The song “Anything But Lonely” comes from the 1989 musical “Aspects of Love.” Andrew Lloyd Webber composed the music and Don Black and Charles Hart wrote the book and lyrics. The show itself was a flop, but it had several popular songs including “Love Changes Everything.” “Anything But Lonely” eventually reached No. 79 on the UK music charts.
“Aspects of Love” tells the story of Rose, a mediocre actress performing with a talentless touring company. When the show shuts down, Rose takes up with Alex, a 17-year-old fan. While she is with Alex, she meets Alex’s uncle, George, a charming, wealthy rogue. Rose breaks up with Alex and eventually marries George.
In the second act, she and George are still together and have a 16-year-old daughter, Jenny. Rose has become an internationally known actress.
Meanwhile, Alex hangs around the fringes of the family. While he still has feelings for Rose, he also finds himself reluctantly attracted to Jenny. He’s also fond of one of Rose’s friends.
At one point during the play, George discovers Alex and Jenny in a compromising moment. He then collapses and dies from a heart attack. Rose finds herself alone and miserable. She turns to Alex and tries to rekindle her relationship with him. When he refuses, she responds,
“You have a right to go,
But you should also know
That I won’t be alone for long.
Long days with nothing said
Are not what lie ahead –
I’m sorry, but I’m not that strong.”
Alex, though, is tired of being manipulated by Rose. He also suspects his attraction to Jenny may become dangerous if he stays. He departs with Rose’s friend, leaving Rose to find someone else to love her. As “Anything But Lonely” suggests, it probably won’t take her long.
As this musical shows us, some people are fine with their own company. Others, like Rose, are miserable if they don’t have someone paying attention to them all the time. These people may be quick to jump into a new relationship when a loved one dies. They are also at risk of entering abusive relationships because being with someone — even someone hurtful — is better than having nobody at all.
If you have lost a loved one, remember that it’s usually best to avoid rushing into another relationship, even if you are feeling lonely. You need to give yourself time to grieve and time to find someone you truly love. In the meantime, you may be able to ease your loneliness by spending time with friends or finding a platonic roommate.
In the play, Rose sings to Alex:
“There’s so much in life to share,
What’s the sense when no one else is there?”
There’s certainly no reason to spend the rest of your life alone when someone you love dies. But bringing someone that you don’t really care about into your life just to have someone — anyone — with you is usually not a good idea.