Marriage and loneliness. They are strange bedmates and talk multitudes about that relationship between partners.
Elders in the family advise us, “Get married, and you will have a lifetime companion to share your joys, secrets, pains and woes,” But what if that very companion is a reason for our loneliness? What if your marriage leaves you with nobody to share your life? For many, this may be just a myth, but for some, this is the reality.
MomJunction tells you why you could feel lonely in a marriage, and the signs that hint at your loneliness. We also come up with some solutions for this problem, so read on.
What Is Loneliness In Marriage?
Loneliness is never more cruel than when it is felt in close propinquity with someone who has ceased to communicate. —Germaine Greer
Jane and her husband were traveling alone in a car to her parents’ place. She knew the three-hour journey would be boring, and so was it. She and her husband reached the destination without a single word being spoken between them. While Jane sank into her phone, her husband stuck his eyes on the road. And their thoughts? Each one’s in a different way.
Loneliness happens when you both are at one place, but you cannot connect. You both feel awkward to be alone with each other. There is neither physical nor mental intimacy between you. In simple words, you are a couple to the world out there, but not for yourselves.
Your interaction with your partner becomes hostile and argumentative, and you start assuming things. You stop sharing your feelings with your spouse because you now know that he/she will not be empathetic.
Why and how does such unpleasantness creep into one’s marriage?
[ Read: How To Make Your Marriage Work ]
Causes Of Loneliness In Marriage:
Loneliness is a common problem among millions of people across the world. According to a study on Swedes, there is a gender difference in loneliness among married people, with women experiencing it more than men (1). Here are a few reasons why loneliness can happen to you.
1. Bullying and terrorizing:
Your spouse thinks that he/she is all powerful. They bully you, and keep you under constant fear. Psychological and emotional abuse becomes a regular affair. You are afraid of him / her because you do not know what circumstances can invite wrath from him / her. This keeps you away from him as much as possible.
2. Hectic schedule:
A prominent reason for modern day divorces is a busy schedule of the couples. You and your man are so busy with your careers or with family matters that you hardly get any time to spend together. This creates a vacuum and time only widens that gap. When you sit back and think, you could feel the loneliness all around you.
3. Craving for emotional support:
Your mother is seriously ill and you are worried. However, your spouse doesn’t make an effort to ease your anxiety nor does he acknowledge the pain you are undergoing. When there is no emotional connect, there is no scope for emotional support. And when you know you will not get that from him, you prefer silence to sharing your emotions with him.
4. Rare physical intimacy:
When was the last time you got physically intimate with your husband? A naughty pinch or a warm kiss or a steamy night is not just for the body but for the mind too. The lesser you do that the wider is the gap between you two.
[ Read: How To Bring Back Intimacy In A Marriage ]
5. Lack of together time:
You are always surrounded by your kids or other family members. Or the family is so big that there is no time to steal a few private moments with your husband. Initially, you make an attempt to create some me-time for you both, but if that fails, you give up.
6. Experiences from the past:
Loneliness after marriage does not always stem from your spouse. The past events or relationships in your life can also be the culprit. According to research studies, your loneliness can also be the result of the depression or fiction with your parents or siblings, and your past relationship with them (2).
Loneliness need not always be in-your-face. It may be subtle, or you may be too busy to understand about your loneliness. So, how would you know if you are lonely in your relationship?
Signs Of Loneliness In A Marriage:
Do not ignore the gut feeling that something is off between you and your partner. We’ll tell you the signs, which you can look out for in your relationship.
1. Did you get time to be intimate with your partner?
You can’t really remember? The very fact that you are thinking about your intimacy (or the lack of it) means something is amiss in the relationship. You may not be getting intimate with him due to lack of interest, shortage of time, or lack of privacy. Whatever the reason might be, the absence of intimacy could be a sign of your loneliness.
2. You both don’t share your daily routines anymore.
You tell him what you did through the day, he tells you about his routine, and you drift into a long conversation. This is not the case with you? If your spouse simply rolls his eyes when you strike a conversation, or is busy checking his phone when you talk to him, then yes, your communication channel is not working the way it should.
3. You forget the special days.
You remember the assignment your children have to submit on Monday and the meeting you got to attend, but you do not remember your anniversary. Special days like birthdays and anniversaries bring a spark into our routines. But if you and your spouse forget such important days, it means that you no more value them or care to have that ‘spark’ in your lives.
4. Your partner doesn’t ask you for things he wants.
Your spouse is hesitant to come to you for help. He might try it for himself and fail but won’t approach you. But this was not the case in the past. This could indicate a change in his behavior or his attempt to depend less on you. And why would he do that? Introspect if your response is the reason for your spouse’s behavior.
Loneliness is depressing, and if it due to the person you love the most, then there could be no words to describe the feelings. But why should such feelings come at all? Nip them in the bud, and you will be free of depression.
How To Avoid Loneliness In A Marriage:
You need not have to wait for the early signals of loneliness. Learn from others mistakes. Make sure you are not falling into the trap of monotony. Make a conscious effort to keep the atmosphere at home lively.
