The loneliest I’ve ever been was actually when I was still dating Luke.
It’s not that Luke ever did anything wrong. He didn’t. If I had gone to him, he would have hugged me and made sympathy noises and then tried to make me laugh. He was better at sympathy than a lot of guys I’ve met since then.
But I didn’t want him.
I didn’t want him to give me sympathy, or hang out with me, or even be with me at all. I didn’t want to be with him. The reason I was still with him at all was because I was so lonely already, and it logically made sense that if I were to break up with my boyfriend, it could only get worse.
Sometimes, though, it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes being with someone you don’t want to be with can be lonelier than actually being alone. Maybe it’s because you know you don’t have to be lonely. If you would just pick up the phone, you could have contact with another human being, guaranteed. But you don’t because you don’t want contact with that human being, and then you are lonely by choice, which is way worse than just having no friends or being too busy to hang out.
And so I was lonely by choice, plus a side of guilt. Just one of the many reasons my freshman year of college sucked so very, very much.