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Why Do I Feel Single in My Relationship?

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When You're Lonely and Struggling, but not Alone

When you said "I do," you thought you were committing to a lifetime of cooperation, shared experiences, and mutual support. Today, you're wondering what happened.

If you're a woman, you may think, "We never talk anymore. And why can't he take out the trash once in a while?"

If you're a man, you wonder what happened to that fun woman you once knew. All she seems to do these days is complain and criticize!

By the time you're searching the Internet for solutions, you've already begun daydreaming about splitting up and enjoying a single life where you're responsible for yourself, and to yourself. But don't give up until you've read this article!


Reasons for Loneliness in a Committed Relationship

There are at least seven common reasons that couples grow distant from one another. Sometimes several of these reasons are present at the same time, making it even harder for a couple to recover their relationship.

Let's look at a brief description of each, and the best tools for addressing the causes of loneliness in your relationship once you've pinpointed the cause.

Power Struggles

In the beginning, you felt like you meshed naturally and without effort. You liked what he liked. She had the same pet peeves that you did. Now, it feels like cooperation is impossible. You both complain that the other's trying to change you and can't accept you as you are. Passive-aggressiveness may rear its ugly head - sure, you agreed to do the dishes, but you'll do a poor job of it so she won't ask you again, dadgummit!

Incompatibility

While power struggles are a normal stage as relationships develop over time, compatible couples can overcome the challenges they present. Incompatible ones cannot.

Note: If you're dealing with prolonged silent treatments, you may be in an abusive relationship. Although you may still find some helpful tools here, abuse doesn't resolve on its own and I encourage you to see a professional therapist.

Absence

Sometimes physical separation can create anxieties that sabotage relationship. Whether one of you is attending school, deployed for the military, or working away from home for an extended period of time, long distance relationships face unique challenges. The person left behind may be forced to assume responsibilities that were once handled by their absent partner in addition to their normal responsibilities. When their loved one returns, they may not be ready to relinquish some of those duties completely. To make matters worse, their own doubts about the relationship may surface, and either of them may wonder if their partner's cheating. The worst case scenario happens when one does cheat. Infidelity is a deep betrayal that leaves scars for a long, long, time. Some couples may recover, while others never will.

Lack of Bonding:

When our relationship or marriage has been rushed, we might not have had a chance to build a deep, enduring friendship with our partner. The best relationships have a deep sense of friendship that's characterized by mutual respect, trust, and appreciation. Boredom and suspicion can undermine a relationship faster than we can say, "I love you."

Hectic Schedules

Work demands, children, taking care of your home, doing laundry, making (or buying) meals, and slipping in a bit of recreation and sleep can drain us. Once we deduct 8 hours for work, another 8 for sleep, and an hour for the miscellaneous stuff we do like driving to and from work and showering, we have seven hours left in the day. It sounds like a lot, but think of the many extra tasks each of us handles regularly. We pay bills, mow the lawn, wash our cars, clean the house, take care of the kids, and still want some down time for watching television or surfing the Internet. How much of your time is truly free, with nothing on your "to do" list? How much of your partner's time is?

Addiction

When one or both of the people in a relationship have an alcohol or drug addiction, life becomes a chaotic roller coaster. The good times are really, really good, but the bad ones are downright traumatic. Often, people in abusive relationships are ashamed to talk honestly and openly to other family members or friends about their problems because they're afraid of criticism and feel ashamed. They feel pressured to maintain an acceptable image. "What goes on here should stay here" is their mantra, and it can lead to a very lonely life.

Imbalanced Personal Growth

Sometimes partners simply don't attend to their relationship enough to grow together. Each day, we make observations and pass judgments on the things going on around us. At work. What we see on television. What we heard somebody say. Over a period of years, our values, beliefs, and personal interests may change because of these trivial events. If we fail to pay attention to the little things our partner experiences on a day-to-day basis, we risk losing touch with the things that are important to them. In other words, if we don't grow together, we'll grow apart.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

This is one of my all-time favorite books. Chapman's ideas are so simple, but have had such a profound effect on many couples' relationships - including my own. I wish I could give everyone a copy of this book!

 

Poor communication skills

Most couples therapy seems to center around teaching communication skills. Although I realize that counseling can help some couples, I believe the majority of couples wouldn't have communication problems if the "real" problem was addressed.

