ve decreased my social media usage and social contact because the pain of hearing what other people are doing with their lives makes me sink deeper.
Life’s too fucking long. I’m approaching my mid 20s and it already feels like I’ve rotted away from the inside. It’s not that I’m currently suicidal but it’s like I would certainly like to kill whatever is inside me that wants a relationship and sex. These things have been my main source of misery and suffering and it’s clear to me that I don’t think I’ll find these things. What cruel mechanism of nature wired it to be so that I endlessly crave something I can’t get?
Fuck the world.
4. An endless bleak vista. It is absolutely a big deal, when one is missing out on one of the fundamental human experiences in love and affection.
I am not a socialiser. I have never been the life of the party and I don’t really want to be. But I do want to matter to just one person. But the older one gets, where do you start from? So many youthful experiences have gone completely by. And I can also empathise with you on the vagaries of education. I too believed the falsehoods. I thought that working hard even in a humanities field would count for something at least, even applying for jobs not in my study field, but I was totally off the mark. I wasted my best years on nothing, just to work a low-paying office job utterly unrelated to my degree. Meanwhile semi-alcoholics who barely passed their business exams land the six-figure jobs.
Unfortunately I can’t say it gets better. The worst part about breaking out of FA, which I managed to do for 5-6 months at 25 (it was just luck), is that all the fears many FA’ers hold are completely grounded. You will be judged by your partner and her friends for your bland life, and physical intimacy will be a terrifying experience. You will be among normal people, but never really one of them, and you can be exiled at their convenience. No one will be patient with you while you learn to become a human being. And the familiar pain of being alone will now be amplified by grief you never felt before, as they all move on and you remain.
People say that you’re young, you still have time to learn and find someone. Maybe biologically that is so. But in my heart I don’t feel young anymore, just weary and cold and prematurely aged. I never wanted an extravagant or globetrotting or adventurous relationship. Just someone to share a meal and a conversation and an evening walk. But I failed to even accomplish that, and it is now too late to try and fix my damage, and I don’t think it can be done alone. And we shouldn’t have to do it alone when so many others don’t.
Anyway, this is mindless Friday night rambling on my part; just wanted to say I understand where you’re coming from, OP. If I can say one thing, be proud of the work you put into your body and mind, much more than I could achieve.
5. Hey young people…
At 43 nearing 44, I can tell you something.
If you’re under 40 – get busy. Don’t waste time. Figure out what you want. Fast. Don’t make excuses.
You probably know deep down what you want, and how you want to be perceived. You’re just too chicken to get on with it.
Let me tell you what happens if you don’t. You get caught in a vortex of emotions. Ten years later, you wake up, staring across the office at someone who is absolutely gorgeous. Someone who is perfect. Someone who is 36, and absolutely wants nothing to do with you.
You get the exquisite agony of knowing that you will most likely never find anyone. You get the pain of being alone in an apartment with your pet struggling to understand why you’re so broken hearted. And pets can sense that stuff. And no amount of their attempts at affection will be enough.
You will slowly have a darkness take over. It will creep into every decision you make. It will permeate every part of your life. You’ll see your siblings happily married, and you’ll want to just lay down and wait for your broken heart to stop beating.
I was so much happier when I was younger. Things were promising. I felt like I had time. Now I have none.
Don’t be me. I hate myself every minute of every day. I don’t want to exist anymore. But like the Ancient Mariner, I just keep going on… and on… on a sea with no wind. Water everywhere… not a drop to drink.
Youth is so unbelievably important. And getting a foothold as early as you can is even more important.
I failed in life. I’m now doomed to carry a broken heart around until the day I die.
Don’t be me. Fight. Try.