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Four Years And Still Lonely


ClaraOlive
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I came all the way out of the closet with my deconversion about four years ago, although I had been a doubter for a long time before that. Since then, my life has changed a lot and mostly for the better. I'm happier and more mentally stable than I ever was as a Christian. I feel nothing but relief in being honest about my atheism. I have absolutely no desire to go back to church or religion.

 

But now that my life has settled down from the initial turmoil of deconversion and I'm just a normal atheist with a normal life, I'm finding that there are a lot of little lonely holes in my life. Even though trying to be a Christian was incredibly stressful and I didn't like a lot of the people I spent time, stress is very time and energy consuming, like a twisted and perverse hobby. I've tried to fill my life with new activities, but feel unsatisfied. Sports groups, volunteering, art classes... you name it, I've tried it. And I'm just failing to connect. When other people talk about feeling lonely and unstructured, I give them that kind of advice too - that they should get involved in more activities, meet more people. But I've tried that, and I feel like I'm dumping myself into these things while getting nothing back, just losing energy and feeling rejected. I'm not generally miserable or depressed - other things in my life are fine, but the longer I'm without friends or community, the more I don't know how to solve it. (I do have a few friends, but it always feels like an ordeal to schedule getting together, arranging activities, etc).

 

Two things that probably don't help - I'm not at all spiritual, and I'm childfree. I've thought about trying to find a pseudo-church situation, such as UU, and once I tried to get into the spiritual side of yoga practice. But the fact is I'm not a believer in spirituality and I don't fake things anymore - I had enough of that as a would-be Christian. The yoga thing just made me feel silly. And then, it seems that most women my age are meeting and connecting through their children. Not only do I not have or want children, I don't enjoy working with children. I really really don't.

 

What I want at this point is just to fit in somewhere where I'm not always trying to get involved in something, meet new people, meet more new people. I just want to BE involved in something instead of always trying to get involved. In some ways, the church was perfect for that, since the structure was already there. I'm mostly just venting - I know that many people my age who've had to start over with friends (I lost most of my old friends when I deconverted) and social groups feel similarly. I was just hoping that by now, four years later, it would have gotten easier.

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I was part of an atheist group for a while, but found it frustrating because it seemed like the atheists wanted to spend all their time complaining about Christianity. I'm still really burned out on ex-Christian and rationalist type stuff, I was really deeply involved in it right when I leaving Christianity and it became exhausting. This one forum is all the involvement I have because I've been here so long and don't want to lose touch even though no one really knows me here. I don't want to talk about Dawkins or whether atheists have social responsibilities or why Christianity is false. This just isn't enjoyable to me anymore. Also, the closest group like that to me right now is an hour away, and I don't feel like that's close enough to be a good source of community or friendships.

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I have had similar experiences. All I can tell you is keep looking until you find a group you 'click' with. What worked for me was getting more and more into nature study (which I see has an extension of my naturalism/atheism) and getting involved with other people who are passionate about nature, birds, and now I work at a National Park. The people are good, the work is fulfilling, and I feel happier in so many ways than ever before. Never give up; never surrender! Find out what you're truly passionate about and follow that bliss. Everything else will fill in.

 

And of course, internet groups like this one are good too. ;-)

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I have no advise for you. I can only tell you of my experience. I have grown to enjoy 'lonely'. I was so burnt out from the stimulation of way too many people and activities in my life. When I feel the need to be with people, I go to the mall or bookstore and just take in all the 'noise' for an hour or two. I feel 'part of the world' when I do this. I am going to a crowded beach today with a book. I love to 'people watch' and take in all the noise, but then I want my alone time again.

 

I couldn't live without the internet, 'you-tube lectures', information and this site. I am so lucky because when I am on this site (everyday!:grin: ) I truly 'feel' as if I am with my friends. I don't want the bowling teams, and all that anymore. I just need a few good friends in my life who I share common bonds with.

