Falling in love and having a life full of companionship and support sounds ideal. We all hope that the relationship we have will provide that. Yet there are many people who claim to be both in love but still feeling alone at the same time. Is that really possible? Yes, and, unfortunately, it’s pretty common.
Despite the ideal way their relationship may start off there are many couples who, over the course of time, begin to drift apart. That doesn’t have to mean they fall out of love with each other, but it may very well mean they end up feeling lonely and disconnected from one another. Being in love but feeling alone is one of the most frustrating feelings you can have in a relationship. It can leave partners feeling angry, resentful, even trapped, and make the relationship at risk for much bigger problems.
What Does Loneliness In A Relationship Look Like?
“I feel alone in my marriage,” Renee said, as her husband sat motionless next to her. He made no effort to connect or comfort her as she shared the isolation and hurt she felt. “I’ve read that many women feel alone in their relationships.” I told her that’s true. Fortunately for Renee, her husband, Greg, was sitting next to her in marriage counseling with me because he wants to learn how to change that, but he just doesn’t know how - yet.
Renee says she loves Greg and will never leave him, but she also says she hates feeling alone while in love too. It’s a tough contradiction . . .
- You love your partner, but don’t feel loved back.
- You feel all alone while your partner sits right next to you.
- You care so much for him or her and yet it seems like he or she doesn’t care for you at all.
What else is Renee to think as Greg sits emotionless next to her as she cries and describes how she feels?
Read this short post I wrote on my social media page that talks about just this — being in love but feeling alone.
Renee is right. A lot of people are in love but feel alone. Although this is more commonly a complaint I hear made by women, men do say they feel this way too. One of the biggest obstacles to changing this feeling is the fear of being alone. Too many people want their relationship to change, but are afraid that the change will mean leaving the relationship and truly being alone, and so out fear of this happening they accept feeling alone inside their relationship.
The Consequences Of Feeling Alone And Staying In A Relationship
In the above post I wrote,
"It's better to let someone you love go, and be alone, than to love someone who makes you feel lonely."
Regardless of what you think about this statement, there are 3 facts about being in love and feeling alone that everyone needs to accept:
- It’s not okay to be in love but feeling alone. Accepting feeling that way is unhealthy and wrong.
- The feeling won’t change by itself or with just the passage of time. In fact, over time feeling alone almost always gets worse if nothing is done about it.
- We all want to love and be loved, but not all of us know “how to” love. Recognizing that, like Greg has, and doing something about it, such as talking to a counselor like myself is one of the ways it can change. Without change, however, unhappiness will continue and most often more problems will follow, such as cheating or divorce.
One of the biggest relationship mistakes people make, both men and women, is believing they know how to love. This is simply not true for many of us (myself included). Even though the feeling of love comes naturally, the actions of how to do it do not. This only becomes more complicated and difficult as we try to love someone different than us. And this is one of the reasons why we can feel alone and in love at the same time.
I counsel a lot of unhappy couples like Renee and Greg, and many times just one of the partners is willing to ask for help and change. Sadly, not all men are like Greg and want to learn how to love their partners better. So a lot of married women are left wondering does my husband really love me? And most sad of all is that there so many unhappy partners, like Renee, who accept feeling alone in their relationship because they fear being alone outside of it.
There are things we all can do to influence our partner to love us more and better, but ultimately we cannot control whether or not they love us. However, we can control whether or not we accept being in a relationship where we're in love but feeling alone. And that choice is the most important one of all, because we all deserve to feel loved, not alone.
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Editor's Note: This post was originally published February 7, 2015. It has been updated again for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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