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Caution and Comfort for the Lonely Wife

MsDora is a Certified Christian Counselor. Her views on singleness, premarital and marital issues are influenced by her Christian beliefs.

Many older adults report being lonely while being married or living with a partner.

Many older adults report being lonely while being married or living with a partner.

Whichever lonely wife you think of, she is only one of many. Guy Winch, Ph.D., psychologist and author of The Squeaky Wheel states that in a recent study of older adults, 62.5% of them reported being lonely while being married or living with a partner. The study included both genders, but the wife is more likely to admit feeling disconnected and lonely.

It is not difficult for the lonely wife to be seduced into exploits she might later regret. The first mistake is to accept deprivation of her marriage rights, instead of requiring them from her husband. This article encourages her to requests those rights, which include but are not limited to:

  1. Physical Presence
  2. Emotional Support
  3. Healthy Social Posture
  4. Financial Partnership
  5. Spiritual Support

(1) Physical Presence

Marriage is among other things, a physical togetherness. An unreasonable husband may think that his wife does not request his presence because she does not need it. Meanwhile, because she does not want to seem demanding, she settles for shopping, eating, watching movies and going to bed alone. She thinks: "Why bother the man who refuses to spend time with me?"

Actually, it is wise for her to initiate a conversation about her need for his presence. According to Jack Ito, Relationship Specialist, “The lonely wife, who doesn’t say anything for fear of feeling rejected, unwittingly makes her husband feel rejected in the process.” What if his habitual absence is the symptom of other personal issues? There is also the advantage of feeding the husband’s need to feel wanted.

To confess that she is lonely is a safer alternative than posting a profile on the LonelyWives website. The solution to loneliness is not about finding substitutes; it is about taking the direct route to the heart of the matter. The pain of the confession may be well worth the effort of dealing with the problem and the pleasure of finding the solution.

Waiting for her husband

Waiting for her husband

(2) Emotional Support

Sometimes the husband is physically present, but shares no emotional connection. Just suppose that the lonely wife yields to the temptation of online companionship; or she agrees for his best friend to check on her when she is alone. The friend feeds her craving for attention; she responds by exposing her inmost thoughts and desires. She begins to feel worthy and desirable.

Eventually, the substitute emotional support becomes a trade-off—an exchange of one problem for another:

  • She trades distraction from feelings of neglect, for the fear that the new relationship will get out of hand;
  • She trades excitement about the new relationship, for doubt that it will last;
  • She trades assurance that the "friend" cares, for the worry that it may not remain a secret;
  • She trades satisfying conversation, for the anxiety that her husband will show up at the wrong time.

With all the emotional investment already poured into the marriage; this kind of exchange equals Eve’s trade off in the garden of Eden—a bite of one fruit, for the loss of an entire orchard. There is no profit in losing the little she may have with her husband. There is joy and comfort in making the effort to build on it for the benefit of their union.

Lonely with husband in view. - Photo by Elizabeth Ashley Jerman

Lonely with husband in view. - Photo by Elizabeth Ashley Jerman

(3) Healthy Social Posture

Social posture is very important to the woman. That is the reason a discreet, lonely wife is not willing to be seen in public with the man who offers her forbidden friendship. She wants to maintain the image of a happy, dutiful wife.

She may ride to church with her husband when he is available, or to any social function to which the couple is invited. Their conversation on the way is minimal, but their smiles when they arrive are as much as can be expected.

This kind of hypocrisy can push her into an avoidance-avoidance conflict—to choose between losing a broken marriage and hanging on to an illicit friendship. Neither choice is satisfying, but choosing either will prevent her from insisting on what she really wants and deserves. If she decides to stay in the marriage, the next step is to get professional help if an honest soul-soul conversation with her husband does not fix it.

Like windshield wipers, lonely spouses may move together though they do not touch.  Photo by Lothar Spurzem

Like windshield wipers, lonely spouses may move together though they do not touch. Photo by Lothar Spurzem

(4) Financial Partnership

Sometimes a lonely wife does things which are unusual for her character, to gain her husband’s attention. She might be tempted to spend money excessively, max out the credit card, enjoy a luxurious spa treatment instead of paying the utility bills.

It is easy when the relationship is rocky, to forget that hurting her husband’s finances hurts the partnership. It hurts their ability to help the children and to contribute to worthy charitable causes. She could be embarrassed when she realizes that they cannot meet family obligations because of her irresponsibility.

She may confide in her "special" male friend about her lack of finances. If the friend helps her, he begins to visualize replacing her husband. If he refuses, he reveals that his intention is not to replace her husband, only to enjoy some friendship benefits. Either way, he underscores that her vulnerability is safer when placed with her husband. She can never go wrong waiting up to have that conversation with the right person--her husband.

(5) Spiritual Support

Every human problem needs supernatural help, and it would be great if the husband leads out in the search for spiritual guidance, but sadly, the lonely wife often finds herself alone in this.

Her first prayer should be for herself: for wisdom to look at the situation with the right attitude, with sensitivity, patience and an open mind to the divine solution. Not that the responsibility is all hers to improve the marriage, but neither does she want to suggest that the problem is all her husband's fault. They both have adjustments to make in bridging the gap that has made them distant.

