Yes, feeling lonely in marriage is extremely common and has a lot to do with the high expectations people have of marriage and their spouses. Loneliness comes from feelings of disappointment and emotional abandonment, which can be resolved by working on yourself and working on your relationship.
One Person Cannot Meet All Your Needs
Historically, marriage was about reproduction, child-rearing, and financial security, and the marital relationship was one of many others. Now, we expect our marriages to end our loneliness and fulfill our lives, and we expect our spouses to be our best friends, lovers, drinking buddies, gym buddies, and even work-from-home coworkers.
These expectations put an immense amount of pressure on marital relationships, and unrealistic expectations may lead to disappointment.
To alleviate the pressure, seek other people to meet certain needs. If your spouse does not want to go out for a drink, for example, invite a friend instead. If your spouse is feeling sad and cannot make you laugh as much as normal, give them the space they need to feel sad, and call up your funny coworker for a session of jokes about work.
Both men and women who have friends feel less lonely and report higher levels of marital satisfaction.
Marriages Are Environmentally Sensitive
Every marriage has rough patches, and stressors in the relationship environment can cause loneliness. For example, your partner may feel overwhelmed by the news and shut you out without realizing it, or your thoughts and feelings may be darker during darker historical moments, leading to loneliness.
If you or your partner are stressed or feeling sad, you will both have to work harder to find moments of joy and make your connection work.
How to Combat Loneliness on Your Own
To start combatting loneliness, stop thinking about it so much. If you catch yourself thinking about how lonely you are, acknowledge the thought and choose to think about something else instead. Mindfulness (mediation, journaling, etc.) is a helpful tool for identifying and interrupting harmful thoughts.
Instead of thinking about your loneliness, for example, think about something you’ve always wanted to try. Then, go try it! You might meet new people along the way, and at the very least, you’ll have a story you can tell your spouse about.
Couples frequently feel lonely because they spend too much time together and feel like they don’t have anything to talk about anymore.
If you’re feeling lonely, avoid the urge to isolate yourself and always say yes to plans and invitations. You can also invite people into your own home, where your spouse can benefit from the social interaction, too! Often when one partner is feeling lonely, the other is also aware of the disconnect.
Take steps to fill up your life, and you will feel less lonely as a result. Invest yourself in your career, your physical and mental health, and your other important relationships, and watch how much of your loneliness disappears.
If you’re still feeling disappointed in your marriage or distant from your spouse, you can take some steps to combat loneliness with them, as well.
How to Combat Loneliness with Your Partner
Your partner may not know what is going on with you unless you tell them, so find a time to talk about your feelings. Wait until you are both well-fed and rested and in a relatively neutral mood, then ask if you can talk to your spouse about your feelings.
Take responsibility for your feelings and don’t blame your spouse. Let them know you have been feeling lonely and disconnected and offer possible solutions.
Start rebuilding your connection by asking small questions to rediscover your partner’s thoughts, feelings, needs, hopes, dreams, and fears. Listen carefully to your partner’s responses, and share your thoughts and feelings, too.
You can also start finding moments to reconnect. For example, if your spouse is cooking, ask them if they need help in the kitchen and put on some music. Small moments of goodwill can go a long way – even during everyday tasks.
Of course, you can also plan dinner dates or vacations or other special times to connect with one another – just make sure you are both asking questions and trying to get back in each other’s heads – and don’t rush things.
What If Your Marriage Is Beyond Repair?
If you’ve tried everything, including couple’s therapy, with your spouse, and you are still feeling like something is missing, you may need to start thinking about ending the marriage.
When couples go too long without connecting, the relationship dies, and reviving it may not be possible. This isn’t anyone’s fault, but you do deserve better.
If there has been an irretrievable breakdown in your marriage, and you are considering divorce, discuss your situation with Burch Shepard Family Law Group.
We offer free case reviews to help you understand your legal options and bring more than 100 years of combined experience to your case.
For compassionate, committed legal counsel, please call us at (949) 565-4158 or contact us online.