I sit in my office with a man saying to me, “I feel so lonely in our relationship. It is like I don’t exist. My wife walks by and doesn’t acknowledge me.” Then he says something I have heard many times… “I would rather be alone on my own than lonely in a relationship.” Research tells us that loneliness and living private lives in relationships are strong predictors that the couple will break up. Now, I want to assure you that feeling lonely at times in a relationship doesn’t mean you are on the road to separation. But when people in relationships feel lonely, both partners had better take notice. Relationships are vulnerable to neglect and typically don’t get better without working on them.
So why am I starting a blog about healthy relationships with a discussion about loneliness? Because, if you want a healthy relationship, you need to create a relationship that is an antidote to loneliness – where partners feel connected. Since we are all so different, there are probably as many ways to feel connected as there are couples in the world. What makes people feel connected and not lonely? Comments? Questions?
Douglas Tilley, LCSW