Why Do I Feel Empty Inside, Even Though I’m In A Relationship?
By: Joy Youell
Updated July 08, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Audrey Kelly, LMFT
You always thought that being in a relationship would make you feel like you were on top of the world. That's why you're so surprised that you don't feel much of anything at all right now. It's worrisome when you feel empty inside despite being in a relationship with someone that seems like they should be a good match. What's wrong with your current situation, and why do you feel the way that you do?
Why Do I Feel Empty Inside?
Trying to figure out why you feel empty inside is going to take a bit of introspection. Not everyone is going to have these empty feelings for the same reasons. To get to the bottom of this situation, it's going to be necessary to figure out a few things about yourself. Look at some of the possible reasons why you might feel empty inside below. Reading through some potential causes might help you to realize what is going on in your life.
Many people feel like they're empty inside when they've experienced some type of traumatic event. Has anything bad happened in your life? Traumatic incidents may have occurred in childhood, their effects lingering even as you have grown up. Trauma may also happen during a season of loss, whether that be a death, divorce, career change, or other forms of losing something. Traumatic events can leave you feeling numb to the world, and this can carry over into your relationships.
There are many types of traumatic events that can make you feel empty inside. People who have been abused in some way often experience feelings like this. Consider whether some sort of traumatic event is causing you to feel this emptiness. If this is the case, then your relationship isn't to blame for what is going on. You might need to work with professionals to truly overcome what you're going through.
Depression is another common reason for why people feel empty inside. When you're going through a bout of depression, you may not be able to feel anything at all. This sort of numbness can be very disconcerting. You might wonder whether you'll ever be able to feel happy again.
There are many different signs of depression that you should look out for. One of the most common depression symptoms is losing interest in activities that you used to love. With this kind of depression, you may lose interest in spending time with your partner. You might be in such a bad place mentally that you feel numb inside when you start to think about your relationship.
Depression is a mental health condition. It is not just a mood or feeling. Often, depression requires treatment. It is accompanied by symptoms of anxiety. You can manage depression symptoms by attending therapy to address the root causes of your depression. It's also possible to mitigate depression symptoms with antidepressant medications. If you suspect that you might be depressed in some way, then you should speak with your doctor.
One key way to address depression is through talk therapy. Talk therapy is a form of psychotherapy that helps people find the roots of psychological issues. People in this kind of therapy form a healthy, communicative relationship with their mental health care provider. This helps them overcome mental and emotional challenges and can ease the symptoms of depression.
Problems With Your Relationship
It's also possible that you feel unhappy because of problems in your relationship. If you have been with your current partner for a while, then you have a shared history that may include conflict. Not all relationships are going to be smooth sailing. Some couples are more prone to bickering or arguing, which can lead to dissatisfaction.
If you have significant relationship problems, then this could be causing you to feel empty inside. You might feel numb and unfulfilled by the relationship. When this is the case, it's going to be difficult to continue going on. Sometimes, relationship issues can be overcome if both people want to work on things. If you do feel like you love your partner, then you can try to fix the problems that might be holding you back.
You Feel Like Your Partner Isn't Right For You
Have you wondered whether your current partner is right for you? Perhaps your feelings of emptiness can be associated with your doubts about the relationship. Not all relationships are permanent. Maybe you are only dating because you don't like the idea of being alone. If you jumped into your current relationship without really determining whether it was a good match, this could lead to uncertainty down the road.
If you aren't compatible with your partner, then you might not see a future together. When you know that something isn't going to work out long-term, it can make you feel uneasy. You might be simply waiting for the relationship to end due to not having confidence that your relationship was ever a good idea. Understand that this might not be the cause of your empty feelings. It is simply one possibility to consider.
Not Spending Enough Time Together
Perhaps you just aren't spending enough time with your partner. Do you both work a lot? One common cause of relationship problems is overworked. If you work long hours, then you might not have the most fulfilling love life due to being too tired to connect once you get home.
It's important to try your best to make the most of the time that you do have together. If you can, schedule more time with one another. Even spending a little bit of time together every evening is going to be helpful when you're trying to strengthen your bond. If your feelings of emptiness seem to fade away when you're enjoying your partner's presence, you may have found the source of your issue.
