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Married ... but Lonely

Married ... but Lonely

It doesn't have to stay that way. Try these ideas to bring your spouse closer.
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"I thought I'd lost it," said Billie, a wife of eight years. "I was in the grocery store check-out line. The man in front of me glanced back and smiled. He looked so kind. I had an overwhelming impulse to ask him to hug me. When I got to my car, I burst into tears. I finally had to admit how lonely I felt."

"I'm tired of feeling alone," Diane, who's been married 14 years, commented. "My husband, Ben, is into everything. He has a ball game or a meeting nearly every night. If he's home he's on the phone talking over strategies for the next game or meeting. He has time for everyone except me."

"If friends and colleagues were enough," Kim, a wife of 10 years, complained, "I wouldn't have married. I want a husband. I want someone who's with me, who can share my life on a daily basis."

No one expects it to happen. Marriage is supposed to prevent loneliness, isn't it? Unfortunately, it doesn't.

In our work with couples we've frequently heard the same kind of complaint: "I'm married, but I'm lonely." We all crave the physical and emotional intimacy of a spouse who's really there for us. When this doesn't happen, frustration, hurt, and anger mingle with feelings of betrayal. "What's the point of being married," as Billie put it, "if you have to go looking when you need someone?" And the longer those feelings of loneliness exist, the stronger the possibility that a spouse will look outside the marriage for support, affection, companionship, and love.

What are some ways to battle marital loneliness?

Analyze your situation

If you're feeling lonely, ask yourself:

  • What's going on in my marriage that makes me feel lonely?
  • Is this a short-term situation I can live with or a long-term situation that needs to change?
  • Answering these questions can save you from falling into several traps.

(1) Blaming yourself. Both Billie and Diane initially felt guilty about their loneliness. Billie was certain that her painful loneliness meant that she had somehow failed. And Diane felt like an ingrate when she complained about a husband who was faithful, family-oriented, and involved in worthy activities. She thought she needed to change the way she felt. But her feelings weren't the problem; they were a signal that she needed to change her circumstances.

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April 07, 2014  4:38am

I have been married for twelve years. My husband and I have know each other since junior high. We have 1 child together and I have another child from a previous marriage. My husband is detached emotionally and sexually. He is a great provider and an outstanding father. We do not sleep together and have not done so for years. I feel as though our relationship has become more like a roommate situation. We are no longer have sex. It has been over 2 months. I am not sure that I can continue to live in this relationship the way it is right now. I have reached out. We took a marriage seminar together, but nothing changed. I believe my husband may have some type of sexually dysfunction. Not sure where to start walk away or stay.

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April 06, 2014  7:59am

My husband bought a motorcycle and he wakes up very early Saturday and Sunday mornings to go ride with his friends. I stay at home with the kids, he is coming home around noon or 1pm. I get angry and feel neglected, he blames me saying that I have to take initiative and plan what we can do as a family on the weekends, but I don't think that's the case, I feel like I shouldn't have to make plans with my husband quickly before he makes plans with his friends. I feel alone with no support. We are contemplating divorce since I told him I won't stand here letting him do what he wants, and do you think he apologized and said he would change? He said, ok well I hope you are fair enough to let me see my kids. My heart broke in pieces. We aren't talking to each other, he left yesterday riding again & came like at 2pm & today he got up and left again. He is trying to hurt me or punish me. I don't even know if trying to tell him my needs is worth it. I think he hates me for feeling this way

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Toni Phillips

March 26, 2014  4:18pm

I am so glad i am not the only one. Even though we've been married less than a month, we've been together 3 years.I also have one of those stubborn men that feel they don't need help or counseling or any advice. Its all me and I need to fix it alone and don't bring it back up. I read someone else asked that question and I would really like to know the answer myself. What do you do when they aren't willing to admit something needs to change and does not want to try to fix anything.

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