I don’t.

I…don’t. (yet)

The cultural push toward “love” leaves acknowledgement of “aloneness” ignored.

Commitment issues? Well, yeah.

Losing friendships sucks. I do it regularly.

When you’re older, like me, 44, you’ve lost dozens–hundreds–of good friends. Things change. Jobs. Children. Marriages. Moving away. Awkward moments that lead to hurt and bad communication. I’m sure there’s other causes on the list.

I’ve always wanted children. I haven’t always, to my mind, been ready to raise children. But for the last few years I’ve been more or less steady and successful financially, I have a good home, I’ve grown up a fair amount. I’m ready as I’ll ever be, just about.

But I’m still not sure I’m ready for marriage. After all, those lost friendships. If I can’t even maintain friendships—which so often seem founded on “not wanting to be alone” rather than the sort of powerful joy and connection I recall from high school (with friends I’ve long since lost touch with)…if I can’t even maintain friendships, how do I expect to mean what I say when I say “I do”?

I’m not closed-minded, or cynical. I would love to hear from you, or those who have friendships not just based on blood or religion but based on, well, affection. What does it take? I wrote a book about this sort of question, after all, and I’m still asking.

I didn’t grow up with models of love or friendship that lasted. I grew up in a sweet, fun, inspired community—but it was bonded by shared experiences within a spiritual community. All too often our friendships are dependent on outward form: we play sports together, we’re involved in the same volunteer organization, we go to school together, we pray together. Take out that outward form, and the friendship fades.

Just this week, I’m confronted by yet another dear, important friendship of mine fading. It’s been fading for a year. It leaves me hurt, lonely, confused, at a loss. I don’t know what to do about it, other than work on letting go.

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Paula Centofanti Sep 13, 2018 1:25pm

How do you prefer to meet someone? Do you guys date online or just get set up or sponatnously meet at an event by chance?

Gail Steele Aug 16, 2018 7:05pm

I own your book, Waylon. Its even better when You read it to Us, as a sensitive guy. Thank You!

Tracy Langford Aug 14, 2018 1:16pm

Waylon you are overthinking ! If you find your ideal life partner - spiritual, conscious, environmental...then it will be a wonderful experience that will take you to new heights!! If it’s not forever then consciously uncouple with love. You are gorgeous and loving and i would marry you :D x

Marci Diaz Apple Aug 14, 2018 11:56am

This year, I realized that we (I) romanticize friendships. We have those moments, even years, of such awesome connection that when some begin to evolve or grow in a different direction, we hold on for dear life! We want to be that ride or die friend who weathered the storms and stayed through it all! This kind of loyalty doesn’t serve us when hanging on means not being able to let go of something or someone that is no longer good for us. It doesn’t mean “they” are bad or not worth fighting for. But we change. We grow. We grow up. It’s okay to not know why you don’t connect with someone anymore. Love what you had, love from a distance if you have to.

Sandra Lee Plum Aug 14, 2018 11:19am

Lots of good advice to consider. Friendship/relationship, which is it for you? Is it a combination of the two, that would be a good thing. And I have to wonder if it's a man/woman thing. If a man I was in a relationship with (spending time with exclusively and making love to) clasified our relationship as a friendship I would probably become upset. I have friends but I'm not intimate with them and for me a relations is more emotionally envolved. At your age how much time do you think you have??? No, don't feel like you have to settle. I can tell you at my age finding "The One" isn't easy! A man came into my life last year and I'm still morning the loss of him. If he were to show up on my doorstep today and say "baby lets find a preacher" I wouldn't hesitate one second. So it's different for everyone of us. For me I just know in my heart, in my mind and in my soul. I know for certain what I want, the next 30 years. If the person I'm with isn't on the same page then we are just waisting time. And I have started down that road a couple of times as well. Taking it slow is one thing but being friends with benefits gets a little old pretty fast, where are they when you need a hug or a ride to the ER? At my age time isn't a luxury I can afford. Since you find yourself at this crossroad one would think that this isn't the "I do" partnet for you. But like any friendship/relstionship you tend to get out of it what you put in it. Communication is the key. My best to you.

Janet Born Aug 14, 2018 12:21am

Jannette Northrup It is one of the most ironic things in life that I’ve learned late and marvel at the simplicity - when you decide who you are and let her shine out against all who say no - you’ll actually create what you’re looking for. People will see your authenticity and be drawn in to it. It also gives others who see it permission to do the same. One day you’ll be content and so YOU and look around to see others same presence, love and support. It’s amazing and worth it all I promise. A season of pursuing yourself and doing things you’ve always dreamed - like I’m a hard driving person permission to slow down and enjoy a cup of tea on the patio without guilt. You can do this. All of us wild and free people want you here❤️

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.