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I am in a relationship, but I feel lonely

Who usually feels lonely? The obvious answer that comes to mind first is the one who is alone. However, things are not that simple.

Often those who are in a relationship complain about the feeling of loneliness. This is such a special kind of loneliness when there is someone nearby, but their presence does not bring much joy… Nearby, but not with you. And such loneliness is experienced, perhaps, even more acutely.

Why can this happen?

1. You can’t talk to your partner.

More precisely, it seems like you are talking: about what to cook for dinner, when to take a vacation, about your child’s grades, where to buy a new couch… But about the important things – you don’t talk.

Audrey tells Mike that she gets offended when his mother reprimands her. But he remains silent and does not react to this in any way or even acknowledge that he has heard her. Or she tells him at dinner about her workday – meanwhile, Mike is scrolling his Facebook feed on his iPhone and just nods absent-mindedly. And Audrey does not feel understood and heard. She is sad and lonely.

And Derek tries to tell his wife Leia that he would like her to put her things in the closet without scattering them around the room. But he receives a sarcastic response: “Well, look how neat we are! You need everything around to be sterile”. Leia is also impulsive and quick-tempered and can react to any phrase by screaming and slamming the door.

If your partner does not hear what worries you, does not try to give your feedback or change something in response to your requests, acts distracted, or reacts aggressively, you will most likely feel lonely, because you cannot be open and you need to carefully filter everything that you say. And this does not help with mutual understanding at all.

2. You spend little time together or everyone does something different when you are together.

Sujatha and Uma have been living under the same roof for two years. But each morning Uma goes to work when Sujatha is still sleeping and comes home when she is already asleep. And while Uma is free on weekends, Sujatha works, because she is a tutor and most of her clients are available only on weekends. Both have already forgotten the last time they watched a movie together or went for a walk. At most, they can go together to Trader Joe’s on a Sunday evening for groceries. But it is not a good environment to have deep conversations…

Meera and Kyle have different interests. There is no time for each other. Kyle spends all his free time in his studio – he plays in a band. And Meera is a blogger and constantly shoots culinary videos for Instagram. Recently, both of them have lost any desire to communicate – somehow there is nothing to talk about…

3. One of the partners is experiencing psychological difficulties.

Marsha has been depressed for almost a year now. She refuses to be treated. She communicates little, does not want to talk, walk, or do anything at all. Walter tries to help her – he finds psychotherapists, offers to accompany her to the doctor, but all to no avail. He recently told his friend that he was feeling very lonely.

Often, if your partner is in such a state, they cannot be “together” with anyone. They are “in their own head”, and contact with them is difficult. To someone who has depression (or crisis), it may also seem that they do not get support or are supported in the “wrong” way.

4. “Infinitely far away” (no connection: sexual or emotional).

Michael and Amanda got married because their parents wanted it (in the interests of the common business). Now they are together, but they have nothing to talk about – different friends, no common interests. They feel bored with each other, but enjoy spending time with other people.

And Camilla and Nick have long gone cold in the sexual sphere. Nick refuses to go to the specialists, and Camilla is tired of asking. Now a lot of tension and resentment has accumulated between them…

It is easy to see what all these cases have in common – the lack of deep communication. You feel loneliness not when you are physically alone, but when there is no emotional connection with those who are nearby.

If one of these stories resembles yours, or maybe it is completely different, but the result is the same – you are in a relationship, but you are infinitely lonely – you need to start by finding the starting point where and when you lost each other.

To improve this situation, you need to look for ways to restore (or create anew) this very connection: to communicate more about what really matters to you, to learn to hear each other, to find common ground. Then you will not feel so lonely. Everything can be restored and fixed if both people want it.

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