No Man Is An Island

I live in a foreign country with my partner of over a year (his country). Prior to meeting him, I had a few dependable and loyal expatriate friends, as well as some native friends, all of whom I considered part of my social support group. I was actively involved with a network of people who shared my interests and thought that I was more than just a foreigner in their eyes.

Things changed when one of my closest friends, a member of the hub of my shared interests group, told me not to date my current partner. To this day, I have no idea what that was all about, as my partner is nothing short of kind and sensitive. However, after that, a distance grew between us, and as a result, the rest of that network. I stopped being active, essentially isolating myself but not knowing how else to handle their growing indifference. I fully realized how disposable and replaceable I am when an acquaintance--an obnoxious expatriate--took my place as the entertaining foreigner and they forgot me completely.

My close expatriate friends moved away, and I changed jobs. I make less money now, and am more cut off from the expatriate community--partially by choice, and partially because of the financial limitations to my social life.

Now, I'm miserable here. I drive my partner crazy because he's busy with his life, while mine has faded away. I'm lonely, isolated, and am worried that it's not the situation--it's me. I keep looking back at my life and see patterns of drawing away from people for whatever reason, especially when I'm in a relationship, and then only remedying the situation by relocating geographically.

I wish I had a group of dependable, loyal friends who share a history and interests with me. I never had that in high school, I thought it would develop in uni but my uni friends have faded away, and now it's evading me here. Coming from someone else, I'd say, "the common factor is YOU. You're the problem."

I feel like I'm doomed to be lonely and isolated no matter how hard I try to reach out. Outside, I've been described as outgoing and powerful, even charming. But if this were truly the case, then would I be so lonely? I don't THINK I have terrible body odor or strange/a lack of social skills. I try to be affectionate, open, honest, kind, and helpful. I don't gossip, and I try not to be judgmental or rude.

I'm beginning to wonder if I should just accept this as the way it's always going to be. Some people, no matter how many odds are in their favor (socio-economic status, physical health, etc.) just don't make it. Or else they're total sociopaths, but if that were the case, I wouldn't be writing this, would I?

I just wish I didn't WANT true friendship and a community of support. I'm so lonely.
facade facade
26-30, F
14 Responses Apr 14, 2007

Being alone, Is it because we are different that it seems difficult to make friends. I do not understand. I am a professional business woman, who is outgoing, charming, and full of energy. Yet, no matter how hard I try to become part of a group, I am never excepted. I know that I do not go out and get involved in things where i should be able to make some contacts that night share my interest. Yet, I do not go out and get involve in groups. I have tried to go the other way and develop friendships with men. I seem to get along well with them, until the emotions set in. I am not sure. It is so hard and very lonely. <br />
I lived in an Expat community also. I at least a few friends but, it was difficult to get into the clicks.<br />
I do not know.....

Maybe it's not you...it's your partner. My daughters blind alligance to her long-term boyfriend has alienated her old friends (he's moody and unpleasant but she thinks he's marvelous). She put all of her eggs in one basket and has become socially isolated. One friend actually told you not to stay with your partner? and instead of heading their advice, they got frustrated...and moved on. Maybe it's not you...it's your choice in partners. Then it's ciclycal, you loose your only other social conatcts and you become more dependant on your partner, and a realtionship that may night be healthy to begin with....just a thought

My first time here. I read your story. Has anyone heard from the person that wrote the first story? I'd write to her, but I want to hear from her again.

I know exatcly how you feel . I lived in Okinawa japan for 9 years I was11 when we went We lived in a house off base went to a off base school and It was such a culture shock you just never fit in if you want to talk you can.

Hi<br />
I've just been reading through the different responses to your message. I'm sorry for any of those who have lost loved ones, and for that reason I suppose we have to give a by-ball on the person who told you to stop whining. <br />
I know what it's like to be away from home. I've been in Spain for 18 years, with my wife who is Spanish. When you wrote, it was during your first year, and among other things, I imagine you were experiencing something which is well documented and is normally termed 'culture shock'. This is among a number of stress/depressive factors which are recognised in the field of psychology. I hope you have managed to adapt. To tell you the truth, I don't know if we ever feel fully integrated. My dream is to buy a house back home in Ireland and to spend at least part of the year there.<br />
<br />
Good luck<br />
Steve

i know loneliness and it is a dark pit. it is different then depression. no medication in the world will help. the pit get deeper and deeper. you get swallowed up in it.<br />
i too am very lonily

please, stop whining... at least you still have your partner. mine passed away.

vlm6462:<br />
<br />
Consider that much of what is going on with you is not really your fault. I think that today people in general are less likely to bond with others quickly. There are just too many other distractions, thus human relationships are likely to take a back seat. You may need to keep coming up to bat more just to get the hit that, several years ago, might have been easier to get. Secondly, there may be a piece of this that is about you, BUT that does not make you a bad person, neither does that make you unusual. A lot of people are in the same boat, finding it hard to connect. The source of the part of the problem that "may" be within your power to change, may well be connected to your experiences in your family growing up. SOFTLY, and without beating yourself up, consider that and see what you come up with.