You Need More Passion
Have you and your partner been spending enough time together romantically? If not, then you might be longing for a passionate connection. This can relate to not spending enough time together. If you don't have a lot of time, then you likely aren't able to focus on romance very much either.
You could attempt to reignite your passion for one another by making a concerted effort to be more romantic. It might even be good to try to improve your sex life in certain ways. Sometimes making adjustments like this can lead to a more fulfilling relationship. If you haven't been connecting intimately lately, then this could be a cause for those feelings of emptiness.
What if You Feel Empty Even When Your Partner is There?
If you feel empty even when your partner is very present in your life, that could indicate a deeper issue. You might suspect that this relationship isn't a good fit for you or experience self-doubt. It's important not to jump to conclusions. As mentioned above, depression is one common cause of feelings of emptiness. The way that you feel inside might not have anything to do with your partner or your relationship at all.
Knowing this, it's important to try to figure out what is going on. Be honest with yourself and search your feelings. It might help to talk about the way that you're feeling with someone. If you don't want to discuss what is going on with your significant other, then you could talk with a close friend instead. It's just important to address what is happening rather than choosing to ignore it.
You might even want to decide to reach out for professional help. Talking with your doctor or a counselor might be very beneficial. If you are feeling depressed in some way, then you can develop a treatment plan. You will figure out why you're feeling so empty inside if you're willing to confront the situation.
Attend Online Couples Counseling
If you're committed to making your relationship work and you want to get rid of the empty feeling inside you, then you should consider attending online couples counseling sessions. This is going to be a very good way to work on any problems that are present in your relationship. There is a chance that your problems might be associated with a type of depression or anxiety. You could also be having these feelings due to inherent problems with the way your relationship works.
Either way, the online counselors are going to be ready to help you overcome these issues. They know how to help couples figure out what is keeping them from finding true happiness. They can guide you down a happier path in life while addressing all of the issues that you're experiencing. Having skilled professionals like this on your side will make it much easier to move forward together. If you want your relationship to work, then you can count on online couples counselors to be there for you.
Online counseling is a valuable resource for people who are struggling with feelings of emptiness. There is growing evidence that people benefit from the convenience and accessibility of online therapy. These forms of treatment are more popular than ever, as they provide easy, digital access to numerous, highly-trained mental health professionals. You don't need to worry about sitting in traffic or being in a waiting room surrounded by other people - you may access online therapy platforms (such as ReGain) from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors for you to read, from people experiencing similar issues.
"I don't know what I would have done without Harry. I was in a super low place, and I was not sure what my problems were or how to solve them, but he was able to help me get to the bottom of my problems and work through them. Today I am happy and feeling like myself again. He was so easy to talk to and worked with me whenever I needed him. Even on vacation, he took the time to call me and talk through whatever I was going through. I would highly recommend him."
"With Cassandra's help, we've been able to bring our relationship to a new, healthier, and much happier level, working through painful situations, growing as individuals and as a couple, and with tools to stay on this path. She's very responsive, and it has been great to have her facilitate our messaging through the app all week. I highly recommend Cassandra. She's skilled, supportive, and down-to-earth. We feel totally comfortable with her."
You don't have to live with feelings of emptiness. Wherever these feelings stem from, help is available. A licensed counselor can help you unpack your feelings, determine their source, and create a treatment plan that will work for you. They may also help you best understand whether your relationship is working or not. Take the first step to a healthier, fuller, and happier life.
FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)
How do you fill a void?
When you want to fill a void, it's because something is missing in your life. It's important to ask questions because when you're feeling empty, there could be many reasons that led to you feeling this way. Asking questions can help you to identify root causes so that you may begin to make changes or analyze behavioral patterns. However, don't assume you're feeling this way for one particular reason or another. It's essential to sit down and write down what you're going through to gain further insights into the situation. You may be surprised by what comes out. A lack of emotional understanding can sometimes lead to feelings of emptiness. You may be feeling depressed and are numb or too drained to get in touch with your emotions. But, you can't fill a void until you understand what that void is and what has caused it. It's important to talk about that void in therapy or with a close friend or family member.