 

I wish I could help, But I know that we humans are smart enough to know individually what we need and go after it somehow.I know you will find what it takes to fill that little empty hole. You sound like a nice person to me. Keep posting for awhile until you find what it is that you are after. We are here for you. With all sincereity................Best wishes for you

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I had similar problems because I had been involved in the church for so long when I quit going to church that left a big hole in my life. I was used to doing something and now the schedule had changed and I thought I was going to go crazy before i found a hobby to take up my time. I make ugly knives and torture my banjo until it cries and I have to put it up. Finding something to do can be tough. If you want to fill in your time with people you could be a volunteer at the local hospital or VA hospital. I don't know your age but if you are in your 50s you may want to work at the Senior Center. I'm not the volunteer type for being a daily volunteer, that wipes me out physically and mentally too much. I like to volunteer my kid, that's how I volunteer. Need painting, mowing, shopping? take this kid with you. He works for food. Cuts down on my food bill too. If he does a good job, throw in a pair of size 12 shoes too! My kid is becoming a mutant. His feet are outgrowing his body size! Who in the hell but my kid is 5'6" with size 12 shoes? I told him if his feet kept growing he was going to have to park his shoes in the damned driveway, next to the house, behind the car. I want them damned shoes moved every morning before I have to get in the car to go to the liquor store! If you see a giant tennis shoe laying in the street all by itself, you know my kid's been down your street. He uses a skateboard and still loses his shoes! I said, 'damn boy! How the hell can you use a skateboard and NOT know when a shoe comes off?' He says with a shrug, 'I dunno!' How does all this tie into your problem? I have no idea.

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But now that my life has settled down from the initial turmoil of deconversion and I'm just a normal atheist with a normal life, I'm finding that there are a lot of little lonely holes in my life. ...I've tried to fill my life with new activities, but feel unsatisfied. ... I'm not generally miserable or depressed - other things in my life are fine, but the longer I'm without friends or community, the more I don't know how to solve it. (I do have a few friends, but it always feels like an ordeal to schedule getting together, arranging activities, etc).

 

Two things that probably don't help - I'm not at all spiritual,...

 

What I want at this point is just to fit in somewhere where I'm not always trying to get involved in something, meet new people, meet more new people. I just want to BE involved in something instead of always trying to get involved. ...- I know that many people my age who've had to start over with friends (I lost most of my old friends when I deconverted) and social groups feel similarly. I was just hoping that by now, four years later, it would have gotten easier.

 

I'm partial to Jack Cornfield's book title After the Ecstasy, the Laundry (even though his book was of little help). Translated that means, for me at least, that on the other side of my rancor, there is much Laundry. Now that the fighting has subsided, what next!

 

I ask, "Where does one go when just one more thing or just one more group or just one more friendship isn't enough?" I don't know that I exactly "go" anywhere or even "do" anything. For me, now, it's less about doing and more about "undoing." It's less about the "search" and more about where I have "arrived," that is, where I am now.

 

I know on a deep level that just one more damn thing is not going to do it any longer!

 

I ask, what are the contours of these "little lonely holes in my life" that have me so conflicted and incomplete. What is this radical "pulling away " from "out there" all about? What is it about the "randomness of my life" that eats at my courage to be satisfied. All of this, that is, all of what these question represent are the Laundry.

 

In the Biblical Myth "manna" represented the link to "the energy of life." There is no "manna." There is no Totem. Now what? Laundry!

 

In the Biblical Myth the Taboo was not to "know for yourself." I broke that Taboo and left, on my own accord, the Garden of the authority. What did I expect? More Laundry!

I risk feeling guilt and shame for breaking the Taboo of authority and trashing the link to "the energy of life.". I decide facing guilt over the shame of not knowing for myself, who and what I am. Now that the guilt and shame of "leaving" are manageable, did I really expect a "secular miracle" for doing so. Did expect another "miracle?"

 

If (and that's is a big IF) there is any truth in the Biblical Myth it is this: "you will know, for yourself that you will surely die!" The wisdom of what it means to be truly human seeps past all the fantasy. And I'm somehow surprised and lonely!

