Being lonely or feeling lonely is a new epidemic in our society.
In spite of all the connections we make online, in spite of all the social media interactions we have and in spite of having a communication tool in our hands 24/7 we, as a society, are feeling lonelier than ever before.
We touched on this subject in one of my recent blogs: “perception is reality”.
There, we discussed how our personal awareness makes it clear that there really is no difference between actually being lonely is reality, or simply ‘feeling’ lonely.
A lot of people come to me and report that they are feeling lonely in their relationship, which might have been a problem for the majority of their partnership.
How can that be?
You are living together with a person you love and slowly over time, somehow the loneliness has crept in.
When I ask my clients about when they first noticed their feelings of loneliness, usually no one has an answer. It seems to just happen.
Everything seems so normal in their relationship. The desire, the longing or the lust for each other simply slowly faded away. Their conversations became less deep and meaningful, but rather functional. Their minds became occupied by their work or by their children. It is all less about two lovers and more about two people living together and sharing food and a bed.
It is a slippery slope when a relationship becomes routine and starts to become predictable. Weeks go by without incident, and we can be left feeling uninspired. Weeks turn into months and months turn into years. You watch the children grow and notice your parents growing older.
Instead of daily sex – as it was in the beginning of your relationship – you only have time for sex once a week and soon it is only once a month and neither of you seems to miss it much.
You look at your friends and they seem to be getting on well. However, when you take the opportunity to confide in them in private, you may hear the same story which could just be a reflection of your own.
Deep inside of you, you know that your partner is committed to you and that they love you enough to still be with you. But can you be sure? When was the last time that you said “I love you” to each other and you felt the butterflies in your stomach?
And then one day, when you’ve been comfortable for an age and have forgotten to inject some time and energy into your relationship, you may realise that you partner doesn’t really know you all that well anymore. Perhaps you don’t really know your partner either. You may realise with this thought, that in spite of living together, sharing everything with each other and seeing each other every day, you don’t know each other anymore.
And the feeling of loneliness creeps in.
We humans are a tribal species. We need other humans around us to survive.
This basic instinct is one of the reasons we fall into a loving relationship in the first place. Deep down in our psyche we know that there is a safety in numbers and that two together are better equipped to face the world.
The connection we have with our partner, to our children, to our parents, to our friends, to our co-workers and to our acquaintances are essential for our wellbeing.
The moment we feel lonely, we feel vulnerable and lost.
That’s why retirement is often times so depressing; because from one day to another the bands that connect us to all of our family, friends and co-workers are severed and lost.
That’s why when the last child moves out of the family home, you may end up feeling empty and abandoned.
That’s why our peers are so important to us.
How to avoid becoming lonely in your relationship?
When boredom and routine set in, your connection with your partner is weakened and you might find yourselves sharing less and less of who you are.
To avoid this, you want to keep the spark of your connection alive.
You want to reinvigorate the excitement, the adventure, the curiosity and the desire for each other, remembering how you felt about each other when you first met.
A simply way to begin implementing this, is to shake up the routine. Maybe instead of watching television together you could play a board game together. Or you take a walk around the neighbourhood. You might decide to cook dinner together, instead of simply sitting across from each other while you eat.
It does not take monumental effort to keep the connections alive.
It’s much more about the consistency of doing something together.
It’s about the small things we choose to do for each other in life and those small things need to be constant.
By playing together, walking together or cooking together, you create a space where exchange can happen. You want to have the space and the awareness to allow the other person to open up and share their thoughts, their fears and their aspirations.
Watching television suppresses any meaningful conversation. Playing computer games – online or offline – is killing any connection with the people next to you. And texting or interacting on social media is again a solitary activity and does not allow your partner to communicate with you.
For the real-life challenges, you want your tribe right next to you and physically feel their support and protection.
Please reach out to me if you want to talk about your individual situation.