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Posted July 22, Reviewed by Davia Sills. In his answerSavage pointed to relentless social pressures, then described three kinds of loners:. The healthiest loners shrug it off and don't search for mates, the complicit loners play along and go through the motions of searching for mates, and the oblivious loners make themselves and others miserable by searching for and landing mates they never wanted. There may be people who fit that description, but they are not loners. They are people who really do want to be romantically coupled and need to figure out how to do it.
There is no need to be judgmental about oblivious loners. Many oblivious loners will not be oblivious forever. Complicit loners, the ones who "play along and go through the motions of searching for mates":. They know what they are doing. They keep going on dates and starting new romantic relationshipsknowing all the while that they want to be alone.
I think social pressure is to blame for complicit loners, just as it is for oblivious loners. The sad truth is that loners are judged harshly by other people—especially those who do not understand the strength and wisdom involved in living the kind of life that is most fulfilling for you, even if it goes against the prevailing cultural norms.
Complicit loners probably realize that judgments would await them if they stopped playing the dating game, so they just keep doing it. They are the best kind of loners. Healthy loners have a lot in common with people I call " single at heart ": those who live their best, most meaningful, fulfilling, and authentic lives by living single. Some people who are single at heart are very sociable people, as are single people more generally.
Rufus, by the way, thinks that people can be loners and still be married. The road to being a healthy loner, if you really are a loner, is self-awareness. Pay attention to how you feel when you are on a date or thinking about going on a date. If you dread dating, not just because the process can be awful, but because you are not all that psyched to end up in a romantic relationship, that may be a that you are a loner.
If you do go on a date and find that you are having a bad time with a good person, and if you never seem to be having a good time no matter what your date involves, that may mean that you would be happier and more comfortable on your own. What if you do get involved romantically, and the relationship ends? If one of your strongest reactions is a feeling of relief, if you are so very happy to go back to your uncoupled life, then you may well be a loner.
Embrace that, and you will be the best kind of loner—a healthy loner. If you really want to be romantically coupled, and not just because you know you are supposed to want that, then you should probably keep trying. Bella DePaulo, Ph. Bella DePaulo Ph. Living Single.
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