As humans, we all crave that deep and lasting connections with a spouse. No body should have to sleep in the same bed with someone for years and years and still feel alone. Even married couples can live in the same house, share the same meals, sleep in the same bed and still feel isolated. Disconnected. Alone.
This sort of loneliness can feel even more painful because you actually have someone. Physically, your spouse is there. But emotionally, and intimately he or she is not. You live together, but you don’t share life. The resulting loneliness and alienation can feel too strong to bear. Instead of having a relationship that feeds you, you wind up starving.
Most of us get married because we want someone to do life with and not be alone.
Loneliness is all about emotional connection. If you’re feeling lonely in your marriage, we want to share with you some ways on how to reconnect with your spouse.
Let’s start with what lonely feels like and then we will get into what to do about it.
From an email we got:
“I appreciate this podcast. We’ve been essentially roommates since married…. 18 years raising 3 kids… My love language is touch and I’m the intimate one. My wife does not like to be touched, we are lucky to have sex once a month and sometimes it goes months without anything more than a goodnight peck. No real reason but it’s created a lot of bitterness I deal with personally. We tried books, podcasts, scheduling etc but most of the books that involve any challenges we don’t complete.
I won’t give up on the marriage and we are for the most part happy, I’m just lonely in my own marriage. I don’t think I’m alone in this.” – anonymous
One in three married people over age 45 (or 33%) report being lonely, according to a 2018 AARP national survey. But that doesn’t mean loneliness in a marriage is necessarily normal. If you feel alone in a marriage, it’s often a sign that there’s an underlying issue in the relationship or in your own personal life that must be addressed.
In an online poll we took, 94% of people that responded said they have felt loneliness in their marriage (at some time).
Kiaundra Jackson, LMFT, a licensed marriage therapist states: “Loneliness is a deeper thing because it’s more of a psychological state where people feel like their relationships, the quantity of their relationships, the quality of their relationships, are not where they need to be,” Jackson explains. “You can be lonely and not be alone. You can literally be surrounded by a whole bunch of people and still feel like you’re lonely. In the context of a marriage, if your marriage isn’t fulfilling your need for companionship, love, affection, or other social needs, you may very well feel lonely despite technically having a life partner.”
The main causes of feeling lonely: You become distant from each other for whatever the reason:
- Lack of connection: lack of communication, lack of sex, lack of physical touch,
- Lack of effort in marriage. Spouse is NOT attentive to you or your needs. You take care of duties but the lack of connection and affection is gone. Marriage feels stale (roommates)
- Hectic schedule: too busy. You and your partner are so busy with your careers or with family matters that you don’t have time to spend together. It is easy to feel very distant when your spouse isn’t making time for you and putting other things first.
- Mental illnesses. Depression, health problems, anxiety, etc.
- Feeling like spouse doesn’t listen to you
- Be the one to point it out and want to fix it.
- Forgive past hurts.
- Figure out what happened to your relationship! Try to pin point when and what happened. Backtrack and see if you both can identify when the shift started happening, maybe get some professional help to figure that out. Get some support. Don’t be alone.
Talk to each other as often as possible. You don’t have to search for a topic. Talk about anything, and randomly and share your experiences of that day.
2. Recall good times
Watch your wedding video or look at your honeymoon photos. Talk about your courtship days and all the romantic outings you both experienced together. The naughty or silly things you secretly did without the knowledge of your family and friends. That will make you both laugh together. The couple that laughs together stays together!
3. Develop your own friendships and inner world
It’s important for couples to not depend solely on each other for their sense of fulfillment and aliveness, Jackson points out. If you’re feeling lonely, it may not be because there’s anything wrong with the relationship itself or with your partner—instead, it could simply be a sign that you are missing the strong friendships, community, and contentedness in yourself that are necessary for any person to feel whole.
What fills you up? What hobbies and passions can you lean into to light up your world, outside of your marriage? How can you start to nurture the other relationships in your life, including friends and family? It may be time to start making some new connections
4. Do small favors for each other. Learn your spouses love language. This is big!!!!
Is he struggling with his necktie? Help him do it. Is she a foodie? Prepare a delicious breakfast for her. This will make your partner look up to you. They know they can come to you for any help or with any problem. You will be their first destination in distress.
