Feeling Lonely in Your Relationship?
Loneliness is usually something we associate with single people. But surprisingly, there are a large number – and rising – of people who feel lonely within their relationships. It is a very human requirement to desire companionship and an emotional connection with others, which is the primary reason people seek out partners in the first place! But far too often, that emotional connection is lost, even while many aspects of the relationship appear to be functioning quite normally. If loneliness is starting to creep into your relationship, your relationship will ultimately feel empty and you unhappy within it .
Alone or Lonely?
It is important to distinguish between being alone and being lonely. Spending time alone is healthy in a relationship. Spending some time by yourself allows you the space to develop as an individual. Pursuing activities as an individual will strengthen your relationship while allowing you to broaden your own horizons and make social connections. Couples who spend all of their time together run the risk of smothering each other. Being alone and being lonely are two very different experiences.
Feeling lonely indicates a lack of connection, and feeling lonely within a relationship means that you are no longer connected with your partner. The feeling is one of isolation and desolation, and can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. This can feel like a double blow when you are a relationship, as there is the natural assumption that all of your emotional and relational needs will be met by your partner. It can be confusing, frustrating and painful when this is not the case. In addition, feeling isolated can also have a physical impact. People suffering from loneliness are shown to experience higher levels of stress and health issues. .
Some loneliness is normal
Experiencing feelings of loneliness are quite normal in any relationship, as relationships and marriages have their own ebb and flow. For better or worse, remember? The vagaries of life get in the way and things like demanding careers, babies, studies and family all play their own part in making couples feel disconnected from each other.
It is important to communicate with your partner, find time to touch base and spend quality time together away from the demands and pressures of family life. In many cases you as an individual will have started feeling disconnected with yourself, before you start drifting away from your partner, and it’s important to recognise the signs and take the time to evaluate the causes before it becomes a problem.
Address the issues
Loneliness in a relationship is just a symptom of underlying issues that have not yet been addressed. And it is certainly no indication that the relationship has run its natural course and that its time to move on. If you are committed to your partner, then you will need to address the issues that have caused you to drift apart. And it is not always that easy; the subjects could be contentious and hurtful, but you can’t move forward without facing any issues head on.
Be kind to yourself and recognise that it is loneliness, rather than a integral flaw in your relationship, that is making you feel the way you do. Reassure yourself that you deserve to feel connected to your partner.
Writing a list of the ways in which you feel lonely can help you focus your thoughts on where the problems stem from. The loneliness could take many forms, from feeling ignored and not understood, to being physically isolated or left out. All of these things are very dangerous to a relationship and they should not be ignored.
However, in saying this, loneliness should not be a regular feature of a healthy relationship. In order for the problems to be resolved, it is essential that your partner is on board.
Committing to work through the problems is a good start, but if you come up against difficulties it may be wise to seek professional help. Marriage counselling is widely available, and offers a neutral territory for you to get your issues into the open. A counsellor will be able to guide you in the right direction and offer advice on the correct path to help rectify the situation .
No one should have to live in loneliness, especially when in a relationship. Left to fester, being lonely can be devastating. The best way to tackle it is head on. You deserve to be in a happy, fulfilling and connected relationship.
Jonathan Lenbuck writes for Associated Relationship & Marriage Counsellors Sydney and is the primary contributor to their website. You can read more of Jonathan’s work by clicking here to access a range of articles on topics ranging from the benefits of pre-marriage counselling, angry arguments, infidelity and sexual difficulties. ARMC offers a pre-marriage counselling, marriage counselling and relationship therapy service in over 10 locations across Sydney.