 

How do I understand that there is no split dividing the nothing seen from the nothing that is now deeply felt?

 

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry!

 

We both may be in the midst of defining for ourselves the meaning of "spirited living." I some how have the notion that it "ain't" just "out there."

 

Tilich said "without the depths there is no hope." Without doing the Laundry there is......?

 

a fellow struggler

saner

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Thanks to everyone who replied. It seems like something that a lot of people everywhere struggle with at some point, and it's exacerbated after leaving a church and Christian friends. But it also seems that previously, most of the discussion is about how to cope with the first few months of losing community - and then we assume that once that first hard part is done, the person can just go join another group and meet new friends, the end.

 

I'm definitely not burnt out from too much stimulation. When I am out doing activities or with people, I'm happy and revitalized. However, I'm not socially extroverted. I don't love talking and being affectionate to new people, I'm not the person who walks into a crowd and comes away with 50 new friends, and the idea of that isn't fun to me. I love DOING things with people. I liked socializing in college because you didn't need to know someone very well before you started DOING things together - simple things like walking to breakfast every day or studying at the library. You didn't have to keep all that stuff in an appointment book. And that would have been the good thing about the church structure, if I had liked going to church, that you could always just show up there.

 

Now I live pretty far from most the local friends I do have, about 40-90 minutes from friends I see maybe once a month, and 30 minutes from a weekly group. I'm going to be taking some grad classes in the fall, and I hope that satisfies some of my desire for community. I think it's assumed that people my age (29) are "supposed to" be finding community in family and children. I imagine that I'll find what I'm looking for when I'm old enough to move into an 55+ neighborhood, and my neighbors and I will have tea and go to the country club and compare our gardens and drive around on our blinged out golf carts :)

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Thanks to everyone who replied. It seems like something that a lot of people everywhere struggle with at some point, and it's exacerbated after leaving a church and Christian friends. But it also seems that previously, most of the discussion is about how to cope with the first few months of losing community - and then we assume that once that first hard part is done, the person can just go join another group and meet new friends, the end.

 

I'm definitely not burnt out from too much stimulation. When I am out doing activities or with people, I'm happy and revitalized. However, I'm not socially extroverted. I don't love talking and being affectionate to new people, I'm not the person who walks into a crowd and comes away with 50 new friends, and the idea of that isn't fun to me. I love DOING things with people. I liked socializing in college because you didn't need to know someone very well before you started DOING things together - simple things like walking to breakfast every day or studying at the library. You didn't have to keep all that stuff in an appointment book. And that would have been the good thing about the church structure, if I had liked going to church, that you could always just show up there.

 

Now I live pretty far from most the local friends I do have, about 40-90 minutes from friends I see maybe once a month, and 30 minutes from a weekly group. I'm going to be taking some grad classes in the fall, and I hope that satisfies some of my desire for community. I think it's assumed that people my age (29) are "supposed to" be finding community in family and children. I imagine that I'll find what I'm looking for when I'm old enough to move into an 55+ neighborhood, and my neighbors and I will have tea and go to the country club and compare our gardens and drive around on our blinged out golf carts :)

 

 

I remember at age 27 thinking, OMG, I need to be married and have kids! I was a social introvert and could not see marriage or even a girlfriend in my lifetime. At 28 I got married to a woman with 3 kids. :) At some point I began to think being single and lonely wasn't that bad after all, but life was good. :) When you are ready you will know what you want and you will find it.

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I remember at age 27 thinking, OMG, I need to be married and have kids! I was a social introvert and could not see marriage or even a girlfriend in my lifetime. At 28 I got married to a woman with 3 kids. :) At some point I began to think being single and lonely wasn't that bad after all, but life was good. :) When you are ready you will know what you want and you will find it.