What causes emotional detachment?
When you're feeling emotionally detached, it may be because of trauma. It's essential to explore those feelings, whether you write them down or discuss them with a loved one. You could also talk about them in therapy. Emotional detachment is typically the result of being traumatized, blocking your ability to express your feelings. It leads to you detaching emotionally to protect yourself. It's a defense mechanism. You're feeling vulnerable, and you don't want to express yourself because it doesn't feel safe. Emotional detachment often happens when a person is subconsciously safeguarding themselves.
Is alexithymia a disorder?
Alexithymia is a difficulty expressing feelings. You may not know what emotions you're experiencing until you write them down. Alexithymia is not a disorder, but it's a condition that people struggle with emotionally.
What does it feel like to be alone?
Being alone is sometimes a good feeling. Some people are introverts who enjoy being by themselves so that they can decompress. But if you're alone too much, it can be a problem—people with depression report feeling empty because they may have spent too much time alone with their thoughts. Though alone time can enable you to be with your thoughts, journal, and understand who you are, having too much time by yourself can be detrimental and can lead to feelings of emptiness. Feeling empty is the absence of emotion, but it's also something that needs to be addressed.
What is an emotional void?
An emotional void refers to the concept of feeling as if you cannot feel. So, if you're feeling empty, you might be experiencing an emotional void. It's best to explore your feelings of emptiness so that you can gain perspective as to why you're having these feelings. You may be feeling this way because you don't have the opportunity to express your emotions to a support system. It is something you can discuss in therapy. An emotional void can be painful. The absence of feeling and the experience of numbness can hurt, but it doesn't have to be so painful if you discuss it with and are supported by a licensed therapist.
What is emotional starvation?
Human beings crave social interaction. Even the most introverted person needs to be around other people at times. So, when you're feeling emotional starvation, you want your feelings to be understood. It's okay to ask for people to hear you. They need to be listened to because some people go to therapy, be heard, and have their emotions validated. If you're feeling like you are experiencing emotional starvation, it might be that your relationship is unfulfilling or that you don't feel like people are hearing or understanding your emotions. It's is something that needs to be addressed in a therapeutic setting.
Can you die from a lack of love?
The good news is that you can't die from a lack of love because it is physically impossible. However, you can feel emotionally taxed, and not feeling loved can lead to depression. Feeling empty is a sign that you may not have experienced being loved in your life. It's important to talk to a therapist about how you feel because you deserve to have a support system. You also deserve a chance to feel loved in life. You can't die from a lack of love, but you can feel terrible. Although you are not, it can feel as if you are dying, and that's why getting therapy is essential.
What causes a lack of emotional connection?
Emotional connection is an integral part of life as a human being. A lack of emotional connection could be due to many factors. For example, if somebody has attachment issues, they will not feel emotionally connected to other individuals. So, feeling empty is something that a person who does not experience secure attachment, may feel. There are different attachment styles, such as secure attachment, anxious attachment, or avoidant. If you are an avoidant personality, you may end up feeling emotionally disconnected. But a lack of an emotional connection is something that you can talk about and work through with your therapist. If you are feeling empty or don't know how to connect with other people, a therapist can support you in establishing fulfilling relationships.
Is it good to be lonely?
There’s a vast difference between being alone and feeling lonely. It’s healthy to have time with yourself. However, feeling lonely is a different story. When you’re yearning for human contact, it’s a sign that you need it. Don’t ignore those feelings, and trust your intuition. You can spend time by yourself, and balance that with talking with others. If you’re struggling with loneliness, you may try seeking support groups for your particular issues. It helps to talk with others who understand what you’re experiencing. Support groups, whether in person or online, can help. For example, you might find a group for borderline personality disorder people, if that’s your diagnosis. Maybe you have an eating disorder and feel isolated because people around you don’t seem to understand. It’s possible to find a group of people who get it and can relate to your pain, or whatever feelings you’re experiencing. Eating disorders can make a person feel lonely. You may be trying to fill the void by using unhealthy behaviors. It’s worth it to find a therapist who can help you work through issues surrounding eating disorders, so you can keep yourself safe, and work on the road to recovery. People who have bipolar disorder often feel misunderstood because of their symptoms. It can help to spend time talking with others who have the condition.
