I Am Married And Lonely: Why Do I Feel This Way & How Can I Stop It?

By: Michael Puskar

Updated March 04, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC

It happens all too often in marriages. Technically, you both still live under the same roof, and possibly still sleep in the same bed each night. But you and your partner feel incredibly distant and lonely, despite being close in proximity. You may have even considered having an affair or outright leaving the marriage, to quell the loneliness in the marriage. Thankfully, this is one of the most common and treatable marriage issues, and this article will discuss why you and your spouse feel disconnected, and what you can do to start feeling close again, and avoid making a potential mistake.

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Why Do I Feel So Lonely?

Like many marriage issues that couples face, loneliness is caused by an emotional disconnect and isolation. Contrary to what many people think, marriage will not prevent these feelings, and you will be required to try to maintain closeness in your relationship. In fact, studies show that around 62.5 percent of older adults have reported loneliness while being married and living together. [1]

As mentioned before, you and your spouse can both technically be physically present and talking to each other, but internally, you both feel so far apart. Over time, our interactions with each other can become routine, and conversations can be entirely transactional. Rather than calling to say "I love you" or to talk about things that you both enjoy, these interactions become ones such as "did you pay the water bill and take out the garbage?" or "you're picking up the kids from school today."

In addition, to not having mutually-enjoyable conversations anymore, many couples will find out that they have completely different values altogether, which may have shifted since the beginning of the marriage. However, you both had no idea of this change because you never have a chance to discuss the feelings that are on your mind. This can lead to disagreements and even arguments, which can become more frequent over time because you both don't know how to be mindful of each other's emotions and resolve things productively.

Even if you both still sleep in the same bed, these emotional issues are also the primary cause of intimacy issues in marriages. If couples aren't showing affection to another, this will create loneliness; however, first, emotional closeness will need to be rebuilt.

All these changes don't happen suddenly - the development of loneliness is a gradual process, which can take years to appear. [1] However, some people will notice some of the signs of growing apart, such as the examples mentioned earlier. Others might not realize until things seem to be getting out of hand.

The Consequences Of Loneliness

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If you're reading this article, you are probably already all too familiar with the effects of loneliness on your marriage. Nonetheless, it can vary between them, so it is worth discussing how loneliness can impact it.

It's a given that loneliness makes us feel alone; however, numerous other feelings can branch out from this one. You might start to feel like your relationship is not secure, and there is no sense of "we" in the relationship. Instead of there being a team effort, you both can begin to feel like you are separate entities in the marriage, and doing your own thing. [2]

Being married and lonely can also change how we feel about ourselves and other people. People can start to feel like they are no longer cared about or that their spouse is no longer interested in them. You may also feel like they are not receiving any positive attention, such as compliments. It is also common for people experiencing loneliness in marriage to compare their relationships to others.

All these negative emotions can cause us to put a shell around ourselves to protect us from feeling hurt; unfortunately, this can be more damaging to the relationship. Because it's natural to dread criticism and possible rejection, it is possible to become hypersensitive in anticipation of negative feelings. This can cause people to become overly defensive, distant, and sometimes even hostile. [1]

Although this response is to cope with or avoid emotional pain, it also causes a rift between you and your spouse and pushes them away. Additional, while positive reinforcement may seem to be rare in your relationship, it is also worth noting that because you become preoccupied with the emotions that come with feeling lonely, you miss out on possible signs of acceptance without realizing it.

Essentially, because you are responding to the perception that your husband or wife is indifferent towards the marriage, you can also become the same way. You both start becoming sarcastic, cold, mean, and annoyed at each other when communicating, and this inevitably leads to arguments, often over the pettiest things. Some lonely individuals will try to argue on purpose because they feel that this is the only way that their partner will give you any sustained attention. [2]

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While intimacy issues are common in lonely marriages, it is not always the case. Sex can still be present in the relationship, but it can still make us feel sad and angry because of the lack of emotional connection in the activity. It becomes more like a routine or a way to appease your spouse. Ultimately, it just ends up making you feel more alone and detached.

