because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

THE CUDDLE CONUNDRUM

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I know that from the outside it looks like my life is back on track.

And for the most part, it’s true.

Professionally, I’m checking all the boxes, attending shows, teaching art classes, and taking on projects that speak to my heart. Intellectually, I’m feeling challenged again – reading, writing, teaching memoir classes and handling independent editing clients.

I have a good relationship with my parents and a few close friends upon whom I can call if I’m struggling.

But, the one thing that’s missing — the void that cannot be filled so easily — is in the area of physical touch.

Y’all, I can go for days, weeks, even months without anyone touching me.

And for a girl who thrives on touch, I can tell you, it’s really hard.

Sometimes I actually feel like I’m losing my mind because of the lack.

(((thank goodness I can afford occasional massages!)))

I know people will say: “You should get a pet…,” but having a dog or a cat or a ferret is not the same as having another human close to you.

Luckily, these feelings only seems to overwhelm me at night, so my solution has been to stay out as long and as late as possible after dinner, but not really a great solution.

Anyone have any suggestions for this conundrum? How do you handle the void, the loneliness that comes from wanting something you don’t have and may never have?

 

14 thoughts on “THE CUDDLE CONUNDRUM

  1. honestly you have done step one, letting us know that you need hugs. Now you need to do that when you see folks. You will find out which of your friends give the best hugs. Some will give amazing hugs and then others blah. Just ask for what you need.

    1. It’s super interesting to me that you have interpreted my desire for physical contact as a desire for hugs. Hugs are not really what I’m looking for. In our culture, hugs last about 2 seconds, if that long. I’m looking for someone to play with my hair, to sit close to someone, have them play with my hair, to slide my feet under another person’s thigh…these are all things that people have in normal romantic relationships, but I haven’t enjoyed this level of intimacy in several years. I do a very good job in filling my life with activities…but we don’t have much in the way to fill this void. I’m working on it, including creating a “cuddle buddy” contract so that I might be able to find someone who is looking for this kind of connection as well. Though the idea of “friends with benefits” doesn’t really appeal to me, at this point, I’m willing to consider it.

      1. Hi Renee,
        I was in a 33 year marriage that I would describe as getting dregs. I realize my ex may also be asexual as she was not a cuddler, kisser, spooner, etc. etc.

        When I was dating after we separated I was very aware of that needing to be corrected!

        When my now girlfriend and I got together, she was clear — no friends with benefits — I realized that was what I was looking for, so we backed off.

        I found over time that I was ready to commit again for a 1 to 1 relationship even though I had my doubts at first.

        Are you dating? How is it? I hope you find a friend and lover soon.

        You do deserve it!

        1. Hi Dan. i would obviously prefer to have an actual relationship, but I haven’t had much luck in that department yet. I am wondering if it is my geographic location. I am not in my highest vibration in cold weather, and I have a trip planned to Florida in January. Who knows? Maybe I’ll meet the right person down there. You never know, right? Outside of that, I feel so happy in every other aspect of my life. I believe everything happens in the right season, so this must be my dry season. LOL. Thank you for sharing a comment. I’m grateful. And congratulations to you on finding the friend/lover combo.

  2. If you lived around me, I’d hug you every time I saw you. I’m a big-time hugger. I hug friends, waitresses, Sunday school classmates – even a few Walmart employees. There are a few people who don’t want to be hugged, but I’ve found that most people will appreciate and reciprocate hugs. Open your arms, Renee, and hug people around you. I don’t mean hug every stranger who crosses your path, but when you see someone you know – or even a waitress or salesclerk who has waited on you before, give that person a hug. I promise no one will hit you. If someone reacts coolly or draws back, don’t try it again – but I’ll bet you’ll find more who will reciprocate than will draw away.

    1. Hi David.

      As I explained to Liza above, it’s super interesting to me that you have interpreted my desire for physical contact as a desire for “hugs.” While hugs are lovely, hugs are not really what I’m looking for. In our culture, hugs last about 2 seconds, if that long. I’m looking for someone to play with my hair, to sit close to someone, to share mutual massages, etc……these are all things that people have in normal romantic relationships, but I haven’t enjoyed this level of intimacy in several years, as you well know. It’s definitely a bit of a conundrum. While I’m not interested in a friend with benefits, it might be something I need to consider because my needs just really aren’t being met. Studies show that when children and animals are deprived on touch, they actually fail to thrive and often even die. That’s how it feels sometimes. I’m working on it. Thank you for writing me back!

