You might assume that only unmarried people feel lonely. But this is not the case. You could be in a romantic relationship and still feel unfortunate lonely.
While the search appears marriage It can protect itself from loneliness, and not all partnerships do, says Jane Greer, PhD, Marriage and Family Therapist in New York City and author of the book What about me: Stop being selfish from ruining your relationship. “It could be because something is wrong in your relationship, or it could be because of the void you’ve encountered in your private life that you expect your partner to fill,” she says.
Whatever the reason, feeling lonely in the relationship is common. A Pew Research Center survey found that nearly 30% of those who are unhappy with their family life feel lonely all or most of the time, compared to only 7% of those who are happy with their family relationships.
Another 2018 survey by Cigna Health Insurance found that 2 out of 5 Americans reported that their relationships (including romantic ones) are not meaningful. The pandemic You may have exacerbated these feelings. “Now, more than ever, we depend on our inner circle because we were less able to go out and fill our lives with activity,” says Greer. “We don’t have this informal in the stories, or the ability to meet friends easily coffee. As a result, if you really feel lonely in a relationship, it may become more apparent. “
It is important to remember that there is a difference between loneliness and loneliness. “Healthy isolation – where you spend time for yourself apart from others, including your partner – is a form of self-care, and it’s really important,” says Jagdish Khubchandani, Ph.D., professor of public health in New Mexico. Las Cruces University. “Loneliness is different. You feel disconnected and isolated from others, even when you are physically with them.” And he says that this kind of emotion is connected to him depressionAnd the Anxiety, even in Heart disease And early death.
How to check if you are single in a relationship
The biggest sign of loneliness is that you feel worse, not better, when you are with your partner, Greer says. “You feel completely alone, unsupported, insecure, and vulnerable.”
Watch out for these red flags:
- You no longer share details about your day. “In a healthy relationship, you can’t wait to tell your partner all the ingredients of every day, the good, the bad, and even the silly,” says Greer. “But when you don’t have a desire for it, or are trying to tell your partner, and they don’t seem to be listening, you realize that you yourself navigate all the nuances of everyday life.”
- Your sex life has stopped. Intimacy plays a big role in connecting and staying connected, says Shayna Hankin, PhD, a psychiatrist in New York City. It becomes a vicious circle. “You don’t feel close to your partner, so you don’t want sex, but when you’re not together physically, it reinforces your feelings of isolation.”
- You are trying not to spend time with your partner. If you find that you are constantly on social media, use children or even act as an excuse to not be with your significant other, this could be a way to avoid problems, including feeling lonely, in your relationship, says Tina Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist In Long Beach, California and author Money, sex and kids. You can also adopt unhealthy habits, such as drinking more or overeating, when you are both close to each other.
- You feel lonely even if you are in the same room with them. If you sit down together at the dinner table and have nothing to say to each other, that is a sign that you really feel lonely, Greer says. You may also be reluctant to share thoughts and feelings with your partner for fear of being rejected or judged.
What to do if you feel lonely in your relationship
If you feel like you are living your life alone, follow these steps:
Talk to your partner. It is important to let them know how you feel. “The key is to start the conversation on a positive note, so your partner doesn’t feel attacked,” says Greer. Say something like, “I’d like to spend more time together, and share more things with you than we used to.” From there, you can come up with ideas: A date night at home or even a weekly outing. “The key is to carve out a small portion of the time on a consistent basis without distraction so that you can focus on each other.”
Touch each other. When you physically touch your partner – whether it’s a hug while walking or a full cuddle – you release a hormone called oxytocin, which promotes bonding, Greer says. This is one of the reasons why you may feel close to your partner after having sex.
Practice mindfulness. “It helps you connect with yourself, which is important,” says Tessina. If you break up with yourself, it can worsen your loneliness. Try deeply breathing, Walking MeditationOr, simply stop what you’re doing now and then to take a few breaths and check-in with yourself.
Try the gratitude exercise together. Every night, sit together for 10 minutes and each say something positive to the other. “It could be something as small as the fact that your partner took out the trash,” says Henkin. “The key is to find things that you value in relation to each other. This can help build the connection.” At the end of each session, discuss anything that’s bothering you about your partner and discuss ways to make changes.
Reconsider expectations. “Many of us still work from home and expect our partners to be more available to us than they really are,” says Greer. “They may be in the middle of a business project, or have to deal with young children, and they can’t be physically or emotionally present at that moment.” If the two of you are stuck at home together, she suggests scheduling a time together, such as lunch or a mid-afternoon coffee break, where you can reconnect.
See a couples counselor. If you’ve tried all of the steps above and are still feeling lonely, Tessina suggests visiting a therapist together. “Sometimes, you need a set of outer eyes to help you figure out why one or both of you are feeling so lonely,” she says. Your doctor may be able to suggest someone. You can also find a therapist on the American Psychological Association’s website.