I always thought loneliness meant being alone, or lacking a strong family network or social support system. But this latest Melbourne lockdown has shown me something.
I am not alone, I am never alone, but I am just so incredibly lonely.
For context, I am married with two primary school-aged children.
My marriage is one which could be described as a ‘parenting marriage’. We are in it for the kids.
Not unhappy because of them per se, our reasons are much more selfish.
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Neither their dad nor I are ready for sharing custody, or missing out on kissing them goodnight every bedtime.
I am not ready for the conversation of whose house they will stay at tonight, or why don’t Mummy and Daddy love us enough to love each other.
My kids are still very young, their brains think differently to adults. So for now, we choose to stay together. To the outside world, we are a happy, typical, nuclear family.
What we don’t have, however, is the affection: the hand holding, the back rubs, the hugs. Of course there is no sex either, but it is the other stuff I miss.
More than that though, I miss the everyday kindness. The thing that makes us humans, social connectedness, and kindness.
Our arrangement means that I don’t qualify for a singles bubble, certainly no intimate partner arrangements either. In a lockdown, it is a very lonely existence, even though I am never alone.
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I'm home-schooling, working from home, keeping the house tidy, feeding people (all the time!). I am never bored, but I am lonely.
I have a great family and a few wonderful friends. We talk to each other on the phone frequently. I am listened to; I am heard; I am loved. I know this. But I miss people, and I miss kindness.