Often, people go through the motions with little connection and affection. Intimacy plays a vital role in getting deeply connected. You may begin to feel isolated and lonely when you become disconnected from your partner.
The phrase "I feel lonely" can mean a variety of things to different people. It could simply tell that you feel unloved or unheard. You might also think that you are no longer close to your partner like you used to be. Niloo Dardashti, a New York-based psychologist and relationship expert, says it's widespread for people in long-term relationships to feel lonely.
When a couple feels lonely, why is that?
An unsatisfying family life might be causing you to feel lonely. According to a 2018 study by Pew Research Center, 28% of dissatisfied families feel lonely almost always or all the time. Moreover, the number of unhappily married couples is increasing - the latest General Social Survey of NORC at the University of Chicago found that the number is higher than ever since 1974.
Gary Brown, a Los Angeles-based family and marriage therapist, explains that couples often experience loneliness when they have lost their emotional connection. "Even in the best of relationships, there will be times when each partner feels somewhat distant from the other or disconnected," he says.
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What are some ways to deal with feeling lonely in a relationship?
Rosenthal and Dardashti contend that if you talk to your partner about loneliness and they're experiencing it as well, the relationship is likely to be the problem. If you're feeling lonely, there's a good chance the other person feels the same way, says Dardashti. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published a study in 2009 that demonstrated loneliness could even be contagious.
Dardashti suggests partaking in activities like meditation that force you to be introspective rather than surrounding yourself with people to beat loneliness. It's important not to avoid being alone if you want to feel more comfortable with your aloneness, she says. Then, you will be able to figure out what to do with it when you are alone. "Confront it and build some awareness around what arises for you when you are alone."
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