By "communication skills," I'm not referring to using "I statements." You've probably already tried it and found that it didn't work, or you wouldn't still be reading this page. However, I do believe that how we communicate our empathy and admiration can draw our partner closer or alienate him or her. Couples with so-called poor communication skills have a bigger problem: They lack empathy. They don't champion their partner. They prioritize their own short-term wants rather than the relationship's long-term needs. This can leave one or both parties feeling frustrated and alone.

What Are Readers' Most Common Loneliness Experiences?

Have you felt lonely while in a relationship? Which of these reasons was responsible?

See results

More by this Author


Speak Up! You're Not Alone Anymore 18 comments

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 4 years ago

Very well written hub! (voted awesome)

Too many people view marriage as a destination and not a journey. They feel as though after saying, "I do" they can now "relax" and scratch (that goal) off of their "to do list". Marriage requires nurturing much like a garden, if you neglect it gradually it will die.

"It's easier to maintain a fire than it is to reignite a spark!"

One man's opinion! :-)


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, dashingscorpio! Marriage definitely has it ups and downs along the way. I read recently about a study that focused on couples who were thinking about divorce. They interviewed those couples and followed them for 5 years. Those who stayed together were much happier after 5 years than those that separated.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York

Exactly. Well said, Dashing. And well said, Jellygator. Relationships need nurturing. And I had that lonely feeling in my marriage. My husband never talked to me. Now, he isn't my husband anymore. There's only so much of that (being a piece of furniture, a part of the wallpaper) a human person can stand.


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks, Paradise7. There's a fine line between being reserved or needing time and the kind of silence that is emotionally abusive. It sounds like you're better off now. I'm glad.


Suzette Hinton profile image

Suzette Hinton 4 years ago from Raleigh

Jellygator, my hat off to you. Yours is one of the best Hubs I've read so far. I love what you said about communication. Techniques mean absolutely nothing if the underlying issues aren't dealt with. People who honestly have regard for each other find a way to wade through the misplaced verbs, grunts and sighs. There is something that's universal and that everybody needs. They need to feel seen, heard and that they matter. If a relationship has that as a foundation, they can communicate without saying a word.


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you so much for such a nice compliment! I like what you have to say, too: "People who honestly have regard for each other find a way to wade through the misplaced verbs, grunts, and sighs." So true!


Ruchi Urvashi profile image

Ruchi Urvashi 4 years ago from Singapore

Great ideas. I think most of us go through some period in our committed relationships, where we feel single and lonely. I think hectic schedules is key factor of this problem which leads to lack of communication and other issues.


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

I think you're right about it being pretty common in relationships, but I get so saddened when I hear about people who go for weeks at a time feeling this way!


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 4 years ago from london

Perfectly normal feeling, jellygater. In your soul you are free and you are an eternal pilgrim on your way back home.


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying, Manatita, but I appreciate the supportiveness of it.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 4 years ago from london

I was answering your question, but from a spiritual standpoint. Lonliness will still exist even in excellent marriages. The only thing compatible with love is love itself. Without inner peace there is no happiness. The cry of all souls is for their true Home. This does not mean that your answers are not real and helpful. Depends where you are in the stages of evolution. Ultimately, The soul remains lonely until it has become one with its Source: God. Sorry, just another viewpoint.


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

I understand your intent now, and I welcome other viewpoints. Without them, no learning can take place, right?

Thank you for reading and commenting.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 4 years ago from london

Thanks. Whatever your goals, though, this does not hamper what ever flow of love that God has given me. I send you loving thoughts.


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you! :)


Lovelovemeloveme profile image

Lovelovemeloveme 4 years ago from Cindee's Land

This was a really well written sort out article. I too have experienced this. It's odd that now when im single, I feel a lot less lonely than when I was taken. This is a good sign the relationship needs work or better to let go.


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks, LLMLM! I am glad to hear that you're feeling better now.


Nyamache profile image

Nyamache 4 years ago from Kenya

You have explained these issues so well. At first, it was love then knowing each other better which makes one of the partners to feel that he/she can do something better than the other partner. This leads to power struggles and before some partners realize it, they have already ended their relationship.

To avoid boredom in relationship partners should continue doing the things that made them excited at the start of their relationship. Trust, patience and discipline are a must for long distance to work.


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you for visiting and commenting, Nyamache.

Sadly, relationships do progress through changes like that. Wouldn't it be nice if we just knew from the very beginning exactly how it would be?

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