When your partner becomes more like a roommate, rather than your special someone to share your joys and sorrows with, you can feel lonely and upset. There are several causes of loneliness in marriages. From miscommunication to other complexities, such woes can create a gap between you and your partner. If you are unable to communicate with your partner, the spark of your relationship fizzles out. Even though they are supposed to be your lifetime companion, such problems may make them the reason behind your loneliness. So, we are here to discuss the various causes of loneliness in marriages and the signs to help you identify them. We have also compiled a few solutions to tackle this issue. So, read on to know more.
What Is Loneliness In Marriage?
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 cannot connect with each other. 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?
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 your spouse because you do not know what circumstances can invite their wrath. This keeps you away from them as much as possible.
2. Hectic schedule:
A prominent reason for modern day divorces is a busy schedule of the couples. You and your partner 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 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 them, you prefer silence to sharing your emotions.
4. Rare physical intimacy:
When was the last time you got physically intimate with your partner? 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.
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 partner. Initially, you make an attempt to create some couple’s 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 depression or friction 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 realize that you are lonely. 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 your spouse 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 your spouse what you did through the day, they tell you about their routine, and you drift into a long conversation. Is this not the case with you? If your spouse simply rolls their 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 have 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 longer value them or care to have that ‘spark’ in your lives.
4. Your partner doesn’t ask you for things they want.
Your spouse is hesitant to come to you for help. They might try it for themselves and fail but won’t approach you. But this was not the case in the past. This could indicate a change in their attempts to depend less on you. Why would they do that? Consider if your response is a possible reason for your spouse’s behavior.
Loneliness is depressing, and if it due to your relationship with 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 don’t 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 your spouse from their perspective. That keeps the atmosphere at home lively.
2. Recall good times.
Watch your wedding video or look at your honeymoon photos. Talk about your courtship days and all the romantic outings you both experienced 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 she a foodie? Prepare a delicious breakfast for her. This will make your partner look up to you. They know they can come to you for any help or with any problem. You will be their first destination in distress.
5. Understand their point of view.
It is not always necessary to look at things your way. Your spouse 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 partner. But they wouldn’t agree with you. Interference for you would be love and affection for your partner. 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 Associated With Loneliness
Loneliness can be taxing both emotionally and physically, and could come along with (3):
- Low self-esteem
- Alcoholism and drug abuse
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, carrying the weight of self-sympathy. Do something to set yourself free of such negative emotions.
How To Bring Yourself Out Of Loneliness?
Here we give you some ways to come out of your loneliness. Pick and implement the ones that suit you:
1. Stop sympathizing with yourself, start living!
The more you think about it, the worse you will feel. Understand that your spouse is the most important person in your life but they are 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 them 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 unending bout of your favorite TV series. Involve your spouse by inviting their 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 busy 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.
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 them about your loneliness. This will prompt them to share their version, their tensions or disappointments in life. Maybe he/ she, too, is going through loneliness or is disappointed with their married life!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is loneliness in marriage vs. emotional neglect?
There is a slight difference between loneliness and emotional neglect in a marriage. While emotional neglect could lead you to loneliness, it is not always that loneliness is caused due to emotional neglect. Emotional neglect occurs when one spouse is not attending to and responding to another’s emotional needs. However, loneliness could be due to your busy schedules, inability to fulfill each other’s expectations, or maybe you are far away from each other for work or other reasons.
2. How do big life changes put us at the risk of loneliness?
A spouse moving to another city or country for work or study, the pressure of a new job, purchasing a new property, or children becoming a priority are some significant changes that could put the risk of loneliness in a marriage. It happens because the priorities shift from the partner to other things in life. However, the problem of loneliness can be resolved with mutual understanding.
3. Can a marriage survive emotional detachment?
Yes, you could have an open conversation with your spouse, figure out what’s going wrong, and try to fix it. Focus on yourself, be patient, and come up with ideas to rebuild your relationship. If you still think it’s not working, consulting a therapist could be helpful.
Loneliness in marriage often occurs due to a lack of communication between the partners. An unhealthy work-life balance may cause stress and reduce time spent together, affecting physical and emotional intimacy. This leaves the other partner feeling lonely. Reestablishing healthy communication is the key to coming out of this challenging situation. However, you should also not entirely depend on your spouse for all your emotional needs. Take charge of your life, take care of your health, spend happy moments with friends and family, focus on your career, and try to understand each other to sort things out.
Infographic: Ways To Deal With Loneliness In Marriage
Does your spouse often stay out of the house due to work or does not communicate well with you? These could be legitimate reasons to feel isolated, detached, or lonely in a marriage. We share some helpful tips in this infographic to help you tackle this issue and rebuild your life.
- Loneliness in Marriage.
- Loneliness and Social Connections.
- Marriage, Family and Loneliness: A Cross-National Study.