‘Why has everyone stopped caring about me? Why treat me like I don’t matter or like I don’t exist?’

Tell Me About It: ‘I’m female, 60-plus. I’ve stopped caring about everything’


I’m female, 60-plus, and I’ve been alone for some time now. All my family is deceased, except for my mom, who is 97. We haven’t always got along. I have no siblings, no friends and not many associates.

The past couple of years, I found people pulling away from me or pushing me away. I’m genuine, down-to-earth, sincere, tender-hearted. I’m smart, funny, honest, creative, personable. But I feel unlovable, very lonely and tired of being mistreated by most people that have been in my life.

I’m assertive, not aggressive. What you see is what you get. I don’t put on airs, and I mostly treat others like I want to be treated.

Why has everyone stopped caring about me? Why treat me like I don’t matter or like I don’t exist? I never have guests at my home. I’m alone 99 per cent of my time. Since people stopped interacting with me, I found myself depressed, sad and have lost interest in everything. I can’t finish anything. No motivation. I’ve stopped caring about everything. I try new things only to quit, lose interest.

What has made things worse, my heart was broken last year, by a man I truly have feelings for. We were only with one another for about six months. We grew up in the same neighbourhood, went to the same school, but never really knew each other.

Finally, we met 40 years later. He was polite, a gentleman, sweet, caring, funny, very intelligent, kind and attractive. Our feelings for one another were very intense. Never had anyone affected me as much or has had such an impact on me. I fell in love. As quickly as he was in my life, he disappeared. Ghosted me. My heart wasn’t broken, my soul was shattered. I’m still trying to pick up the pieces. I still deeply love him, and don’t know what happened or why.

He won’t talk to me. I just want him to speak to me. I don’t know how he felt or if he did have feelings for me. My gut instinct says he did. Or is that wishful thinking on my part? I want him back in my life. He didn’t complete me, but was a good, wonderful addition to my life. He brought me happiness, laughter, and joy. Then it was all gone.

Am I crazy or just wishing so much for another chance at a new beginning? I’m about at the end of my rope.


There are perhaps some clues in your letter as to why you are so lonely.

You say you have been alone for a long time, but then you had a very intense relationship six months ago. This suggests that you might have a pessimistic streak (you have not been without company long) and this could be keeping people at bay. You also say that no one has visited your house and while this is very sad, it is worth questioning is this because you have not invited people around or found a reason for something to celebrate in your home.

It is true that if we are alone too much we can easily sink into depression with the resultant loss of motivation or vitality. However, the answer is not to seek fault in those around us, as this can lead to resentment and thus create a distance between you and the world. That you had a relationship, and fell so much in thrall with someone, is a very good sign and shows that you have not given up on love or finding connection, but of course the risk of committing so deeply is the loss and pain if the relationship doesn’t work out.

It is actually a good sign you have not closed yourself off from feeling (both pleasure and pain) and that your aim is remain open to life in spite of the hurt and fear. At 60-plus you have a lot of life to live and so effort and investment needs to be put into helping yourself – but of course this is not a simple thing to do. The easiest way to connect to like-minded people is to volunteer and this can take the form of anything, from offering hours to charity shops or heritage centres to supporting people’s mental health (volunteer.ie is a good place to start and if you can commit to some hours every week, gradually that will pay back in terms of involvement and connection).

When we are lonely, we often feel that the world has forgotten us, and negative thoughts can lead us to believe that no one finds us worthwhile or interesting. Yet, this is rarely true and if we could use these feelings to push us out of our isolation and into any kind of social life, we would quickly find that we are capable for having more fun. The longer the loneliness goes on, the more difficult it can be to break through the barrier (of isolation) we have created, so taking initial small steps is less risky and more likely to succeed.

You write that you almost trust your judgment that your ex had strong feelings for you, why not trust your gut and allow yourself to consider that the timing, your ex’s past or circumstances made it difficult for the relationship to work at this time. We can only control our own parts in relationships and you write that you know that you are funny, genuine and creative: all wonderful characteristics.

So, dust yourself off and engage more with the world, and let those attributes shine, so that others can benefit from your presence.