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Lonely 40 year old man


According to Lonely 40 year old man Office for National Statistics, loneliness afflicts around one in seven of those between 45 and Middle age is that phase of life in which our possibilities and freedoms seem to contract most dramatically, where our sense of who we are and will be is liable to feel most constrained by pressures from all sides. While there is nothing new about this state of midlife resignation, it takes on a new force in our age of global, networked consumer capitalism.

Our lives are ever more psychologically and economically precarious; the families, homes, jobs and pensions that we look to as guarantees of a secure future are instead sources of deep uncertainty.

These conditions of precariousness are bound to aggravate our vulnerability to the judgment of others and ourselves. The middle-aged person is liable to look in the mirror and see someone who could have done better, who has failed to fulfil their hopes and ideals.

And what hope of change at this point?

Whatever the disappointments of work or family, the prospect of giving up either may seem a lot worse. And worse, something in you feels like joining in.

Social media may seem like the ideal remedy. Facebook and Twitter cultivate an atmosphere of perpetual mutual affirmation and warmth, providing a rolling assurance of your value and lovability. But no sooner is loneliness banished than it returns. This idealised version of yourself is, after all only a defensive carapace, so that the gap between your happily sociable online and lonely offline lives becomes a kind of reproach. Affirmation and rejection turn out to be two sides of the same coin.

A refrain I Lonely 40 year old man regularly in my psychoanalytic consulting room is the anxiety of the unreturned text or email, or the ignored status update.

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The anxiety brings out a crucial difference between real and virtual contact. An ordinary encounter makes space for quiet proximity, the ineffable pleasure of simply being with someone.

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Online communication tends to preclude this kind of intimacy. Where the silence of the person next to me can allay my feelings of loneliness, the silence of the virtual interlocutor breeds suspicion and paranoia: Did they ever like me?

A patient said to me last week: This intuited presence provides an emotional lining that helps us feel less helplessly dependent on others. In middle age, this sense of internal assurance is worn away by doubts and insecurities. Our culture of consumerism and competition undermines it further.

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