When you’re feeling lonely, it could be because you’re by yourself, or around those who don’t get what it’s like to live with mania or depression. It’s important to find people who have bipolar disorder because you can talk candidly about living with it. You may feel ashamed to speak about self-destructive behavior that’s associated with the illness. However, those who have bipolar disorder are less likely to judge you for what you’ve done. If you’re feeling nervous about confiding in others about compulsively spending, or reckless behavior, it’s understandable. But remember people with bipolar disorder like yourself don’t necessarily do these things on purpose. You don’t have to talk about your condition right away. It’s important to ask questions and make room for other people’s feelings. It could allow you to feel good if you can help another person with the same condition by listening. They could be experiencing emptiness like you. It’s hard to admit you’re lonely, but once you do, you can seek help. Anxiety is another condition that can impact a person in a serious way. Many people don’t realize how draining these issues can be. Maybe you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder, and you feel drained. Panic attacks can take a toll on your mind and body. Anxiety symptoms range in severity, but one thing that can help is seeing a licensed mental health professional. Anxiety disorder treatment varies from person-to-person. Whatever mental health issues you are experiencing, a therapist can help.
How do you become heartless and emotionless?
People who seem heartless or emotionless aren’t necessarily doing it on purpose. These individuals are likely in pain or angry from past trauma. It’s important to try not to judge others. Think about when you’re feeling empty. You may appear emotionless, but you’re not heartless. You’re disconnected from your feelings. Maybe you’re afraid to face pain. If you’re feeling empty, it’s not your fault. There are valid reasons for these emotions or lack thereof. Perhaps you’re angry because of a breakup or a fight with a close friend. Sometimes people feel tapped out emotionally, and that can cause what seems like numbness. There are signs that you are numb. Perhaps your daily life seems dull, or work is unsatisfying for some reason.
Can someone with alexithymia love you?
A person who has the condition of alexithymia can love you. They could have problems expressing their feelings. But one thing that helps these individuals in writing their emotions down. You can support them in their efforts to understand their emotions. Your loved one’s mental health journey is personal, but you can be there to support them. That might involve going to counseling with a family therapist, mainly if there are children involved. Whatever the concerns, a therapist can help you and your partner understand one another.
Is it possible to have no emotions at all?
If you’re feeling numb, you may try taking personality tests to see what’s going on with you. Maybe there’s a part of you that you don’t understand. Sometimes personality tests can shed some light on who you are. However, take them with a grain of salt. Whether that’s an individual counselor or a marriage and family therapist, a licensed therapist can help you see if there’s any validity to a personality test. Maybe you and your partner are trying to understand each other better. A personality test could seem appealing to do that, but couples counseling is a better way to work through communication issues, then a quiz. A personality test can only give you so much insight into how you are, and it may not be accurate. There are many reasons that a person could experience numbness. They might use substances like drugs or alcohol to cope with their pain or self-medicate. Substance abuse treatment can help an individual deal with these concerns. Sometimes people numb their pain by playing computer games. They can zone out into an alternate world, and don’t have to waste time and energy talking with others in person. A person may feel like they don’t have a meaningful life, and that’s why they’re lonely. When you start to conquer loneliness and begin to feel better, you may find you’re living a fulfilling life.
Is it unhealthy to be lonely?
Loneliness is a natural part of life. There are many instances where a person feels lonely. It can become unhealthy if you’re feeling that way much of the time. If you find that you’re lonely the majority of your day or impacting your quality of life, it’s time to seek help. It’s also possible to feel lonely when you’re with other people. Maybe you’re in a marriage that isn’t working. You’re afraid to confront the issues You could inadvertently slight a marriage because you don’t feel comfortable talking with your spouse, You don’t want to hurt your partner. But if you feel misunderstood and you’re lonely in the relationship, that’s a sign that you need to get help. An experienced couple’s counselor can help you work through these issues. Online counseling is an excellent place to understand why you’re feeling lonely, even if it’s in a marriage or long-term partnership. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. It could save your relationship.