Are you feeling alone in a relationship lately? If so, it can seem like one of the greatest ironies of life. Here you are in your significant-other relationship and, all the while, you have this nagging feeling of emptiness.
It can be disillusioning and painful to say the least. But, allowing yourself to ruminate or wallow in your feelings of isolation or loneliness will only put you in a tougher spot.
In light of that, what can you do when you feel lonely in marriage or lonely in a relationship? Here are some thoughts to better handle the loneliness next time it creeps in.
Remember that Loneliness in a Committed Relationship is Normal
Especially if you’re in a newer relationship, you could find feelings of loneliness troubling. Loneliness is one of the more unpleasant feelings in life. Because of that, you may frantically search for a solution.
The first step to handling loneliness in a relationship or loneliness in marriage is to realize it’s completely normal. Everyone in a committed relationship feels lonely from time to time.
After that, take a deep breath. Remember these feelings are common and can be improved upon.
Once you’ve convinced yourself things can get better, start investigating why you feel lonely. A number of factors are commonly involved.
Develop Meaningful Friendships Outside of Your Relationship
The fact that you need additional friendships besides your spouse or partner probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise to most. Still, it’s important to bring up. Your committed partner isn’t enough in and of themselves to completely eradicate your feelings of loneliness.
If you’re naturally more introverted, this one is especially worth looking at. Just occasionally having basic interactions with people at work or other social gatherings isn’t enough.
Think quality friendships rather than quantity. These connections with friends and family need to have some depth (and you definitely can’t go that deep with everyone).
There can be cultural pressure to have ‘many friends’ and social media doesn’t make it any easier. In reality, if you cultivate one or several close friendships outside of your SO relationship, you’ll be doing quite well.
You need to be able to exercise some level of transparency without feeling judged or like you’re ‘less than’ the other person. If you don’t grow these important relationships, you’ll likely experience regular loneliness.
Many times, this has little to do with the health of your romantic bond. Instead, all it means is that you need to find like-minded people who care about you. These people outside of your primary SO relationship need you as much as you need them.
At the same time, if these are healthy friendships, they should only serve to strengthen your bond with your partner. You’ll come back to that relationship refreshed, energized and ready to contribute to it.
Also remember that these outside friendships shouldn’t interfere with your most important relationship or compete with it. Unless you’re in danger in some way, guard your most vital bond.
Manage Schedule Conflicts that Interfere with Quality Time
Regardless of how happy your relationship is, if your schedules are always running in opposite directions, this will take a toll on your bond.
If you regularly find yourself saying, “I feel alone in my relationship,” or, “I’m feeling alone in marriage,” this could be a sign your schedule is working against your relationship.
Although there might be times when your schedule is vastly different than that of your spouse or partner, that shouldn’t be the norm. Most of the time, your schedule should work for your relationship, not against it.
If you’re constantly struggling to see each other and spend time together, this is a sign you could use some changes. That may mean adjusting your work schedules or hobbies to allow for more togetherness. Making these changes will likely bring significant improvement to your relationship.
After all, no marriage or relationship can survive without quality time together. Remember that your relationship is far more important than your schedule.
Improve Communication as a Couple
Another top reason you may feel lonely in your relationship is because, for a variety of possible reasons, you’re struggling with communication. This could be caused by stressors such as job loss, a loss of trust in your partner or an unexpected family tragedy, for example.
The previous point of having schedule conflicts can cause communication to break down badly too.
Communication is the ‘life blood’ of your relationship. Without this vital and thriving component, your relationship will eventually get really sick or die.
Before progress can be made, disappointment over the lack of communication needs to be discussed.
In her ‘Psychology Today’ article entitled 5 Ways to Overcome Loneliness in a Relationship, Andrea F. Polard Psy.D. shares the following:
“Sometimes it is impossible to be on the same wavelength, but when you can freely express your disappointment over this fact, you might emerge from the experience as two people swimming in one ocean.”
For that reason, make a point to set daily and weekly goals of spending time together. The best relationship on earth will fail miserably without regular communication.
Consider Couples Counseling If You’re Feeling Alone in a Relationship
If you’ve been feeling lonely in marriage or you’ve been saying, “I feel lonely in my relationship,” why not get help from someone trained in relational wellness? A trusted professional counselor will help you to see what’s causing your loneliness and what to do about it.
At the OC Relationship Center, we commonly come across couples struggling with some measure of loneliness. The reasons for loneliness can be the result of many factors besides the ones shared here such as depression or in-law conflicts too. While the first instinct is to worry nothing can be done to improve your situation, that simply isn’t true.
There are plenty of steps you can take to decrease the feelings of loneliness in your relationship. And we can help you discover them!
We offer couples therapy and marriage counseling in Newport Beach, CA as well as counseling in Mission Viejo, CA. Feel free to reach out to us to schedule an appointment. The few moments you take now could make a big difference later.