Confronting her husband with the right attitude, with love and kindness, will make him more responsive. When he becomes involved, it is wise to express her gratitude and her expectations for his continued presence.

What Do You Think?

Questions & Answers

Question: All you’re saying is fine but what if you've done that over and over but still are neglected? What should I do to go further?

Answer: Sincerely sorry for your plight. Please find a counselor who would listen to the details of your story and offer professional advice.

© 2013 Dora Weithers


Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 26, 2016:

Sabrinadean, I say Amen to the prayer. Thanks for reading and sharing my articles. God grant that they promote His will in the lives of those who read them.

Sabrinadean on June 25, 2016:

I got this link tks to Alvyn. I am indeed very happy to hv known this hub. I have shared it with so many. Your blogs were the first I read. Still it procure the same pleasure to discover and acquire more knowledge especially in "shaky" times n after I have kneeled n pray...very very often I got the anwerS to my prayer thru these posting on this hub. Pls Father continue to grant your wisdom thru the Holy Spirit so that knowledge continue to spread daily for those who are thirsty! In the name of our Wonderful Saviour Jesus Christ...A m e n!!!!!.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 01, 2016:

Thank you for your comment, John. Sorry I have to delete it because of the link you included. Best to you!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 05, 2014:

Nighthag, thank you so much for sharing your story and affirming the principles in the article. Happy for you that your joy increased. All the best in your marriage, going forward.

K.A.E Grove from Australia on February 05, 2014:

having been a lonely housewife I can identify with a lot that's in this article and the danger of reaching out to others that are not your husband can be very real.

it takes real effort to reopen up the communication lines when you feel so rejected, but it is truly worth the effort and in my experience my marriage only got better and our connection and communication is stronger for the honesty that now lives in our relationship

this was a great article that I'm sure will touch many hearts and minds

well done

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on January 14, 2014:

Nadine, I will read your story. Thank you for your kind comment.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on January 14, 2014:

Fantastic written article. It so reminded my of my: The self employed housewife story. We often only years later realized that the very people that were in our lives were our best teachers.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on January 02, 2014:

DDE, Happy New Year to you! I'm missing you. Thank you for your kin comment.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 02, 2014:

Happy New Year! Caution and Comfort for the Lonely Wife is so true and you have made such valuable points.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on January 02, 2014:

Nell, Happy New Year! I can identify with your story. It seems that when we lose the connection, we become free to accept each other as we are--no expectations-so we relate better. Thank you for sharing.

Nell Rose from England on January 01, 2014:

Hi MsDora, this is really interesting and yes I can totally understand what you mean. When I was married it was like there was a huge chasm between him talking to me, or interacting, it was a nightmare, now we are divorced we get on really well, how ironic is that? lol!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

L.M., thanks for your affirmation. Hope things are better for you now, and continue to get better throughout the New Year.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

Jackie, thanks for your input. You make a powerful observation. The marriage stands a better chance when both spouses allow god in their lives.

L.M. Hosler on December 30, 2013:

There was a song years ago called "Lonely women make great lovers". I have been married and experienced that feeling of being married but alone. I think it is quite common.

This was a great informative hub. Happy New Year

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 30, 2013:

Great description of what happens in many marriages and how could any of them have a chance without God in the marriage for both partners? One person trying to make a marriage work in most cases are probably fighting a losing battle. ^

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

Sheila, I couldn't agree more. "Communication is the key."

Thanks for your comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

Parrster, your response makes my day. Hope other husbands reads your comment; of course wives should also reciprocate by respecting the interests of their husbands. Thank you very much.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

Manatita, I appreciate your input. The quote from Tusitala Tom is very meaningful. Thank you very much.

sheilamyers on December 30, 2013:

I like what sallybea said. Whether it's a marriage or simply a friendship, a lot of people today don't seem to know how to communicate unless they're sitting in front of a computer screen or texting on a cell phone. In my mind, communication is the key.

Richard Parr from Australia on December 30, 2013:

Beautifully written and a poignant reminder to us husbands to consider our wives best interests foremost in our activities.

manatita44 from london on December 30, 2013:

Your article is useful and will benefit some. So thank you for sharing. Still, it also highlights a problem that cannot be solved in relationships.

Loneliness can induce great pain in an otherwise very noble soul or souls. Many of your rationale and statements may be true on a human level, but people can also be lonely in stable relationships also. This aloneness comes from the yearning of the Soul for its Freedom, and it will be there until such time as it has re-discovered its true Source.

I have taken extracts from a piece written by Tusitala Tom below. It's in answer to a question about love but I feel that it is very valid here.

" Being in love is a feeling that we lack something in ourselves but that this other person we are in love with will make us feel whole, fulfilled.

Of course, it is a tempoary illusion. If we continue to rely on another person to make us feel that our life is complete we are giving our power of complete automomy over ourselves to another. After a while we will resent that. This is why so many who 'fall out of love' or have someone leave them feel either bitter or devastated ....

