Original Link : https://medium.com/@crystaljackson/on-troubleshooting-loneliness-a5cbadc8b44

I love my single life. There are so many more benefits to being single than people like to think. After the last relationship, I wasn’t exactly interested in hunting down another one. While I’m open to it, I’m enjoying this time to myself. I’m focusing on living the kind of life I enjoy and investing in my own interests. I would, however, be lying if I didn’t admit that there are a few surprising things that I miss about relationships.

Not being the sort of person to just sit around and wait for someone else to give me what I need, I decided to make a list of ways to troubleshoot the things I miss and find a way to get those needs met. To be honest, it started out as a joke. I missed the boyfriend hoodie so I joked that I would just buy one and spray a man’s cologne on it. Problem solved!

I do love to be in a relationship where I can lay claim to my significant other’s shirt and essentially live in it. Wearing it around the house and sleeping in it can be a comfort. What started as a joke became an idea. What if we could take all those things we miss about being with someone and find a way to give ourselves some semblance of it on our own?

A list began to take shape in my head. I know it’s not the perfect answer. The perfect answer is that we meet someone of the soul mate variety who meets these needs so we don’t have to. It’s what we want, isn’t it?

Sometimes it is. But the truth is that it’s not other people’s jobs to fill what’s missing in our lives, and most significant others aren’t going to meet every single need we have. Although, I should insert, in a healthy relationship needs will be communicated and efforts will be made. But while we’re single, can we troubleshoot the loneliness?

It’s an imperfect list, and it just started off the top of my head, but here goes:

I miss cuddling. There are lots of things I can do for myself without the benefit of a relationship. Cuddling isn’t really one of them. A body pillow isn’t quite convincing. My budget doesn’t run to a robot that would just hold me, nor does that sound remotely appealing. I also don’t happen to have professional cuddlers in my area, and yes, that is a thing.

Solution? Hug your friends. Be that weirdo who hugs a beat or two too long if that’s what you need. Your good friends will understand and probably tease you about it, too. Or get a FWB where cuddling is included. Another option is to get a weighted blanket. It’s not exactly cuddling, but it is supposed to help with feelings of anxiety.

I miss having another person breathing next to me in the bed. While I’m sure I could easily play pre-recorded breathing sounds, that just creeps me out. Sometimes I sleep easier when someone else is there.

Solution? We can get under to get over. That’s a tried and true method. But when we just miss that breathing next to us, we can remind ourselves that sometimes the breather snored. And hogged the blankets or took up space in the bed. A few small reminders can make me appreciate the free space in my king size bed.

I miss having my back rubbed or a hand playing with my hair. My ex could never understand the hair thing, but I don’t have a single girlfriend who doesn’t love that.

Solution? Sometimes, I can talk my kids into doing it. They think it’s good fun to play with my hair or pat my back. But I can also get a massage, use a back scratching tool or hand held massage tool at home, or head to the salon for a good hair wash and blow out. No, it’s not the same. But it’ll do in a pinch.

I miss going out on dates or having someone bring me flowers. I miss the little things that say someone I care about was thinking about me.

The solution here is easy. I consider myself. I take myself out or buy myself flowers. I remember that I have value and celebrate it myself.

There are a lot of little things I sometimes miss about having a romantic relationship. I miss being kissed every day. I miss having someone’s shoulder I could actually lean on when I needed to, although I rarely seem to allow myself to lean. I miss being taken care of when I’m sick or having someone to be there with me when something wonderful- or terrible- happens with my children so that I don’t have to experience everything alone. I miss small things like having a toothbrush beside my own and someone else’s shoes by mine at the door. As a mom, I get lots of toothbrushes beside mine and lots of little shoes everywhere- but it’s not the same.

I think having the balance of another person can be missed, but I’ve also come to value the balance I can bring to my own life. Most of the challenges of being single have a solution, if we’re creative. So much of the time, we find ways to meet our own needs. It becomes a good time to get to know ourselves, our values, and what we want for our lives. It becomes breathing space to explore our own independence. Sure, sometimes we miss things about relationships, and there’s no shame in that. But if we put our minds to the task, there are many challenges we can circumvent if we’re willing to think outside the box.

Maybe there will be a day when someone else meets those needs, and we don’t have to work so hard to troubleshoot the kinds of things we miss. But in the meantime, we don’t have to sit around feeling lonely and allowing needs to go unmet. When we’re meeting our own needs, we’ll be less likely to settle for just anyone who comes along and offers to fill that space in our lives, and we can remember that we are worthy of love and affection, too.