  3. There are a lot of good dating apps. My wife and I have both had luck with Tinder (we are in a polyamorous relationship). OKCupid is also highly recommended.

    Good luck!

    1. Hi Wayne:

      I have had several actual horror stories while attempting to meet people via Tinder. Soooo I’ll never go that way again. Ever. Glad it worked for you. I’m not looking for a polyamorous relationship…so while I’m waiting for my sexual partner to appear, it would be nice to have some physical touch. If you have strategies regarding how Tinder worked for you, I’d be open to hearing. I just think there must be a lot of scumbags in Rochester.

  4. I’m a big hugger. I surprise many people who are just acquaintances with hugs. Sometimes they look at me funny. They’re just not used to displays of affection. I grew in a family that expected a hug & a kiss (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) the moment you walked into the room when they were visiting. I, too, need physical touch. Unfortunately, I married a man who is a mensch, but did not grow up in a warm family. I have had to come to terms with that fact. It hasn’t been easy, but we can’t always get what we want/need. I’m thankful for what I do have; a loving caring family; a great father to my children, a husband who is there for me in all other ways. The only other thing I lack is a sole-mate girlfriend. Two big things missing in my life.

    1. Hi Carol,

      You and I have talked about this on several occasions. I am not only a hugger; I have come to understand that I am actually tantric. (I’ll let you Google that.)

      As I said to Liza and David above, it’s super interesting to me that people have interpreted my desire for physical contact as a desire for “hugs.” While hugs are lovely, hugs are not really what I’m looking for. Hugs last about 2 seconds, if that long. I’m looking for someone to play with my hair, to sit close to someone, to share mutual massages, etc……these are all things that people have in normal romantic relationships, but I haven’t enjoyed this level of intimacy in several years, as you well know. It’s definitely a bit of a conundrum. While I’m not interested in a friend with benefits, it might be something I need to consider because my needs just really aren’t being met. Studies show that when children and animals are deprived on touch, they actually fail to thrive and often even die. That’s how it feels sometimes.

      As far as having a bestie, I feel fortunate to have connected with a wonderful group of singles who help to fill that void — and I kind of feel like I’ve finally got a few friends with whom I can really connect and who are emotionally available to me.

      I understand we can’t always get what we want…but we all have needs and it is simply not okay for me to pretend that I don’t. I like to believe that my twin flame is out there looking for me too, and I won’t settle until we find each other. To do otherwise sounds like a fate worse than death.

  5. I’d love to see our society evolve to the point where “friends with benefits” meant friends who cuddled and held hands, without sex necessarily having to be involved.

    I had a friend like that in college (and no, he wasn’t gay). It was great.

    1. Hi Kassandra:

      WOuldn’t that be great? I think that evolution is coming…but I can see how it could be messy, too. Like what if ONE person starts to feel feelings that other person doesn’t. It would be great to have both. For right now, I’d be happy to cuddle while watching TV. But int he ideal, we’d be able to do some light massage, too. What can I say? AT 51 years old, my body hurts! LOL.

  6. Hi Renee, I get the difference between hugs, and warm, sustained, affectionate contact. I remember some years ago, an article in City, I think, describing a woman who was offering a cuddling service. I don’t know if this woman was able to make a go of it, or if there are men who do this for women. I wonder if there are sex therapists who might know someone who does this(I know you’re not looking for, not is this sex).

    1. Hi Carol:

      You are right. That was for a service called The Snuggery…I think it still exists…but she’s moved out of the area. And it’s about $60 per hour — 0ver $400 for an overnight. So there’s that. And that is clothes on. It’s extra for skin to skin contact. There HAS to be a way to do this without getting arrested for prostitution, right? Gah! Maybe I can open my own Cuddling Company. I know so many people who would love this service! There are so many of us out there who don’t want sex outside of a relationship but would like some kind of physical touch. We have a lot to do as a culture on this.

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