The day you said your vows, you never thought loneliness would be your constant companion. These tips on how to cope with a lonely marriage will help you see why you feel so alone. And, you may learn how to thrive and be happy despite your loneliness.
In The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope, Leslie Vernick describes how to identify damaging behaviors in marriage and how to gain the skills to respond wisely. She discusses ways to promote healthy change and stay safe – because coping with a lonely marriage is about protecting yourself. She even helps you understand when, why, and even how to leave.
I wrote this post in response to a reader’s comment about the lack of love in her relationship. “I have always felt alone, unloved by my husband,” said Verna on How to Save an Unhappy Marriage Without Couples Counseling. I don’t know why I married him. He doesn’t love or support me in any way, though he never stops or discourages me from doing anything. Sometimes I feel like we are just cordial roommates. He will go out of his way to assist anyone except me. I never know what he does with his money, he has huge debts that he has made while we were together but I never saw the money or what he did with it. Every time I tell him I feel lonely in our marriage, he either ignores me or says I’m insecure. I am so lonely and lost.”
Do you feel the same way she does – lonely in marriage, lost, insecure, and disappointed about the way your relationship turned out? Then it might be time to take action.
6 Tips for Coping With Being Married and Alone
“In some marriages, trying harder does not engender a reciprocal response,” writes Leslie Vernick in The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. “It has the opposite effect. It feeds the fantasy that the sole purpose of your life is to serve your husband, make him happy, and meet his every need. It feeds his belief of entitlement and his selfishness, and it solidifies his self-deception that it is indeed all about him.”
What role does your husband play in your feelings of being married and alone? Sometimes husbands are oblivious to the needs of their wives, simply because she hasn’t spoken up or set healthy boundaries. And other times, husbands are emotionally unhealthy and even abusive.
I have no quick fixes or magic solutions on how to cope with feeling married and alone. To heal your soul and save your relationship, you’ll need to dig deeper into your marriage, history, experiences, communication style, etc. Here are a few ideas on how to being coping with loneliness in marriage…
1. Learn how to apply ASLAN to your marriage
The big lesson I’m learning in my life right now is accepting circumstances and people the way they are. I practice Aslan, which stands for Acceptance, Surrender, Live And Know this is the way it’s supposed to be. Aslan may not make sense to you, but the bottom line is that accepting your lonely marriage is the first step to coping with it. Instead of resisting your loneliness or wishing things were different, you need to just accept that your marriage the way it is.
2. Acknowledge what you wish your husband could give you
Do you want him to support you, have more sex with you, talk to you, or accompany you to events? What do you want from your husband? Before you learn how to cope with a lonely marriage, you need to figure out what you’re missing. It’s important to accept that you’re married and alone, but you also need to be clear about what you want from your partner. He may not be able to give you what you need, but you need to be clear on what you want.
3. Cope with your loneliness in healthy ways
In 6 Signs Your Marriage is Over, I encourage readers to take care of their own emotional and social needs. If you’re married and alone, you need to create relationships outside of your marriage — whether or not your spouse is willing to build a better marriage with you. You need to make friends by doing volunteer work, joining book clubs or hiking groups, joining a church or spiritual organization, or taking continuing education classes. Challenge yourself by pursuing a different career or going back to school.
4. Realize that “married yet alone” often go hand in hand
What are your expectations of your marriage – and your husband? A lonely marriage is something we all cope with from time to time, but it’s not as difficult when we expect to loneliness. Our husbands can’t be there for us all the time.
If your husband is never there for you – or is emotionally abusive – read How to Emotionally Detach From Someone You Care About. You may need to pull away, in order to protect yourself.
5. Learn how to give yourself what you need
I grew up in foster homes, and was neglected by my mom. She struggles with schizophrenia and couldn’t give me the love I needed. As an adult, I learned that I have to give myself the encouragement, love, support, and compassion I need. I’m blessed with a husband who is incredibly supportive and emotionally available, but nobody can fill my emotional needs the way I really want.
A man can’t fill all your needs – and it’s not fair to expect him to. Better to learn how to cope with loneliness in marriage than be constantly disappointed by your spouse.
6. Practice the skill of enjoying your own company
On 10 Ways to Stop Being a Needy Girlfriend and Feel Confident Again, a reader commented that she can’t be alone. She isn’t comfortable being alone because she feels uncertain and lost. 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 partner.
“There are times you must risk unraveling the life you have in order to create the life God wants for you.” ― Leslie Vernick.
I welcome your thoughts on how to cope with a lonely marriage. I can’t give advice on your relationship, but you may find that writing helps you work through your thoughts and feelings.