Communication is the panacea for all ills in a marriage. Talk to each other as often as possible. You need not have to search for a topic. Talk randomly and share your experiences of that day. Discuss the day’s news or converse about a topic that is of common interest to you both. Approach them from his perspective. That keeps the atmosphere at home lively.
2. Recall good times.
Watch your wedding video or your honeymoon photos. Talk about your courtship days and all the romantic outings you both went together. The naughty or silly things you secretly did without the knowledge of your family and friends. That will make you both laugh together. The couple that laughs together stays together!
4. Do small favors for each other.
Is he struggling with his necktie? Help him do it. Is he a foodie? Prepare a delicious breakfast for him. Is he stressed out at work? Help him come out of his bad mood. This will make him look up to you. He knows he can come to you for any help or with any problem. You will be his first destination in distress.
5. Understand his point of view.
It is not always necessary to look at things your way. Your husband could have a different opinion. You may be irritated with your mother-in-law’s interference in a party that you have organized for your husband. But he wouldn’t agree with you. Interference for you, would be love and affection for him. Stop judging! To comprehend your partner’s viewpoint, take a couple of minutes to think.
And if you thought that the above steps would help you avoid only loneliness, no. They will also help you avoid all the illnesses you get due to loneliness in a marriage.
Health Problems Due To Loneliness:
Loneliness can be taxing both emotionally and physically. Here are some of the side-effects of loneliness (3):
- Depression and suicide
- Cardiovascular disease and stroke
- Decreased memory and learning
- Antisocial behavior
- Poor decision-making
- Alcoholism and drug abuse
- The initiation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Slow brain function
The illnesses will have a long-lasting effect on your body unless you make a conscious effort to escape that feeling. If you are a lonely wife or husband, you need not have to continue in that state of mind, carrying the weight of self-sympathy. Do something to set yourself free of such negative emotions.
How To Beat Emotional Loneliness In A Marriage:
Here we give you some ways to come out of your loneliness. Pick and implement the ones that suit you:
1. Stop sympathizing yourself, start living!
As we have mentioned above, do not sympathize yourself for being lonely. The more you think about it, the worse you will feel. Understand that your spouse is the most important person in your life but he is not the only you have. Meet your parents, siblings or close friends and bond with them often. Have people around you. But, stop expecting or seeking sympathy from them.
2. Try a hobby:
When you are in the phase of extreme loneliness in a marriage, start something which you always wished to do and couldn’t go ahead with it due to marital constraints. Each time you feel miserable and left out, your new hobby will remind you of the positive things in life. It will help you re-live your passions and interests. Be it writing, singing, joining dance or aerobics classes or associating yourself with a charity organization, you may take up anything that is beneficial to you.
3. Never say no to plans:
Stop saying no to the plans your friends and family make. If they want you to join in their picnic, long drive or a short outing, go with them. You may not be in the mood to have fun, but fun is what exactly you want at this time. It will give you confidence that you have several loving people around you. This will help you face your spouse, talk to him and sort out the problems between you.
4. Invite friends and family home:
Invite your close friends or family home. A sumptuous meal, beautiful ambiance, and a bit of gossip would work as a potion for your loneliness. Watch a movie together, or go for an ending bout of your favorite TV series. Involve your spouse by inviting his friends and family as well. Who knows, this could rejuvenate the spark between you two.
5. Focus on your career:
Never let your professional life get affected by your personal life. This is harder done than said, but will surely work as you can forget about your loneliness, interact with your colleagues, and keep yourself with work. A career will help you maintain your calm and focus on priorities in life.
6. Learn to live alone, don’t fear loneliness:
This is the hardest part of all. Love yourself, and you will start enjoying your company. Stop pitying or blaming yourself for your loneliness as neither will help you go forward in life. When you learn to live alone, you will identify your hidden abilities and appreciate your strengths. Have a make-over of your appearance, get a new haircut done, go for a massage with aroma oils, and update your wardrobe. This new look might bring you admirers and could make your spouse sit up and notice.
7. Focus on your health:
You can beat loneliness only if you are strong, both physically and mentally. Loneliness could lead to binge eating. You can avoid such weaknesses by focusing on your health. Eat nutritious food, drink water regularly, and exercise. Work out in a gym, attend aerobic classes or perform yoga and meditation. They keep your body fit and at the same time make you feel better about life.
[ Read: Love Making Tips In Marriage ]
8. Talk to your spouse:
Never lose your fight even before the battle begins. Do not go into depression without making an attempt to share your thoughts with your spouse. Talk to him about your loneliness. This will prompt him to share his version, his tensions or disappointments in life. Maybe he, too, is going through loneliness or is disappointed with his married life!
Loneliness is not a rare phenomenon. We might experience it at any stage of our life, right from childhood to the later stages. You can successfully come out of it if you make an effort. Be determined to fight it out, albeit all alone, but your victory is waiting to meet you at the end of the race.
Have you been through such experiences in life? Let us know in the comment section below.
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