It is a common belief that marriage is the remedy for a long life of loneliness and that the spouse is a best friend and a confidante. For many people, however, marriage could become the start of loneliness for a lot of reasons. If you are feeling alone in your marriage, know that there are many sailing in the same ship. They also wonder about why it happens and how to fix it. This article may help you understand the reasons for loneliness in marriage and what one can do about it.
You can say that you’re lonely in your marriage if you always find that you and your spouse are physically present but mentally in different places because you no longer connect with each other. It could feel awkward to be in the same place as there is no intimacy at the mental, emotional, or physical level. Interactions with your partner also become argumentative and hostile, and you avoid conversations. You also refrain from expressing something as you know that your spouse is unempathetic.
Every marriage is unique; therefore, they will be different factors that create loneliness in one or both. Nobody walks into a lonely marriage willingly. It’s quite often the case that there is a reason that is causing your loneliness, and it is either on your end or at the other end or possibly both. Most couples agree that their marriage began with courtship, and they loved each other’s company, but a few years into the marriage and one or both began to feel lonely. Therefore yes, it is normal for loneliness to set in when couples drift apart.
Surprisingly, the stats show that loneliness is a common phenomenon in marriage. According to an AARP national survey, about a third of the married people over the age of 45 feel lonely. If you are feeling lonely in your marriage, then there are definitely underlying factors in your relationship that need to be addressed.
Being alone in marriage doesn’t just happen overnight. There are often many underlying factors such as:
Hectic schedules are one of the major causes of the divide in couples, especially when both partners work full time. Busy schedules keep couples from spending more quality time with each other, which creates a vacuum. Soon, they begin to notice their loneness as the other doesn’t have much time.
Whether it is a busy schedule that leaves no time, the lack of energy to engage in sex or spend some quality time being physically intimate, lack of physical intimacy drives couples apart. The ever-widening gap makes even a warm kiss or a naughty pinch feel annoying for one while the other is left feeling lonely.
Loneliness in a marriage can sometimes have its roots in its past, with the effects surfacing after marriage. Friction with parents or siblings or a history of rocky relationships that make people shut themselves in a shell or drift away from the spouse can lead to loneliness.
Lack of connection that arises due to problems such as finances, life transitions, poor communication, and time can put couples out of alignment and lead to loneliness. When partners share emotionally, there is a strong connection and a feeling of security and belonging.
When monotony sets in, couples go about their usual routines without paying much attention to each other beyond what is necessary to maintain their lives. This could make one or both of them lose interest in connecting intentionally and end up feeling lonely.
When the partners are overly dependent on each other, it could lead to an unhealthily intertwined relationship that feels like a burden for both. If their company becomes the only exclusive social connection they have, it can put a strain on the relationship and eventually lead to phases of disconnection and loneliness.
When couples are burdened with the responsibility of being parents, they could struggle to connect as couples. Over time, it makes the relationship stale as there are little to no moments of intimacy or affection. When there is no time for the marriage, it creates loneliness.
When one of the spouses is an abuser or a bully, the other would feel weak, helpless, and lonely. Abuse of any kind, such as emotional or physical, makes the victim weary of every circumstance that could trigger an outburst.
Here are the typical signs of being lonely in a marriage:
The couple can barely recall the last time they were intimate. There could be a number of reasons, from being busy to having no energy for it. The thought of intimacy could also trigger feelings of loneliness.
Couples who are lonely don’t talk about their routines and their work in a conversation. It could also be at a point where they are totally unaware of each other’s work routines.
Any special events they enjoyed are now forgotten. They tend to forget important dates, birthdays, and anniversaries.
Couples barely talk or communicate with each other about difficult things as it would lead to fights. They also stop asking the other for help and instead resort to other support systems.
When partners drift, their attitude shifts to “not my problem” or “who cares”. They try to avoid solving problems but instead try to slip away.
Follow these tips to recognise loneliness and avoid it:
This is the best place to start looking into your problem. Maybe, it’s not entirely your partner’s fault. It may be something about you that keeps bringing you back to circumstances that end up making you feel lonely. Maybe you are expecting too much out of the marriage or your spouse. Figure it out and work on it.
When your spouse does something for you, acknowledge it (not compliment or praise) so that they know that you notice their gestures. Be specific about how you acknowledge their gestures, whether in words or action.
It helps to go back to the past, even if it’s painful, to see what happened and what changed. You will be able to find a lot of things that threw the relationship off the course and figure out ways to start making things work again.
Quite often, things go south because you would have lost yourself over time and changed into a person that your spouse no longer gets attracted to. Whether it’s your physical looks or the attitude you have developed over the years, work on it to make yourself better, and always remember to love yourself.
Here are some ways to deal with loneliness in your marriage:
Communication is a great tool that is often underestimated. If you start feeling lonely and that you have drifted from your partner, talk to them about it and be willing to listen without getting annoyed.
If you have gotten into the habit of skipping plans made by your partner, then break that by getting involved. Even when you are not in the mood, do it for them, so they will understand that you are putting effort into it.
Learning to live alone without overly depending emotionally or physically on your partner is the first step that can fix things. If you can be alone, you will learn to love yourself and enjoy your own company. Let the major source of your happiness in life be you and not your marriage.
A therapist can teach you to think and see things from a different perspective that is helpful. Figure out what went wrong from your side, and then work with your spouse. You could also ask your spouse to go to therapy with you.
If you had abandoned your close and trusted friends or barely see them anymore, get back in touch with them. Your friendships are essential to make you feel good, and your friends will be there as a support system when you need it the most.
Your hobbies can get your mind off the monotony that keeps you trapped. Doing what you enjoy gives you a sense of satisfaction and makes you feel good about yourself. Suppose you don’t have a hobby scope out for activities that you enjoy. The key here is to find something that feels meaningful and enjoyable.
Improving your career is probably the most rewarding activity you can engage in as it establishes you as an important person at your workplace. And, you will have less time to obsess over your loneliness.
If nothing works, you don’t have to live accepting a lonely marriage. If there’s no scope for improvement or your spouse is unwilling to work things with you despite trying everything, consider moving on. If loneliness causes mental wellness problems that strongly affect your health and work, then it could be time to let go.
Going by the statistics, there are many people who are lonely in their marriages. However, it’s not something that is expected out of a healthy marriage. If you find yourself in the situation, take a systematic approach to fix things.
This post was last modified on May 18, 2021 7:36 pm
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