I know first hand, what it’s like to be in a relationship, yet feel so lonely. Trust me, the only thing worse than a single and lonely person, is someone who is in a relationship or married, and yet feel still extremely lonely. When Kenny proposed to me, and I gladly accepted, he asked me to move in with him and I gladly did. In my head, we were going to be properly married in a few months. That was a big mistake on my part! Now, I was okay sleeping alone when I was still at my parent’s house, but living with my husband-to-be and finding myself going to bed alone wasn’t funny. I had always known Kenny to be one to keep late nights, but before I moved in with him, I figured it was because he had no-one to go home to. Alas, even after we started staying together, he still enjoyed driving back home in the wee hours of the night, sometimes, just before dawn. I had thought that moving in with him was going to bring us closer, but it only drove us further apart. I was in a relationship, but had no one to share emotions and feelings with. I couldn’t even open up to anyone, because I had just broadcasted news of my engagement, and I was scared of being shamed, laughed at and mocked.
When we get that deep depressing, over-whelming sad feeling in our soul from wanting to connect with someone who isn’t available to connect with; it can drive us to the edge of depression. Loneliness is a terrible feeling and it is not the same as being alone, trust me. Today, I enjoy solitude a lot! There are weekends when I send my daughter to her grandparent’s house, give my house help the weekend off, and I just stay indoors al by myself. Days like that, I do a lot of introspection and even retrospective thoughts, and most of my wise words and best decisions come from such moments of solitude. Loneliness happens when one or both parties in a relationship are not available for connection, and it could be as a result of anger, tiredness, sickness or resentment.
Experience have however taught me that, we get the empty feeling of loneliness when we rely on someone else to make us happy and whole. Not attending to our feelings, making someone else responsible for our emotions and not staying connected with ourselves are the real culprits behind the emptiness in our souls. It really has nothing to do with the other person. Yes, when you are in a relationship, the other person should be as committed as you are, and should be there for you when you need to talk, cry, laugh or cuddle. Truth be told? It is such expectations and the attendant disappointments that break our hearts and cause us to feel lonely and depressed. When I was packing my things to move in with Kenny, I did so with great expectations. i anticipated a tighter bond and a closer union. He probably just wanted someone to clean and cook for him! My expectations were dashed on solid rock when the person I thought was going to stay at home, watch TV, have dinner together and cuddle decided he still preferred the bars and clubs. I thought I was going to be happier if we did all these things together, so I became unhappy when Kenny wasn’t cooperating with me. Just because we are alone does not mean we have to feel that painful feeling of inner emptiness or loneliness. If we are loving and valuing ourselves, then we can thoroughly enjoy our solitude, and also connect with others when others are open to connection.
When do we feel lonely in our relationships?
Loneliness in a relationship hits us when our partners are unwilling to have open communication about important issues, thus creating walls between us. Isabella’s dad was very good at this! You know those moments when you have been hurt and you just want to talk about it, trying to understand the rationale behind the other person’s behaviour and hoping to fix things, but you get snubbed, rebuffed or insulted instead? Yup! Being there, done that! We also feel lonely when our partners are angry, withdrawn and uncommunicative. You can’t imagine how lonely I felt when Kenny deliberately shut me out with work, food, outings, friends, alcohol, internet, TV and all what not. I felt like a second-class citizen and did everything to get his attention, but I only got more broken hearted in the process.
Lonely feelings also happen when your partner is more in your head than around you, when he/she uses sex as a bargaining chip, rather than some mutually-pleasurable activity or when you get so pissed that you shut down and build walls around your heart.
But, you can still make it work!
I believe that relationships go through rough patches and as long as both parties put in work, things can get smooth again. If you realize that you have been battling loneliness in your relationship and you have had the talk with your partner, and you both need tips to get back on track, then I have some for you. Sometimes, people shut down and shut us out, not intentionally. It could be as a result of work pressure or some personal battles. It doesn’t mean that your partner doesn’t care anymore, and if you are lucky to receive contriteness from your partner, then maybe the morning sun is just coming in for you guys.
Now, to get the balling rolling; you both have to
1. Be willing to feel painful feelings and lovingly manage them and learn from them — taking responsibility for all your feelings because when we are connected with ourselves, we can connect with our partners.
2. Be willing to be vulnerable and authentic, speaking our truth without blame or judgment. No need pointing accusing fingers!
3. Be willing to show care and compassion to each other
4. Be willing to make out time for each other…to play, talk, laugh, learn, cuddle,grow
5. Be willing to show interest in the other person’s activities and hobbies
6. Be willing to learn about ourselves and our partner, especially in conflict.
No matter how rosy things get, please do not neglect your own self. When we grow to the point of loving ourselves and our partners, our relationships have a high chance of lasting. People who are connected and enjoy their own company, rarely feel lonely! #SelfLove!