Lonely marriage?

  • Are you lonely?
  • Do you feel the emptiness of your lonely days flow on one by one?
  • Do you wish your lonely marriage was different?
  • Do you long for your partner’s arms or attention?
  • Do you want more union and bonding?
  • Do you have a lonely marriage, and a detached relationship?

Whether you’re in a committed relationship or  marriage, a lonely non-connection is an increasing reality in the lives of many people. Behind closed doors of a grand and beautiful house, there is an inconsequential existence and the ugly feeling of abandonment. The feeling of aloneness can even hurt.

It doesn’t have to be that way when you know how to ask for connection.

We are Mammals

Humans are a bonding species. Look around you at other animals, the tribe of lions or monkeys, the herd of kangaroos, the colony of penguins or the pod of pelicans. They live together in groups and often work as  a team.

The human mammal is designed to bond and mate and connect. It’s our innate nature to want to connect with others. We are innately social beings not alone beings.

You may be thinking… I love my solitude, I love being alone. Like you , I look forward to moments when I have all the house to myself.

A lonely marriage is a different experience where a person feels desolate and disconnected. There’s a lack of union or intimacy and a feeling of being untethered and not part of something bigger. It’s a painful experience for many people.

Many people live together but apart.

When you first met it was the bonding cocktail of chemicals that led to you falling in love. And now …years later…

You may share the same house, eat the same food, breathe the same air, and go through the same daily rituals  of coupledom. And yet, you know that inside  there is a feeling that gnaws at the roots of your  happiness. There’s a knowing and recognition that you’re living alone, separate, disconnected and lonely. Your marriage is empty, you know your relationship is not meant to be like this. It feels lonely and you finally face reality- you’re in a lonely marriage.

Even though you’re under the same roof, you’re lonely.

What do you do about a lonely marriage?

As a couple’s therapist, I get to see  marriage loneliness often.

Couples sit in front of me, each person pouring out their words and giving voice to their feelings. Often they blame each other for the uncomfortable , lonely feeling that lives inside of them. Both parties may experience the loneliness of their marriage, but individuals respond differently.

I help couples search for answers that will give them a way out of their loneliness. If they work together as a team, on their lonely marriage, they will surely find each other  and build a bridge back to the others’ heart.

But that involves each person owning their own loneliness and even articulating what they want and wish for. Marriage counselling is not about changing the other person. The change can only happen when you recognise you have a part to play in banishing loneliness from your marriage.

Are you managing your alone-ness?

When your partner is busy, hustling, performing, travelling- catching buses and trains, attending meetings, what do you do? Do you pull on your partner by blaming them and being angry at them for not making you important in their life? Or do you recognise your lonely marriage and the feeling of aloneness and jump into action?

Your partner’s life is busy. It’s full. There’s not one scrap of a minute left for you. And it’s not about to change.

Rather than getting angry and sliding further into aloneness, Take action. It’s time to act now. You owe it to yourself.

It’s your life, and your life is worth it.

Here’s a process to ask for a connection.

Let’s assume that you’ve done all you can to get your life into tip-top shape, outside the marriage. How do you cure the loneliness inside the marriage?

When it comes to discussing your lonely marriage, do you freeze up?

Change starts with talking to your partner and even asking for what you want. Chances are your partner may be feeling the loneliness too.

Asking is your job

It’s your job to ask for what you want, and if you haven’t done that, then you owe it to yourself to do so because that’s how you start to fix a lonely marriage.

Ask and see what sort of response you get. They may be very willing and able to meet you with the connection.

What you desire may be their desire also. They may be longing to reach out to you because they may, in fact, be feeling lonely, too.

Here’s how to ask for a connection.

Step 1: Know your need

Firstly, you need to know what you want. Be very clear about the specific request that you want from them. What would be the first step to real bonding and having a heart to heart with your lifelong partner?

  • Do you want to have a coffee with them?
  • Would perhaps sitting on the lounge be a nice way of connecting?
  • Do you just want some conversation?
  • Would a hug or an intimate moment be sufficient?
  • Would it be nice if they hung around the kitchen while you cooked dinner?

Remember, this is not about blaming them for what they haven’t given you.  So choose your words carefully and make it about you. Read more about the formula for talking here.

Step 2: Set your intention on connecting not fighting

Your intention is an inside job.

Shifting out of a lonely marriage starts with asking. And asking  is an exercise in expressing what you want assertively. The growth comes from you. And it starts on the inside before you even open your mouth. As soon as you have the intention to ask assertively, you’ll find the task of verbalising easier.

If you’re angry and you want to hold your partner to account, your words will reflect the trash inside you and you’ll end up in a fight.

You’ll feel bigger and stronger when you connect with what you want. And in that moment of strength, congratulate yourself because you’ve set your sites on what you want and not how bad or wrong your partner is.

When you express what you want, you get the feeling of being connected because no matter how the conversation goes, you’re now in dialogue. So ask for what you want. Go ahead and cure your lonely marriage.

Step 3: Frame your request about you

You want the conversation to go smoothly rather than ending in a battle of wills.

To increase the chance of being heard, and curing the loneliness in your relationship, you’ll need to frame your request properly. Here’s how:

Frame it using the word “I” at the beginning.

  • I want…
  • I need…
  • I desire…
  • I wish…
  • I long for…

These are all good examples of how to phrase your need and desire. Go ahead and let loose, and speak about what you want, your feeling and desire. This is your right.

What if they say NO?

Just because you said you want to have a coffee, that doesn’t mean they do.

Let’s assume that you made a request and they said “no.” What you do at this point is express your feeling. The feeling might be sadness or disappointment or annoyance or maybe anger. It is your feeling, and no one can make you wrong for it, so go ahead and express it. “I feel sad that you can’t make the time for me.”

After you express your feeling, tell them why it is that you feel that way. But don’t stop there.  Read more Hints on how to proceed with a No response here.

Step 4: Give gratitude lavishly

If they say “yes,” be grateful, give much gratitude, and say “thank you.”

Tell them that you’re pleased that they want to have a coffee with you as much as you want to have a coffee with them and express your hope for more connection to cure the loneliness you feel in the marriage.. Tell them how lucky you are that they’re in your life.

Gratitude expressed is gratitude received.

You give so much to yourself through the wonderful feeling of gratitude by giving it away to other people.

It is their right, after all, to say “no” because they’re busy hustling and working and doing the big tasks of life.

If they say “no,” your task has not failed. You’ve asked for what you want, and that is the growth experience. let’s build a better relationship.

Now, of course, if you get repeated NOs, it may suggest you have a problem.

Your relationship is so distant that you’ll never be able to reach your partner, and perhaps your loneliness will grow and grow. We need to do some big work in getting you connected, and that’s when you need counselling.

If you find that your relationship is not what you want, the loneliness is rich and ripe between you, and the love is starting to fade …

If you’re spending time thinking about how you can reach your partner, how you can connect and get the feeling of being relevant and important in their life, it’s time to do some couple counselling to reach your partner.

It’s time to get help.

I’d love to see you and help you get the life that you want.