 

I think that I do know what I want and have found it in most regards. I'm in a long term relationship, I have never wanted kids, and I'm happy with the place I live and my career path. So just to clarify, I'm not searching for what to do with my life or for a boyfriend or anything like that.

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But now that my life has settled down from the initial turmoil of deconversion and I'm just a normal atheist with a normal life, I'm finding that there are a lot of little lonely holes in my life. ...I've tried to fill my life with new activities, but feel unsatisfied. ... I'm not generally miserable or depressed - other things in my life are fine, but the longer I'm without friends or community, the more I don't know how to solve it. (I do have a few friends, but it always feels like an ordeal to schedule getting together, arranging activities, etc).

 

Two things that probably don't help - I'm not at all spiritual,...

 

What I want at this point is just to fit in somewhere where I'm not always trying to get involved in something, meet new people, meet more new people. I just want to BE involved in something instead of always trying to get involved. ...- I know that many people my age who've had to start over with friends (I lost most of my old friends when I deconverted) and social groups feel similarly. I was just hoping that by now, four years later, it would have gotten easier.

 

I'm partial to Jack Cornfield's book title After the Ecstasy, the Laundry (even though his book was of little help). Translated that means, for me at least, that on the other side of my rancor, there is much Laundry. Now that the fighting has subsided, what next!

 

I ask, "Where does one go when just one more thing or just one more group or just one more friendship isn't enough?" I don't know that I exactly "go" anywhere or even "do" anything. For me, now, it's less about doing and more about "undoing." It's less about the "search" and more about where I have "arrived," that is, where I am now.

 

I know on a deep level that just one more damn thing is not going to do it any longer!

 

I ask, what are the contours of these "little lonely holes in my life" that have me so conflicted and incomplete. What is this radical "pulling away " from "out there" all about? What is it about the "randomness of my life" that eats at my courage to be satisfied. All of this, that is all of what these question represent are the Laundry.

 

In the Biblical Myth "manna" represented the link to "the energy of life." There is no "manna." There is no Totem. Now what? Laundry!

 

In the Biblical Myth the Taboo was not to "know for yourself." I broke that Taboo and left, on my own accord, the Garden of the authority. What did I expect? More Laundry!

I risk feeling guilt and shame for breaking the Taboo of authority and trashing the link to "the energy of life.". I decide facing guilt over the shame of not knowing for myself, who and what I am. Now that the guilt and shame of "leaving" are manageable. Did I really expect a "secular miracle" for doing so. Did expect another "miracle?"

 

If (and that's is a big IF) there is any truth in the Biblical Myth it is this: "you will know, for yourself that you will surely die!" The wisdom of what it means to be truly human seeps past all the fantasy. And I'm somehow surprised and lonely!

 

How do I understand that there is no split dividing the nothing seen from the nothing that is now deeply felt?

 

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry!

 

We both may be in the midst of defining for ourselves the meaning of "spirited living." I some how have the notion that it "ain't" just "out there."

 

Tilich said "without the depths there is no hope." Without doing the Laundry there is......?

 

a fellow struggler

saner

 

This my friend Saner, is absolutely excellent!! Thank you for writing this out!

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I came all the way out of the closet with my deconversion about four years ago, although I had been a doubter for a long time before that. Since then, my life has changed a lot and mostly for the better. I'm happier and more mentally stable than I ever was as a Christian. I feel nothing but relief in being honest about my atheism. I have absolutely no desire to go back to church or religion.

 

But now that my life has settled down from the initial turmoil of deconversion and I'm just a normal atheist with a normal life, I'm finding that there are a lot of little lonely holes in my life. Even though trying to be a Christian was incredibly stressful and I didn't like a lot of the people I spent time, stress is very time and energy consuming, like a twisted and perverse hobby. I've tried to fill my life with new activities, but feel unsatisfied. Sports groups, volunteering, art classes... you name it, I've tried it. And I'm just failing to connect. When other people talk about feeling lonely and unstructured, I give them that kind of advice too - that they should get involved in more activities, meet more people. But I've tried that, and I feel like I'm dumping myself into these things while getting nothing back, just losing energy and feeling rejected. I'm not generally miserable or depressed - other things in my life are fine, but the longer I'm without friends or community, the more I don't know how to solve it. (I do have a few friends, but it always feels like an ordeal to schedule getting together, arranging activities, etc).

