Are you in a relationship where you feel alone? As the modern world increasingly places pressure on our time it’s often our principle relationships that suffer. Many people feel increasingly alone although we are in relationships that used to make us feel loved and needed. Due to longer working hours and other commitments we may become disconnected from the ones we love. We may begin to feel isolated and alone as our needs are no longer being met. Relationships are about connection. And if the connection is lost then we may feel lonelier than when we were single. We may feel that it’s an admission of weakness to talk about our feelings of loneliness and may make us feel even lonelier and isolated.
As couples begin to spend more time at work, one or both partners may begin to create a parallel life with work colleagues. As there is often an easy day-today camaraderie with fellow office works it’s easy to see where the term “married to the job” may come from. When couples have been together for a while they may become lazy or even just bored. Couples stop putting the effort into their relationship and may look for an easy fix outside of their relationship.
Women are often more susceptible to feelings of loneliness in their relationship. This is especially true if they have recently become mothers and have given up their paid careers. They may feel unsupported and unheard by their partner. Empty nesters may also experience a period of loneliness as the house is empty for the first time in many years and there is only the couple left. The children who may have been the focus of their lives are gone and they feel they have nothing in common and have grown apart.
There are 5 steps to beating loneliness:
- Don’t complain to your family or friends. Talk to your partner and explain how you feel and work towards a solution.
- When broaching the subject for the first time be sensitive and avoid negative criticism. Your partner may be feeling similar emotions.
- Find a counsellor to help you identify problems and find solutions. Starting to talk about the happy time when you were connected will help bring you closer together.
- Start to rebuild your relationship by doing the things you stopped doing; going to the movies, going for long walks or just making the effort to connect. No one person can fulfill all your needs. Get new friends, re-establish old friendships or get a hobby.
- Remember you didn’t start in a lonely relationship.
Christopher Swane - Relationship Counselling and Psychotherapy - Wellington New Zealand