Like everyone else has been writing, even though you wrote this 2 years ago your words match pretty well to how I feel right now. I am actually IN uni...and it seems like no matter how hard I've tried to step out of my shell and be kind to others, I've done something that has made them ignore me, stop calling or altogether pretend that I don't exist. I don't understand, I try to figure what it is about me that's so offensive, and I guess because I am shy people become suspicious and unsure of me. I want to open up and just be myself, but it's so much easier to type that than actually do it. <br />
Joining clubs, Toastmasters, whatever it is...I don't think that it exactly dissolves all of your problems. I think that like someone wrote earlier, it really depends on the environment and essentially chance. The chance to meet someone valuable and kind enough to give you the time of day and WANT to know you for you, and not for another addition on their facebook friends list.<br />
I guess that's just pretty rare.

From your writing I can tell that you are a valuable person to know. Your intelligence and sensitivity shine through. No, of course you are not a loser. At the same time, i applaud you for having the courage to llok at yourself frankly and to ask yourself if there might be patterns of pushing people away that you have lived out before in other relationships. That could be the case perhaps, but I assure you that does not make you a bad person. Many of us, myself included, suffer from lifelong habits that tend to allow us to avoid intimacy. yes, but the good news is that you are seeing like you are open to working on it. That makes all the difference. A great friend of mine once told my that "intimacy" means "into me see", Kick that around a little. My dear, you are still young, and have lots of time to work on your limitations. So really isn't that exciting? you have tons of time to hone the craft of just being you. Keep asking yourself the kind of questions you have begun asking yourself. If need be get someone to help you.. perhaps a good therapist, minister, or etc.

i am currently typing to a lady, who says the same. She is in New York. Why don't people EP find actual friends here? Is it worth trying to meet? Honestly i have been considering, but i have not seen a profile from where i am now. Could someone perhaps start a "real" friend group. Being pretty new to online, thought i'd ask/suggest.<br />
alex

Hi there,<br />
<br />
True friendships are pretty rare and hard to make; and even those are fragile because people have their differences, and well .. each of us is different.<br />
<br />
I can relate to your feeling of isolation alot. I have been living in a city far from family and friends for 1 1/2. I work from home - so on most days the most social interaction I get is paying for groceries. I have 2 good friends here, and that's it.<br />
<br />
Anyway I doubt the problem is you specifically - its more likely to be a result of your environment - like it is mine.<br />
<br />
There's also a real difficulty most of us face being alone. At least you have your partner.

i also just noticed this story, and you absolutely must tell me how things have worked out since. your story, is the exact reason i just logged onto this thing to complain. <br />
<br />
i am sitting alone in our apartment in a foreign land, while my partner is out taking care of his life. i have no job here due to legal bullshit, and am looking forward (not) to my fellow expat friends moving away in a month or so. i dont know what to do. i am trying to decide between staying here or going home on my scheduled flight to the US in may. <br />
<br />
my problem is the economy now, and my lack of money/fear of going home with nothing to start with. here on the other hand, my partner will care for me. the exchange i fear, is lonliness, unbearable lonliness. <br />
i have had the same friend making issues as well. im social too, charming even, some say, but seemingly unable to retain solid, meaningful relationships. <br />
maybe this has changed for you since??<br />
<br />
i have a few uni friends left too back in the states, whom im basically afriad i will lose if i dont go back. i guess if their true friends they´ll stick around, but i travel all the time. i do the same **** you described! when things getted strecthed i just relocate...essentially running from the problem i suppose. so i am faced with this dillemma now, do i stay financially sound in hard times and risk entering another dimentia of lonliness, or do i go home to a flippin´struggle to survive albeit twith the company of some quickly fading friends?? expatriatism can be **** sometimes, you know?<br />
<br />
i always thought the problem was me too, as in WTF am i doing wrong?? ive been highly conscious of my interactions with new people, and have been trying desperately to discover what´s missing, but to no avail thus far. i have also occasionally come to the conclusion that this is just how life will be, blah blah blah. <br />
<br />
i dont know. i dont have a solution. just some common ground with you. even though you wrote this entry so long ago, i would really appreciate it if we kept up a correspondence of sorts. i´d like to know how this expat thing plays out for others.

I know this was written quite a while ago-and I hope that things have turned around for you. But I can completely understand where you were coming from. I'm feeling the same way right now and it's HORRIBLE. I'm beginning to wonder if the world has become so calouse that superficial relationships are all that can be expected any more? I hope not. I miss having a truly deep, good, trusting friendship with someone. I feel like I can't open up fully at all anymore and it's tearing me apart. I feel for you-and really, I hope that things are much better now.