One guy from my village died from chronic loneliness.
His wife divorced him and he ended up locking himself in his old house. He didn’t talk to his relatives or anyone. Someone found him dead a couple of months later.
Loneliness can lead to other major problems such as depression.
The more you ignore it, the more it’ll eat you alive. But when you’re in a relationship, things can get tricky — is it your partner’s fault for making you feel lonely?
It’s easy to blame it on the other person.
But before you do that, let’s dive into why you’re feeling lonely despite having a partner.
Is it the relationship or is it your internal problem?
There’s no quick way to know this. But acknowledging your loneliness is the right first step.
Too many couples are unhappy with each other yet they don’t want to talk it out.
But in their heads, they think it’s their partner’s fault. They feel lonely and unhappy because their partner can’t love them better.
I used to take this approach too — leaving my partner feeling so attacked. The thing is, when you yell to your partner that they should do “more”, things will usually get worse.
That’s why I highly recommend you make your observation about your loneliness silently.
Sure, your partner might be wrong too by not giving you the attention you need, but is it all their fault?
Because I’ve known many people who still feel lonely despite having a loving partner. They’ve ignored their loneliness prior to the relationship and hoped that their future partner would make it go away.
To make it easier, here are some clear signs your loneliness has nothing to do with your relationship:
- You’ve never taken some time to do things outside of your relationship
- You’ve neglected your hobbies because you’ve wanted to give your 100% to the relationship
- You always put your partner’s or anyone else’s needs first
- You haven’t surrounded yourself with your friends and family in a long time
- You have no current goals or ambition over something — just like you used to
In short, you know it’s your personal problem when no matter how much your partner loves you, you still feel lonely. The cup has been empty for so long now.
Managing expectations around love and loneliness
Your problems won’t go away just because you’re with someone
People would tell me that I’m “lucky” I have a boyfriend.
“You probably never have to worry about feeling lonely ever again now” — they said.
I cringed because it was just far from the truth. I still feel lonely and most times, it has nothing to do with my boyfriend or our relationship.
As I’m currently living on this small island, Bali by myself, it’s hard to not feel lonely. We live in a society where people encourage us to have someone to cure our loneliness.
Having a good relationship and partner is true can help you feel less alone but that’s not enough.
That’s why having realistic expectations before you get into a relationship is important.
Your problems won’t go away just because you’re with someone.
Especially, when you haven’t dealt with your past properly, being in a new relationship only adds new problems.
So, what should you do when you feel lonely despite having a partner?
- Talk to them and see if they can sense what’s happening with you lately.
- Be aware that expecting your partner to make it go away shouldn’t be on the table. Your job is to simply let them know your feelings.
- Get out of your head by doing something new.
- Reconnect with some old friends and be open to them. Stop assuming that no one would care about your problem.
- Listen to your mind and body about what you actually want at this moment. This is the best time to reconnect with yourself.
- Make new friends and talk to people about something new — topics that are outside of your comfort zone.
A Licensed Psychotherapist, Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., LMFT recommends taking long walks or tending to your garden might help.
“The exercise lowers anxiety and depression, and it’s nice to greet people as you pass. The spring blooms and animals you pass on your walk also can’t help but make you happy to be alive and available to experience this.” — Barton Goldsmith
When dealing with loneliness, it’s never an overnight process. It took me months to heal and get back on track.
But the issue is there deep within you so ignoring it is the last thing you want to do. It’s crucial to understand that you’ll feel lonely despite your relationship status.
No one knows the recipe to make it gone forever. It comes and goes — just like any other problem in life.
So don’t beat yourself up thinking you shouldn’t have that feeling in the first place — just because you’re in a relationship.
There’s no reason to feel embarrassed about it. So I encourage you today to embrace the flaw and work on it — one step at a time.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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