Being in a relationship isn’t a cure for loneliness. These tips will help when you feel sad and alone in a relationship – even when your partner is right beside you.
If you want to deal with your loneliness, get the Leaving Loneliness Workbook: Building Relationships with Yourself and Others. David Narang helps readers address persistent loneliness, and shows how to reflect and act to address your loneliness at its core. This book focuses on what psychologists call your “attachment style”, an invisible but pervasive approach to relationships that influences how lonely or socially abundant your life is. When you feel alone in a relationship, you need to figure out if the loneliness is stemming from you or from your relationship. My tips below will help – but this workbook will heal.
I was inspired to write about coping with feeling alone in a relationship by a reader’s comment. “My man and I have been together for a year,” says Alex on How to Know if Your Relationship is Over. “At the beginning of the relationship, he was all loving and caring. And now, over the progress of a year, it’s gotten bad. Fights galore and he calls me all these names. I can’t get him to stop. He refuses to change, but claims he loves and cares for me. I don’t even have friends anymore. Help?”
These thoughts on what to do when you feel alone with your partner might help you see your relationship in a different light. I hope they help you see your relationship with Someone Else differently, too…
Feeling Alone in a Relationship
It doesn’t seem right that you should be searching for tips for dealing with feelings of loneliness in a relationship. Why? Because being in a relationship is supposed be a “cure” for feeling alone! But, the longer you’re with someone, the more aware you are that feeling alone in a relationship isn’t a surprise.
There are two types of loneliness in relationships: 1) expected and healthy, and 2) unexpected and unhealthy. I hope my tips on what to do when you feel alone in a relationship will help you see the difference between the two types of loneliness.
If you already know that your feelings of being alone in a relationship are stemming from an unhealthy source, read How to Let Go of a Relationship.
Expected and healthy loneliness in a relationship
We had a guest speaker in church on Sunday, she spoke about the feeling of homesickness. Not homesickness for the physical childhood home you grew up in, but an emotional and spiritual homesickness. It’s actually a longing for God, and that feeling of homesickness will never fully be filled while we’re here on earth. This is expected, healthy loneliness; I call it existential angst. If we think relationships or marriages will take away these feelings of being alone, we’re wrong.
It is healthy and normal to struggle with feeling alone in a relationship, because a partner can’t meet all of our spiritual, emotional, physical, and social needs. No matter how great our partners are, they can’t be everything to us.
Unexpected and unhealthy loneliness in relationships
On the other hand, unhealthy loneliness in a relationship is unexpected because we know that more is possible. More love, more connection, more forgiveness, more compassion. Alex describe her partner and asked for help because she feels alone in her relationship. The answer seems pretty obvious to anyone who reads her comment, doesn’t it? She feels lonely and alone in a relationship because her partner calls her names and refuses to change.
Are you comfortable being alone with yourself?
In How to Cope With a Lonely Marriage, said Marissa said she can’t be alone. She isn’t comfortable by herself because then she starts feeling alone in her relationship. She hasn’t found herself, her self-identity, her self-confidence. She hasn’t learned to enjoy her own company – and more importantly she hasn’t learned how to take care of her own needs. She’s setting herself up to cope with a lonely marriage because she expects too much from her husband.
A man can’t fill all your needs – and it’s not fair to expect him to. Better to learn how to deal with feeling alone in a relationship than to be constantly disappointed by your husband.
Deal with unhealthy loneliness in your relationship
Are you feeling alone in a relationship because your partner is abusive, unkind, uncaring, or unloving? That’s not “feeling alone.” Your loneliness is actually a sign of an unhealthy or even an abusive relationship. Now is the time to take care of business, my friend. It’s time to start thinking about getting individual and/or relationship counseling, reading books about reconnecting with your partner, and talking to him about rebuilding your relationship. If he refuses to talk or listen, then it’s time for you to leave him.
Read 5 Stages of Leaving an Abusive Relationship for insights into how to cope with an unhealthy partner.
How to stop feeling alone in a relationship
Read Ecclesiastes! This is one of my favorite books in the Bible because the Teacher talks about how meaningless and lonely life is. I feel comforted when I read Ecclesiastes, because I see I’m not alone. It helps me deal with feeling alone in a relationship by showing me that people have struggled with loneliness, emotional homesickness, and existential angst since the beginning of the human race. Find ways to comfort yourself by connecting with books, blogs, and people who also feel alone.
Remember that people and relationships – no matter how much love there is – can’t fill the void in your heart and soul. God created loneliness in you, so you would turn to Him. Those feelings of loneliness in your relationship are a call from God. I hope you listen to his call, for He is the source of perpetual love, encouragement, joy, peace, and life.
I welcome your thoughts on feeling alone in a relationship below. I can’t give you advice or counseling, but it may help you to share what you’re going through.
Do you already know that your feelings of loneliness are because you’ve already emotionally broken up with your partner? Read Prayer for Healing After a Breakup.
Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.
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When one is pretending the entire body revolts. – Anaïs Nin.