We’ve all felt loneliness at one time or another and that feeling can be one of the worst pains we can experience. What’s even worse however is feeling lonely and alone when you’re in a relationship.
Being in a relationship is supposed to be something that makes you happy and provides you with a sense of companionship -- the opposite of feeling alone and lonely. Sadly, for many, this isn’t the case. So the contradiction of feeling alone in a relationship can lead to confusion, discontent, and even hopelessness. If we can't feel connected when in a relationship with someone who's supposed to love us, then what hope is there that we'll ever not feel alone?
Here's a post I wrote on social media:
Feeling alone in a relationship is not just a problem -- it's also a call to action. It's a warning sign that something's wrong and needs to be fixed. But too often it's accepted and ignored.
I find that most people accept feeling lonely in their relationship way too long. At first, it may not even look like you're alone as much as that there are compatibility problems, or divergent interests, or sex drive differences (Together But Still Alone). But over time these individual problems begin to add up, multiply, and become a generalized feeling about the relationship as a whole.
It's really important that we're proactive about addressing problems in our relationships. Just like it's not smart to ignore the engine warning on the dash of your car, the same goes to the warning signs at home. We all know that if we disregard that dash light it'll cost us more later on.
We’re Together All The Time – Why Am I So Lonely?
Feeling lonely is less about being physically alone and more about the quality of the connection you have. If you’re in a relationship and feeling lonely, it’s likely that what you‘re really missing is a feeling of trust and understanding that comes with a close emotional connection.
Sadly, long-term relationships are prone to this. People assume the love they shared at the beginning is enough to sustain them and keep them close forever. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true. A loving relationship takes effort -- without it two partners will drift apart, and lose the caring and intimacy that keeps loneliness at bay.
What Can You Do If You Are Feeling Lonely In A Relationship?
It’s easy to become so focused on your own feelings that you stop recognizing how your partner is feeling, or recognize the small changes in their behavior that can offer clues. If you’re feeling alone in your relationship it’s quite possible that your partner is too. Although it can be difficult because of the distance that has grown between you, try finding a time to start a heartfelt conversation about how you are each feeling. Sharing these feelings can open the door to beginning to understand the problems that led you to this point. This conversation(s) can begin to bring you closer and help you remember why you fell in love in the first place.
You could also consider taking the initiative on creating some new experiences for the two of you. Small activities like walking the dog or cooking together can help bring you closer bit by bit.
Be careful of assuming you know what your partner is thinking or how they’ll respond to your efforts at conversation or activities. Too often in a long-term relationship we think we already know how our partner will react or what they’ll say to certain things. While you may know them well, and predicting certain behaviors can be right on the money, emotional responses and deeper feelings can’t truly be known no matter how long you have been together without asking. This is especially true when it comes to how they feel about you.
The point is, if you're feeling alone in a relationship, do something about it. If you don't know what to do, that's okay, there’s help available. Sometimes it requires the assistance of a professional counselor in order to get things back on track. But these experts are available to help you only if you're willing to see the warning signs and act. Remember, if you do nothing then nothing will change.
Please share your experiences or thoughts on loneliness in relationships by commenting below. If you like this post, you can sign-up at the bottom of this page to get notified of each new post. You can also circle and follow me on Facebook or Twitter as I post relationship and self-improvement tips just like this one.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published December 7, 2013. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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