On the other hand, if our 'being in love' gradually evolves into our simply loving the other person for what they are; letting them be part of our lives if they want to be but never controlling them or trying to make them over to how we would like them to be, then we have moved forward; we have grown as a human being.

Our Western Culture has instigated an awful lot of myth about being in love. And make no mistake, being in love is a very powerful emotion. Such is its power that it can almost turn us bi-polar whilst we are in its grip. We are up when things are going well; very much down when they are not. We do feel the ecstasy of being in love. We do very much feel the pain of losing such love.

But to reiterate, love is a stand alone. "I love you' means just that. A mother loves her baby. A brother loves his brother. A father loves his father. These are types of love that are not the cloying, clinging love which can be so devastating when we go through 'being in love."

Loneliness in 'human love', from my standpoint, springs from being attached or infatuated with a situation which is essentially temporary and will one day disappear. It may fulfill the emotional need but not the Soul's greater quest. This kind of loneliness may be found even in the most stable relationships.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

SallyBea, you're absolutely right. With the Internet feeling so private, many lonely people try to find companionship online. That is just wrong for married people. Thank you for your input.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on December 30, 2013:

I think loneliness in a marriage or partnership is very common. Oddly enough I think a contributing factor may even be the internet - people are now turning to complete strangers to fill the void in their lives.

Happy New Year MsDora - may it be filled with love and happiness.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

Crafty, congratulations on a happy marriage and thank you for sharing from your experience. "It takes commitment, patience, and understanding." That's your wisdom talking. Happy New Year and continued happiness to you and your loving spouse.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

Denise, thank you for your very helpful comment. I totally agree that solving the problem is more worthy than looking elsewhere. Hope lonley wives heed that caution.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

Dashing Scorpio, thank you for your very wise input. "The key is finding someone who wants what you want. 'It's easier to maintain a fire than it is to reignite a spark!'" I appreciate that.

CraftytotheCore on December 30, 2013:

This is such an interesting Hub! I was in a relationship once and felt very lonely. I am married to a man now who is so loving and kind. I have never felt like I'm missing out on his attention like I did in my past relationship. My husband puts me first. He is compassionate and selfless. I think that was the difference in the prior relationship. It takes selflessness in a relationship. It takes commitment, patience, and understanding. When one spouse is selfish, the relationship can have dire consequences.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 30, 2013:

Loneliness is a difficult emotion, especially when we expect that being married, we should not have to be lonely any more. Your counsel is wise. As we look for the good, and work on the relationship, we can solve the problem rather than looking elsewhere.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on December 30, 2013:

It's a strange irony that the longer a couple has been together the less interaction many of them have with one another. I've witnessed many instances where the women spend their free time with their girlfriends or family members and the men spend time with their male friends golfing or watching sports in "the man cave" and even if the couple attends a function together they tend to "work the room separately". When they're at home they're working on separate hobbies, reading books, or watching different TV programs in separate rooms. Gradually they become roommates with the same last name.

Several years ago I was having lunch in a restaurant on the San Clemente Pier in California. A couple sat at a table never spoke to one another. The woman began reading a book and the man read a newspaper. Upon the arrival of another couple they were waiting on they "turned it on" and began engaging in a lively conversation with several moments of laughter. It was as if they (needed company) to shine.

There is a certain amount of "relaxing" or "taking for granted" that a lot of couples see as being "normal" in long-term relationships. They start off as hot and heavy romantic adventures then they pull away to insure they keep their own identities as individuals. Oftentimes this happens even if no one is contemplating having an affair. Some people are happy knowing they "have someone" even if he or she is in another room. Others believe it's "unrealistic" to expect to keep romance alive in long-term relationships/marriages. The key is finding someone who wants what you want. "It's easier to maintain a fire than it is to reignite a spark!"

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

Frank, you make reasonable observations. People find ways to contact people they want to contact. Perhaps loneliness in marriage means that the victims do not care for contact. Thanks for your input.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on December 30, 2013:

I did find the stats u give kind of surprising.. only because you say and use the word lonely.. with so many ways to contact someone I wonder why that's so.. back in the real days.. once you leave the house the only means of communication is a payphone or a phone at the job.. just wondering how many lonely people (altogether ) ..Another hub Msdora that really made me think.. hmmm

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

HealthyAnnie, thank you for your kind comment. Loneliness in marriage seems to be very common. What a surprise for those who get married for companionship.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

Bill, thank you for reading and for your New years wishes. The best o 2014 to you and yours also.

Annie Messeri from Spain on December 30, 2013:

It may seem hard to believe but you can be lonely in a relationship. Good presentation about a difficult subject. Made me think about Princess Diana.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 30, 2013:

The statistic at the beginning does not surprise me at all. I think this sort of thing is very common in society today. Well done, Dora, an important subject for sure. Happy New Year my friend.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

Faith, thank you for your affirmation. The very best to you and yours for 2014.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on December 30, 2013:

Excellent and interesting article as always Ms Dora! Yes, marriage does take supernatural power for sure, if it is going to last.

Many points to ponder here.

Up and more and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper

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