Bad Decisions Happen When Lonely

Men's Dating

Doc Love Advice: Bad Decisions Can Happen When You’re Lonely (Versus Alone)

Doc Love

Written by: Doc Love

Doc Love

Doc Love coached men for over 30 years after interviewing thousands of women in his lifetime asking them why they chose one man versus another. What Doc learned directly from women he then taught to men. Doc was a prolific writer and created a lot of timeless dating content for his team to continue sharing his message. Singles can also get additional coaching via his still active blog and podcast at www.doclove.com/blog and www.datingwomenpodcast.com. For more tips visit his official site www.doclove.com.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Discuss This! Discuss This!

There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Keep in mind, I’m a dating coach, not a mental health professional, so my perspective on this comes from working with singles in the field rather than piling up degrees on the wall.

From what I’ve seen, singles can make bad decisions when they are lonely. It’s much easier for a man to keep his head when he is alone, but not lonely. I’ll explain exactly what that means in this advice article.

Your Focus Becomes Your Reality

As I’ve said many times on my radio show, you are not an unfeeling robot, and the vast majority of people I’ve met do want some kind of connection. In fact, it’s fair to say if you’re reading this you probably want your Ms. Right in your life. And that’s perfectly natural. It’s also natural to feel like the kid with a penny in his pocket hungrily staring through the store window where the candy starts at a minimum of 10 pennies. When you don’t have Ms. Right, it feels like everyone else seems to have a Ms. Right.

Photo of a man with his head in his arms
Single men can get bogged down thinking about the things they don’t have.

Thank the reticular activating system for focusing on these have-not aspects of your life.

Again, not a medical professional, but I do know there is a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System that filters out the information you don’t want and lets through what you do. It helps you hear your name in a crowded room or makes you start seeing red cars everywhere after you coincidentally just purchased one. Basically, it notices what is relevant to you.

This system can be helpful, but it can work against you – especially if you strongly desire Ms. Right. Perhaps you’ve set up a negative thought pattern that you are the only one in the world without a lady at the moment. And here’s where bad decisions can happen if you’re not careful and start to feel loneliness creeping up on you.

A Relationship Isn’t Going to Solve All Your Problems

You see, feeling lonely puts you in a heightened state of desperation. You are seeing love everywhere, but none is for you – at least so you think! Yes, this is the same thought pattern someone who is just alone can get into. But here’s where you veer off the side of the road into a crash situation: You perceive that you need a partner to feel better about yourself or your life.

Makes no sense, right?  Isn’t it a good thing to have Ms. Right?  All those couples sure look like they are having a good time, getting ready to go out for the evening while you are trying to find yet another series to binge on streaming services.  

Photo of a happy couple
Sometimes couples look like #relationshipgoals on the outside, but they aren’t perfect.

Having Ms. Right in your life can be fun, but it also means responsibility. Now you have another human to account for. That guy you saw laughing at the ballgame having a beer with the beautiful lady is also having to turn down trips with friends because it’s her grandmother’s birthday. He’s enduring family obligations, being asked to run errands for her on the weekends, and having disputes about how to load or unload the dishwasher.

The point is that relationships come with  trade-offs. As a single guy right now, you can decide to throw the pizza box away tomorrow because you’re going out for a late night snack at the local greasy spoon.

No, I’m not saying being single is better than being in a healthy relationship. I’m just saying that sometimes, some guys perceive relationships as an end all be all to fix their lives and establish their happiness forever.With that line of thinking, they forget that, as with everything in life, there is a downside to every upside.

If you are feeling lonely, you may imagine that having a relationship is the key to being happy. In reality, you’re in for a rude awakening when you do make that connection because in life there is no magic place that erases all of your past problems.  Sometimes when you’re lonely, you will imagine your life as completely bleak, and if only Ms. Right came into the picture, everything would be magic and sunshine.

Nope…doesn’t work like that. She’ll bring her own quirks and problems. She’ll make you do things you don’t want to do. She’ll get irritated and cranky with you. She’ll be a human, and she’ll be imperfect. It’s inevitable that you two won’t always want to be around each other at times.

The Difference in Being Lonely Versus Being Alone

When you are lonely and think that only someone or something can fix you, then you have a great potential to make poor choices. Let’s think about this from a different perspective.

Let’s say you saw a car commercial on TV, and it made you feel you must have that particular vehicle. In fact, you do not want to drive another single mile in your current car — this new car is everything to you! You want that new car so much that you devalue your current car. A much healthier way to think about it would be to feel happy with your current car while keeping an eye for an intriguing new vehicle, at the right price and in the right circumstances.

Photo of a car dealership
In any situation, you’ll need to go in with a positive outlook if you want a positive result.

Who is making the best deal at the car dealership that day?  The person who is happy with what they have, or the person who is desperate to trade in?  I think you can answer that.

I am not comparing car buying to a relationship because it’s more complex than that – but the analogy holds when it comes to comparing being lonely versus alone. Being lonely and desperate is going to undermine your decisions. Think of the guy who can’t stand another minute in his current car. He doesn’t like the situation he’s in and will do anything to change it. In his mind, only that can fix things. On the other hand, the guy who is happy will take on the expense of a new car, but only if the price is right.

Take Your Time, and Be Choosy!

I’ve seen guys in my coaching practice accept women who were not right for them. I teach men in the System/Dating Dictionary that these are nonnegotiable traits in a woman:

  • Integrity
  • Flexible Personality
  • Wishes You Well
  • Giver
  • Loyal
  • Smart
  • Self-Reliant

Guess what?  I tell guys that if they want a special woman like that they better bring the same traits to her. Single men should always be on a path of self-improvement because you never know when she’ll turn the corner and be there.

Now, the alone guy who is generally happy with his situation is going to wait on a lady who is all that he needs. And even if he doesn’t meet her right away, he won’t stress about it because he likes his life and knows that he is better off alone than to be with Ms. Wrong.

The lonely, desperate guy may be tempted to rationalize and sugarcoat situations that fool him into thinking that Ms. Wrong is actually Ms. Right — and ends up in a mess. In the future, you see him still lonely and paying alimony – double whammy.

Here’s the bottom line: Do not get into a state where you think you need her because that need can cause you to make poor choices.