Most married people feel lonely at some point in their relationship. Experiencing short periods of time when you feel lonely is perfectly normal, and there are things you can do to help lessen the feeling. After all, no relationship is perfect, and it’s normal to have ups and downs. But the situation should be resolved quickly. Ultimately, if you’re lonely when married occasionally, it’s likely nothing to worry about.
However, if it’s happening more often, or if your loneliness is being caused by your marriage, there may be underlying issues that need to be addressed. If this is the case, you should talk to your spouse about it and take steps to rebuild your sense of companionship and connection.
Loneliness in marriage is actually fairly common, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. The longer your feelings of loneliness go on, the harder it is to come back from them. This is why it’s key to nip issues like this in the bud.
So, let’s look at what constitutes a lonely marriage, potential reasons for feeling lonely when married, and what to do about it.
Defining a lonely marriage
Firstly, let’s define this term. A lonely marriage involves a couple being physically together but emotionally absent from each other. In some cases, both parties are physically absent from each other, too. For example, if one person or both people are traveling a lot for work.
A lonely marriage is a heartbreaking experience. You can feel much lonelier in a marriage where your needs aren’t being met than actually being single. This is because in a lonely marriage, you can end up feeling neglected and uncared for by your partner. If you have invested a lot of effort into your marriage and you truly think that they are the one, this can be a deeply painful experience.
Reasons for feeling lonely when married
If you are feeling lonely in your marriage, here are seven potential causes that might explain why.
1. You feel disrespected by your spouse.
Respecting your spouse is fundamental for any relationship to work. It doesn’t necessarily mean unconditional admiration for each other’s every move, but rather it is a recognition and appreciation of their hard work, accomplishments, feelings, and opinions. You need to trust that your partner takes you seriously and will take the time to listen to what you have to say. Having respect in a marriage doesn’t only make partners feel valued, but it also adds an element of safety to their relationship. It’s impossible to have a healthy, fulfilling relationship without mutual respect.
2. You feel neglected by your spouse.
Feeling neglected in marriage can be a real test of resilience, yet it’s a relatively common occurrence that leaves you feeling isolated and ‘out of the loop.’ When our emotional needs aren’t met, we tend to feel neglected or unloved, and this can lead to an overall sense of loneliness. Marriage is supposed to be a partnership, but when one partner feels neglected, it often results in emotional distance, which isn’t conducive to a sense of connectedness. This feeling can be hard to shake, and it can have a ripple effect on the overall quality of your marriage.
3. You feel misunderstood.
When it comes to marriage, mutual understanding is key. It’s important to actually listen and comprehend your partner’s feelings, desires, and dreams. Being able to understand each other plays a major role in creating a lasting bond between two individuals. It makes communication much more effective and creates an environment of trust. So if you feel like there’s a lack of understanding between you and your partner, take the time to really try to figure out how each other’s minds work. Who knows, it may even save your marriage.
4. You feel unimportant.
When you feel unimportant in your marriage, there’s a good chance you’ll feel lonely. After all, it’s hard to feel connected when the person you honor and respect the most doesn’t make you feel seen or heard. Feeling as though your opinions and ideas don’t count can lead to feelings of loneliness, as it’s hard to be part of a team if you don’t feel like your perspective matters. Trying to remind them of your presence can often be met with resistance or indifference. Remember that no one deserves to be marginalized, especially not within their own marriage. Everyone has something valuable to contribute to a relationship—never forget that.
5. You lack communication.
When it comes to keeping a marriage healthy, having open lines of communication is like the foundation of a home. Without it, you can expect everything else to start crumbling sooner or later. Without the ability to communicate and express how they feel, couples run the risk of creating an atmosphere of isolation within their marriage. With little understanding between partners, one may feel that needs aren’t being met, leading to further distancing and unmet expectations. Ultimately, when couples aren’t able to communicate openly with each other in a marriage, loneliness soon follows. When your communication breaks down, it can almost be like living in two separate bubbles. Sure, they may brush up against each other from time to time, but without a line of connection that comes from actively engaging with one another, these bubbles never truly intersect.
6. You aren’t compatible.
Now, this is a harder problem to solve. Some people feel lonely when married due to the fact that they are fundamentally incompatible. You might ask how this can happen. Well, some people don’t realize the extent of their incompatibility until after they are already married. They might find that their definitions of love, success, and happiness are completely different. In other circumstances, two people in a marriage may change over time, and they may grow apart due to this. Sure, having different opinions on some matters can make things a bit more interesting, but it’s a different story if you have completely different values and are going down totally disparate paths. You don’t have to be the same people, but if you’re not on the same page, at least some of the time, it can be hard to build or maintain a deep connection.
7. You feel unappreciated.
When someone goes without feeling acknowledged or appreciated for their efforts in a marriage, it can be an incredibly heartbreaking experience. Unappreciated partners often feel isolated and lonely, gradually losing the sense of connection they long for in the marriage. This can happen when one partner takes the other for granted or fails to express how much they appreciate all that their spouse does and their qualities. The health of a marriage depends on both parties participating in reciprocity—whether through verbal affirmations, thoughtful surprises, or acts of kindness. Unfortunately, without recognizing and receiving any gestures of appreciation, you can succumb to feelings of resentment and disconnection. It can fundamentally impact your self-worth and weaken the bond between you and your partner.