 

Two things that probably don't help - I'm not at all spiritual, and I'm childfree. I've thought about trying to find a pseudo-church situation, such as UU, and once I tried to get into the spiritual side of yoga practice. But the fact is I'm not a believer in spirituality and I don't fake things anymore - I had enough of that as a would-be Christian. The yoga thing just made me feel silly. And then, it seems that most women my age are meeting and connecting through their children. Not only do I not have or want children, I don't enjoy working with children. I really really don't.

 

What I want at this point is just to fit in somewhere where I'm not always trying to get involved in something, meet new people, meet more new people. I just want to BE involved in something instead of always trying to get involved. In some ways, the church was perfect for that, since the structure was already there. I'm mostly just venting - I know that many people my age who've had to start over with friends (I lost most of my old friends when I deconverted) and social groups feel similarly. I was just hoping that by now, four years later, it would have gotten easier.

 

I hear you, sister! We have a lot in common woohoo.gif I just "discovered" the red hat society - a social club for women...I did it! I joined! :)) ...The Red Hat Society is strictly for fun and socialization. Check it out. I hope you like what you find.

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I came all the way out of the closet with my deconversion about four years ago, although I had been a doubter for a long time before that. Since then, my life has changed a lot and mostly for the better. I'm happier and more mentally stable than I ever was as a Christian. I feel nothing but relief in being honest about my atheism. I have absolutely no desire to go back to church or religion.

 

But now that my life has settled down from the initial turmoil of deconversion and I'm just a normal atheist with a normal life, I'm finding that there are a lot of little lonely holes in my life. Even though trying to be a Christian was incredibly stressful and I didn't like a lot of the people I spent time, stress is very time and energy consuming, like a twisted and perverse hobby. I've tried to fill my life with new activities, but feel unsatisfied. Sports groups, volunteering, art classes... you name it, I've tried it. And I'm just failing to connect. When other people talk about feeling lonely and unstructured, I give them that kind of advice too - that they should get involved in more activities, meet more people. But I've tried that, and I feel like I'm dumping myself into these things while getting nothing back, just losing energy and feeling rejected. I'm not generally miserable or depressed - other things in my life are fine, but the longer I'm without friends or community, the more I don't know how to solve it. (I do have a few friends, but it always feels like an ordeal to schedule getting together, arranging activities, etc).

 

Two things that probably don't help - I'm not at all spiritual, and I'm childfree. I've thought about trying to find a pseudo-church situation, such as UU, and once I tried to get into the spiritual side of yoga practice. But the fact is I'm not a believer in spirituality and I don't fake things anymore - I had enough of that as a would-be Christian. The yoga thing just made me feel silly. And then, it seems that most women my age are meeting and connecting through their children. Not only do I not have or want children, I don't enjoy working with children. I really really don't.

 

What I want at this point is just to fit in somewhere where I'm not always trying to get involved in something, meet new people, meet more new people. I just want to BE involved in something instead of always trying to get involved. In some ways, the church was perfect for that, since the structure was already there. I'm mostly just venting - I know that many people my age who've had to start over with friends (I lost most of my old friends when I deconverted) and social groups feel similarly. I was just hoping that by now, four years later, it would have gotten easier.

 

I could have written nearly this same post. I have made a few distant friends through groups and activities, but I seem to be completely failing at making close friendships. I had a good start toward one, but she moved far away just as we were staring to become close. Being a single 28 year old in a small town of couples with children doesn't help a thing. I wish I knew an easy answer. Sometimes I think it may be to move from my small Tennessee town to somewhere like San Francisco or Denver, but I have my doubts and there is that problem of finding a job.

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