Sunday, November 14, 2010

Roger Ebert on Loneliness and the Internet

Roger Ebert here has posted a wonderfully thoughtful piece on loneliness.

This weekend I've had two big events in my life, one wonderful and another heart-breaking.

Let me start with the heart-break. A guy I was very close to, someone who made me feel so wonderfully special and attractive and desirable, someone whom I thought was devastatingly attractive and fun and witty, finally told me that he was seeing someone else. It's not like we were dating; he was in Texas and I in crazy Idaho. He's going to be a vet and I something religious-y. I cried and cried. I felt foolish. I felt horrible. Someone who made me feel so wonderful (and I hope I made him feel wonderful, too) suddenly was out of reach. I couldn't hope, pine away or daydream about him in that way any longer. A great guy I'd met online was suddenly made even more removed.

It hurts still. Can I hope that there is another guy out there who will make me feel wonderful like that? Is there another guy out there to whom I can give my heart, and can I trust that he won't break it? It's been in moments such as these that I wished I had a heart of stone. Something unshakable. Something impermeable. Something that wouldn't break so easily.

I spoke with him about it, and he helped me to feel less foolish. That sometimes makes it worse; knowing that the guy whom you can't have is such a nice guy that he cares for you even in your worst moments. Still, what does the future hold? Should I just close myself off to avoid any heartbreak?

And last night (before the heart break happened) I had a wonderful date with a good guy. Very nice, very attractive, and somehow he found me attractive and nice, too. A possibility full of hope, perhaps. And I met him online, too.

The internet is wonderful, but it makes loneliness even worse at times. You can find so many interesting people, possible friends, and maybe even the partner you've been hoping for, if only you'd look in the right place. You can make your own persona and you can be as closed or open as you wish.

Regardless, loneliness hurts a lot. An incredible amount. It's enough to make people shy away from relationships at all. But then there's hope, the true queen of the virtues. Not love, not faith, but hope.

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