There are many reasons a person can feel lonely in a relationship. Sometimes it can be due feeling unfulfilled in the relationship, or perhaps it’s due to looking for one’s partner to fill a personal void, according to relationship psychology expert Niloo Dardashti. Below we have addressed some root causes, and potential solutions for loneliness in your romance.
Why loneliness in relationships occur
One of the major reasons stems from a relationship not working effectively. According to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, 28% of individuals dissatisfied with their family life experience loneliness. This number has risen sharply over the past few decades as reflected in a 2016 General Social survey by the University of Chicago. Typically, when a couple losses their emotional connection, one or both partners will feel distant and estranged from each other. It is best to work on ways of sharing your feelings and emotions with one another so you both can work through issues together and reinforce your connection.
Social media also plays a role in relationship satisfaction. All to often, couples compare their story with that of there peers with damaging results. You may have been ‘wowed’ by your partner’s surprise of an exciting daytrip together, but when you see your bestie getting a Tiffany bracelet on her anniversary you start wondering if your guy could have done more for you. This act of comparing causes feelings of displeasure, distance, and loneliness. In 2017, an American Journal of Preventive Medicine study people who spend over two hours a day on social media experienced twice as much loneliness than those only spending 30 minutes on such sites.
Feelings of loneliness may predate a romance. A 2016 Nature report shows loneliness may be inherited genetically! Dardashti advises against entering into a relationship to cure your preexisting feelings of loneliness. “People hope for this other person to be the solution to their existential aloneness, in the world. Yet there’s not this person who’s going to remove that alone-ness.”
Understanding the root of your loneliness
Begin by discussing the issue with your partner. Try to recognize tangible ways your partner regularly works to meet your emotional needs. If you can’t shake your feelings of being alone then your issues stem from within you rather than a romantic disconnect. Next, identify if your feelings have a pattern or are an isolated issue within the relationship. For example, when the relationship becomes more established, do your feelings of being alone increase? Investigate what within yourself might contribute to this pattern. During the dialogue with your partner, if you both are feeling alone, then your unhealthy relationship is to blame. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reveals that loneliness may be contagious.
If both you and your partner are experiencing loneliness, work to uncover the extend of these feelings. Do you both feel lonelier when you are together or when you are apart? Are you lonelier now, than prior to the onset of your romance? Has there ever been a time you both felt more fulfilled by each other? Answering these questions can be a sign something isn’t working in your relationship, or perhaps you both have grown apart.
Ways to heal loneliness in relationships
Maintain open lines of communication with your partner. Be transparent and honest about your feelings. Strive to avoid any judgements and commit to working together to find solutions. Actively listen to each other’s concerns and insights. Create a space where you both can be vulnerable to safely explain your perceptions and experiences. Consider saying phrases like “I want to rebuild our trust with one another. Lately, I have been feeling neglected and I don’t blame you for anything, but I wanted to share my feelings so we can work together to reconnect as a couple.”
Next, give your partner equal time to share their experiences and perceptions. If they also want to repair your relationship, get their intake on how they feel you both can work at solving the core issues. Commit to have a series of conversations on more effectively address the root causes and ways you can reinvigorate your bond. If you both are still struggling after a few talks, perhaps it is time to enlist the help of a relationship therapist, who can teach you skills including tips to defuse rather than escalate tensions and emotional regulation techniques.
Should you still feel lonely, despite your partner’s best efforts to make you feel loved and fulfilled, you may need to search out ways to address internal feelings of disconnect. Work with an individual therapist to address your limiting beliefs and unhealthy patterns. Prioritize allocating daily periods of self-care including yoga and meditation. This time with yourself will allow to become introspective and more aware of your triggers so you can better figure out how to address your feelings loneliness as soon as it arises within you. Remember, before you can truly love anyone else, you must first love yourself. When you learn to love yourself, you can realize that you are never truly alone, because you can always be with your own best friend –you!