Connection & Communication

Alone Together? How to Stop Feeling Lonely in Your Marriage

How to Stop Feeling lonely in your marriage
Maj Wisman
Written by Maj Wisman

Do you also feel lonely with your partner? Join the club of many (many!) people. Read on to learn how to turn around this funk of loneliness and have a better relationship.

Studies indicate that roughly 20% of the general population suffers from chronic loneliness at any given time, and in one recent study of older adults, 62.5% of people who reported being lonely were married and living with their partner. – Psychology Today

Your sex drive can vary – from person to person and from day to day. It all depends on whatever else is going on in your life and your sex drive will pretty much fluctuate and go through peaks and troths; increase and decrease and set its eye on new goals.

It all varies.

Just like your sex drive varies, so does the lust for intimacy with your partner. In a relationship, one person can be hungry for intimacy and just wants to spend more time with their partner, while the other person feels the exact opposite and is hungry for more freedom.

This actually isn’t an uncommon thing and I’ve even worked with quite a few couples who felt “lonely together” and who have had a difficult time finding each other again.

Lonely in marriage women thinking

We typically don’t conceive of loneliness as a condition that requires urgent intervention, but perhaps we should. – Guy Winch

So what do you do if you feel lonely in your relationship? The classic – and perhaps slightly overused couple’s therapist advice is to “spend more time together!”

Really?

Often these “lonely” couples already spend loads of time together. This goes to show that it’s not a number of hours you spend together but how you spend these hours together that truly matter.

Once again, quality beats quantity by a long shot.

“Oh dear, are you seriously suggesting we start taking dance classes together or some other “activity”?”

Nope. I’m not!

I mean, if you guys both think taking dance classes would be such a fun thing to do together, then be my guest! Do it! If you, on the other hand, don’t feel too thrilled about the prospect of spending your Wednesday nights getting your dance on, there is another way.

It’s all about finding each other and – without judgment – talking to each other about your needs and wishes. After having done that, you can find a way to spend these hours together that agrees with both of you.

Lonely Together – the Pitfalls

Lonely Marriage Sitting women

There are pitfalls to the idea of wanting to feel less lonely. In some cases, the desire for closeness with your partner can stem from you being too dependent on them and this is actually hindering your quality of life being at its greatest.

In the beginning of a relationship, it feels wonderful that your partner wants to spend all their time with you. However, as the “being in love” fades away, you might find yourself wanting to spend less time with your partner than they want to or vice versa. 

This is sometimes caused by the fact that you’re not highly trained in spending time alone and spending time on something that’s meaningful to you; you might even find it a difficult task to spend time alone.

You find it dull and can’t seem to get anything done, so really, you end up sitting there staring into space waiting for your partner to come home and fill up this void for you.

If this is the case, I’ll definitely recommend you to start exploring your options and work on being good to yourself without needing your partner’s presence.

In these cases, the need for closeness is actually more a case of you feeling lonely in general rather than experiencing an actual need to be with your partner.

Feeling Lonely in Marriage? Three Reasons worth Exploring

 

Lonely Relationship Walking Woman

In short, we lose the love and the affection but stay in the marriage; ironically, often out of a fear of being lonely, although by doing so, we potentially doom ourselves to the very loneliness we were trying to avoid. – Guy Winch

The 3 things below are often known as things that’ll make you feel lonely in your relationship. Below each of these points, you’ll find an exercise that’ll help you kick this feeling’s tush.

Being Alone with the Problems

The feeling of experiencing something in your daily life that you find to be a problem but other people don’t seem to care can easily make you feel alone.

It gets even worse, of course, if you come home and tell your partner about whatever is bothering you and they don’t think much of it or even seem not to care very much at all.

Perception Exercise:

You have to start off by accepting that what you see as a problem might not be a problem in the eyes of your partner. Ask them, with curiosity, why he/she doesn’t see it as an issue.

This might actually help you see things differently and even provide you with a way in which to deal with it.

On the other hand, you also need your partner to understand that despite him/her not seeing this as an issue, it is still an issue to you and they need to take it seriously and offer help, understanding, and comfort.

Having Your Needs Neglected

feeling rejected

We all have some basic needs in our relationships and we all look to fulfill these, whatever they may be. It can be sex, physical touch, conversations, and genuine interest in how the other person is doing or something entirely different.

As adults, most of us are aware that this fulfillment of our needs won’t always be available to us at any minute of every day. If you have a newborn or a stressful time at work, some needs can be pushed aside to deal with later.

This is just reality. However, if your needs are continuously set aside and even neglected, you can easily feel overlooked, insignificant and lonely.

Awareness Exercise

If you’re experiencing that your needs are overlooked, again and again, you need to start by making your partner aware of this.

It’s no good to just walk around looking annoyed and leaving snide little comment. Na-uh. You have to get to the point and say it as it is.

Also, you need to accept the possibility that your partner might not be reacting to this because he doesn’t know what he can do, so please refrain from being judgmental and don’t accuse your partner of anything; this’ll get you nowhere but Struggletown.

Instead, what you need to do is find a solution together. Just working together as a team can help decrease the feelings of loneliness.

That Sex Is a Solo Project That’s All about Me

lonely sex

Sure, sex is also about you. But it’s also about me. And it’s about us.

If you have the feeling that (please excuse this expression) your partner is using you as a personal masturbation doll, only considering their own needs, even though you focus on satisfying them and their needs as well, well knowing that sex is a team sport, then you can very easily feel pretty lonely when you have sex.

Also, this loneliness in bed will filter out into your life outside the bedroom too. It’ll end up with you not feeling any lust for each other because basically, the sex provides you with a feeling of loneliness rather than closeness.

Set your Time

Train yourselves in spending more time on each other. You can even set a timer for 10, 20 or 30 minutes – or more – where it’s all about one partner. Caress them, cuddle them, kiss them and then swap.

This issue is really very often about misunderstandings and insecurity and using the timer-method you’ll both feel seen and you might even learn new tricks to satisfy your partner.

What is triggering your feelings of loneliness? This can be different from person to person and from relationship to relationship.

Get into a curious mindset and discover you and your partner’s ”loneliness triggers” and sit down and have a good chat about this.

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About the author

Maj Wisman

Maj Wisman

Maj Wismann is a clinical sexologist & relationship therapist and mom of two sons. She helps women around the world get their love and sex life back.
Check out Maj's website