5. Understand their point of view
It is not always necessary to look at things your way. Your spouse could have a different opinion. You may be irritated with your mother-in-law’s interference in a party that you have organized for your partner. But they wouldn’t agree with you. Interference for you would be love and affection for your partner. Stop judging! To comprehend your partner’s viewpoint, take a couple of minutes to think.
Health Problems Associated with loneliness
Loneliness can be taxing both emotionally and physically, and could come along with (3):
- Low self-esteem
- Alcoholism and drug abuse
The illnesses will have a long-lasting effect on your body unless you make a conscious effort to escape that feeling. If you are a lonely wife or husband, you need not have to continue in that state, carrying the weight of self-sympathy. Do something to set yourself free of such negative emotions.
Some Self love to get out of loneliness:
1. Stop sympathizing with yourself, start living!
The more you think about it, the worse you will feel. Understand that your spouse is the most important person in your life but they are not the only you have. Meet your parents, siblings or close friends and bond with them often. Have people around you. But, stop expecting or seeking sympathy from them.
2. Try a hobby
When you are in the phase of extreme loneliness in a marriage, start something which you always wished to do and couldn’t go ahead with it due to marital constraints. Each time you feel miserable and left out, your new hobby will remind you of the positive things in life. It will help you re-live your passions and interests. Be it writing, singing, joining dance or aerobics classes or associating yourself with a charity organization, you may take up anything that is beneficial to you.
3. Never say no to plans
Stop saying no to the plans your friends and family make. If they want you to join in their picnic, long drive or a short outing, go with them. You may not be in the mood to have fun, but fun is what exactly you want at this time. It will give you confidence that you have several loving people around you. This will help you face your spouse, talk to them and sort out the problems between you.
5. Focus on your career:
Never let your professional life get affected by your personal life. This is harder done than said, but will surely work as you can forget about your loneliness, interact with your colleagues, and keep yourself busy with work. A career will help you maintain your calm and focus on priorities in life.
6. Learn to live alone, don’t fear loneliness
This is the hardest part of all. Love yourself, and you will start enjoying your company. Stop pitying or blaming yourself for your loneliness as neither will help you go forward in life. When you learn to live alone, you will identify your hidden abilities and appreciate your strengths. Have a make-over of your appearance, get a new haircut done, go for a massage with aroma oils, and update your wardrobe. This new look might bring you admirers and could make your spouse sit up and notice.
7. Focus on your health
You can beat loneliness only if you are strong, both physically and mentally. Loneliness could lead to binge eating. You can avoid such weaknesses by focusing on your health. Eat nutritious food, drink water regularly, and exercise. Work out in a gym, attend aerobic classes or perform yoga and meditation. They keep your body fit and at the same time make you feel better about life.
8. Talk to your spouse
Never lose your fight even before the battle begins. Do not go into depression without making an attempt to share your thoughts with your spouse. Talk to them about your loneliness. This will prompt them to share their version, their tensions or disappointments in life. Maybe he/ she, too, is going through loneliness or is disappointed with their married life!
Loneliness is not a rare phenomenon. We might experience it at any stage of our life, right from childhood to the later stages. You can successfully come out of it if you make an effort. Be determined to fight it out, but your victory is waiting to meet you at the end of the race.
Here are some questions you can ask each other:
Do you feel connected or disconnected to me? Are you happy?
Is it ok if I express how I feel about our marriage? Is this a good time?
Why do you feel disconnected to me, in what ways do you feel lonely in our marriage?
When do you think that our marriage changed?
Is there something that happened in our marriage that started this path to loneliness?
Do you think we could really talk about it?
Am I the spouse that you thought you married? Do you feel like you are?
Do you think that sacrifices are being made in our marriage by both of us?
What role do you think I have played in getting us to this point?
What role do you think you have played in getting us to this point?
Do you want to get back to having a good, healthy and passionate marriage?
Are you still willing to fight for this marriage?
What solutions do you think we can make together to get our marriage into a good place?
Do you prioritize “us” and our marriage? Do you think we can do better at prioritizing each other?
Want great ways to get your intimacy back and spice up your marriage! Check out the FREE Ultimate Intimacy App for hundreds of resources, games, articles and many other things to spice up your marriage. The app is clean, non graphic and so much fun!!