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Feeling Lonely In A Relationship

What are the causes and how do you overcome the feeling of loneliness in a relationship?
  • 4 April 2024
  • 7min

Feeling lonely in a relationship is common, but it's not often openly discussed. Do you feel lonely even though you're in a relationship? It can be hard to understand why you feel lonely when you're living closely with someone else, especially if you love and care for your partner. But there are factors that can contribute to you feeling this way.

Not feeling understood contributes to feeling lonely in a relationship

One of the main causes of feeling lonely in a relationship is that you are not feeling understood or listened to. If you and your partner don't share your feelings, thoughts, and needs with each other, it's easy to feel a distance between you.

The importance of being vulnerable and sharing, but also being able to receive and listen when your partner tells you something. Loneliness can easily arise if you find it difficult to ask for help or support from your partner.

It may also be that your everyday life is intense right now, and you may be more of a logistical team than a couple in love. Perhaps you talk a lot about who should do the shopping and when you should clean, but less about what you long for or what worries you? It may also be that you need to review what your everyday life looks like to give you better opportunities to be present and share thoughts and feelings.

Too little time together creates distance

Another factor that can make you feel lonely in a relationship is when you don't have enough time together.

It can be difficult to balance work, family, and other commitments, but it's important to try to create time for each other. Try to find a way to spend time together that fits into your daily life right now. It could be having a regular date night or planning a weekend getaway together, but also the simple moments in everyday life like watching a TV series together or having lunch together once a week. Or, for that matter, making it a routine to give each other some of your time and energy every day and check in on how the day has been.

Different interests or life goals can contribute to feeling lonely in a relationship

Loneliness can also arise when you have different interests or goals in life. It's important to understand and respect each other's interests, but also to find common interests and activities that you can enjoy together. Sometimes, especially when time and energy are limited, this is more challenging than you might think!

Are there any clues in what you did together earlier in your relationship? Is it possible to do something like that now, even though life may look different? Or can you instead see it as a goal to find a new common interest that you set aside time for?

Giving each other the freedom to pursue their own interests can also be really difficult, especially during the early years of parenthood. Moreover, you may have a desire for your partner to fulfil all your needs for both deep conversations and fun activities. It's important to realise that you need different relationships for different needs and to also preserve your own interests and relationships.

Take advantage of inviting each other into your own interests, share what you've done, and be curious about what's happened in your partner's life. This will eventually make you feel more connected and less lonely in the relationship.

Overcome the feeling of loneliness in a relationship

Do you both feel lonely in the relationship, or is it mainly one of you who does? Overcoming the feeling of loneliness can be done in different ways, depending on what it stems from. If one feels lonely but not the other, it may be because you have different needs in the relationship, or because your social life outside the relationship looks different.

If you feel lonely even though you are in a relationship, you can start by checking in with yourself:

1. What do you think contributes to you feeling lonely in the relationship right now?

Try to identify if there are any specific events contributing to your loneliness. Has life changed in a way that has affected you, such as parenthood, moving, or changes in your work situation?

2. Are there any patterns in your relationship that contribute to you feeling lonely?

Reflect on any patterns of distancing, conflicts, or lack of affirmation/attention that may have emerged in your relationship and how they may be related to any life changes.

3. How do you feel overall right now?

What does it look like otherwise, do you feel lonely more generally or do you have other relationships that give you what you need?

4. Are you and your partner different in personality and needs?

In what ways are you and your partner different, and can this contribute to the feeling lonely in your relationship? Do you have a greater social need or a greater need to talk and share thoughts and feelings?

5. What needs may you need to fulfil from others than your partner?

What needs do you feel your partner does not meet? Identify what needs, both emotional and physical, you feel dissatisfied with in your relationship. Consider whether it's reasonable to get these from your partner (remember that it's unlikely that your partner will be able to change their personality) or in what other ways you could meet them.

6. Are there things you need to address with your partner, and if so, how?

When it comes to needs and differences that you and your partner may need to discuss. Think about how you can communicate these feelings to your partner in a clear and constructive way.

7. Previous experiences that may affect?

Are there any previous experiences or patterns from your life that may affect your feelings of loneliness in this relationship? Take the time to reflect on your personal history and any previous relationships to gain insight into how they may affect your current feelings and behaviours.

8. How can you take care of yourself?

What can you do to take better care of yourself that isn't directly related to your partner or your relationship? Are there any changes you could make in your life or any steps you could take now in the right direction?

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