It can sometimes seem like the connection between a couple has faded over time for no obvious reason. But there will always be a cause, and it’s important to pinpoint the fundamental reason why you are feeling lonely in your marriage. That’s the only way to make lasting changes and build a strong, loving relationship.
Causes of feeling lonely when married
Above, we looked at the core emotional reasons for feeling lonely when married. Now, let’s look at what could cause these feelings.
1. Your spouse is always working.
If your spouse is always working, it can leave you feeling lonely and isolated. It can be hard to connect with someone who is never around, and you may start to feel like you are in a one-person relationship.
2. You have different interests.
If you and your spouse have different interests, it can make it difficult to find things to do together. You may start to feel like you have nothing in common, and that can lead to feelings of loneliness.
3. You’re not physically intimate anymore.
Physical intimacy is an important part of a relationship, and if it’s lacking, it can leave you feeling lonely and unfulfilled. If you’re not physically intimate with your spouse, it can be a sign that something is wrong in the relationship.
4. Your partner is always criticizing you.
Criticism can be damaging to a relationship, and it can leave you feeling lonely if it’s consistent. Nobody wants to feel like their spouse is constantly judging them, and feeling this way can put a strain on the marriage.
5. You don’t spend enough time together.
If you and your spouse don’t spend enough time together, it can make you feel like they aren’t a priority in your life. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
6. You’re always arguing.
If you find yourself constantly arguing with your spouse, it can take a toll on your emotional health. All the fighting can leave you feeling drained and alone, even if you’re technically still married.
7. You’re not happy with yourself.
If you’re not happy with yourself, it can be hard to be happy in your marriage. If you don’t love and accept yourself, it’s difficult to let someone else love and accept you.
These are just a handful of potential causes for feeling lonely when married. Each situation is unique, and it’s important to take the time to understand what’s causing the loneliness.
How to deal with feeling lonely when married
For starters, find non-romantic emotional support outside of your marriage. It can be a good idea to tap into your support network of family and friends or talk to a therapist. Not only will this help satisfy your connection needs, but it will also help you gain perspective on the situation.
In addition, you should pursue activities and hobbies that you enjoy. Ultimately, spending time doing things that make you happy will help you maintain your identity and sense of self-worth separate from your spouse.
The next step you should take if you’re in a lonely marriage is to come up with a plan to resolve it. This will involve having an in-depth discussion with your partner. You should come away from the conversation, or the series of conversations if necessary, with clear actions that you will both take to rebuild your connection.
It’s impossible to say exactly what you’ll need to do since every couple and situation is different. However, it might involve taking the time to communicate more frequently and express your feelings in a constructive manner. It could also involve recommitting to certain aspects of your relationship, such as spending quality time together or participating in activities or hobbies you both enjoy.
You might benefit from couples’ therapy as well. A therapist can be an impartial guide who can help you and your partner identify the issues in the relationship and create a plan to tackle them.
Don’t forget to focus inwards
You should also be aware of the importance of working on yourself during the process of repairing the connection between you and your partner. It’s easy to point the finger at your spouse and claim that the relationship problems stem from them, and it’s true that sometimes it’s more down to one person than the other. But if everyone took the time to work on their personal issues, there could be far fewer relationship challenges to work through.
Taking responsibility for your personal development is key. It’s worth investing in yourself because not only will it make you feel more fulfilled, but you’ll be able to show up in a better way for your partner.
After all, two complete individuals in a healthy union are infinitely stronger than two incomplete people trying to make up for each other’s shortcomings.
How to tell your spouse you feel lonely
Before you tell your partner you feel lonely in your marriage, try to be as clear as possible in your head about what you feel and why. Once you have done this, bring up the topic when you’re both alone and have the time to chat things through properly.
You should start by saying how much you appreciate your partner and that you are committed to your relationship. Then, explain that you are experiencing feelings of loneliness and that you need to feel more connected.
Say that you think if you work together, you can rebuild your connection and be specific about the actions you think you will both need to take to get to that point. If you focus on the fact that you will work together, you give the sense of both of you working as a team rather than blaming your partner.
You should then ask your spouse how they feel about the situation. They may need time to process the information, so be prepared to give them space to digest everything. It’s essential that you are non-judgmental, kind, and supportive toward your partner throughout the entire conversation. Coming from a place of compassion helps to create a safe space where both of you can communicate openly without getting defensive.
Final thoughts on feeling lonely when married
If you’re feeling lonely in your marriage, you should remember that there are other people out there who are in the same boat. The good news is that there are things you can do to combat loneliness. With effort, dedication, and strong communication, you and your partner can work together to rebuild your connection.
Ultimately, you have the potential to create a loving relationship that fulfills both of your needs. Finally, reach out for help if you need it, and remember that lonely doesn’t have to mean lonely forever.