A lack of intimate contact can certainly be a possibility, but even with hugging, kissing, or sex, people who feel alone can still consider having an affair, or at least try talking to someone else because they lack the attention they need at home. If you've been wondering "why do married men flirt?" or "this woman is taken, why is she talking to me?", it's most likely because there are some issues going on behind the scenes, and they crave what they are not getting. Nonetheless, the act of flirting with a married woman or man still makes them feel sad and guilty.

How Can I Stop Feeling Lonely & Fix My Marriage?

There isn't usually a single piece of marriage advice that can resolve loneliness in a relationship, but trying different possible solutions is the best strategy. This section will share some tips on you can actively stop feeling lonely in yours.

Talk To Your Partner (Without Arguing!)

For most of those who struggle with feeling lonely in their marriages, an emotional disconnect is the primary cause of it, and communicating with your spouse will be the first step to feeling closer again.

Even though they might seem cold and distant, there is a good chance that your husband or wife feels lonely as well. Take the initiative and speak to him or her first, instead of waiting for things to happen on their own.

Try to have heart-to-heart conversations that are not purely transactional, and try to listen to each other's thoughts and be constructive. Don't expect them to be warm and friendly right away, but over time, you should see improvement. [1]

Be Okay With Feeling Vulnerable

As mentioned earlier in this article, some individuals in a marriage can tend to shut themselves off and become distant because they are afraid of rejection and criticism from their spouse. While this can make you feel safe, it also closes yourself off from your husband or wife, and they don't know what you're thinking.

If you are afraid of feeling hurt, there is no way to make progress because you won't share what's on your mind, due to the perceived risks. However, if you don't talk about the issues that are bothering you, your spouse can't help you either. Therefore, as unsafe as it might seem, you will need to bring your thoughts and feelings to the table. [3]

Keep in mind that the risk of being scolded is a possibility, but if you stay honest and upfront, you are doing your part. Once again, If he or she isn't cooperating right away, it's okay, and you shouldn't fret. However, if you've tried already on your own, it might be time to seek help from a professional.

Consider Couples Counseling

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If you have made an effort to try to share what's on your mind to your spouse, but you see little to no results, therapy will be your next best option, and hopefully, the one that sorts everything out for you.

Marriage therapists are trained to help couples overcome any issues they are facing, which, the majority of the time, stem from emotional and communication problems. Therefore, you will both be learning strategies to help improve these aspects of your marriage.

In a couple's counseling session, you both will be learning how to communicate with each other more effectively, and consider each other's point of view. You will also be able to diffuse tension if it happens to arise. [3] In the process, you will be creating understanding and trust and eventually become close again.

Conclusion

If you are interested in receiving marriage help, don't put it off until it's possibly too late. Most common issues in relationships like loneliness are fixable but might require assistance if you don't see results on your own.

At Regain, licensed and professional marriage therapists are available online to help you and your spouse have the best relationship possible by learning the skills mentioned in the previous section. Online sessions are convenient and affordable and offer a stress-free way of getting the help that you both deserve.

If you're feeling stuck and don't know how to rekindle the emotions that were once in your marriage, you don't have to wait any longer; talk to a professional! The sooner you get to resolve the issues in your marriage, the more days that you can have spending time together and enjoying each other's company. By putting what you learn into practice, you won't need to be married and lonely any longer.

Married and lonely

References

  1. Winch, G. (2013, June 28). Together but Still Lonely. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201306/together-still-lonely
  1. Rodman, S. (2018, July 8). Loneliness within a Marriage. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/loneliness-within-marriage/
  1. Jalili, C. (2019, March 19). Feeling Lonely in a Relationship? Here's What to Do. Retrieved from https://time.com/5548386/feeling-lonely-in-relationship/

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