Feeling Alone? 8 Ways to Overcome Loneliness in Your Relationship
It’s completely normal to feel lonely from time to time, even with the presence of other people. Whether it’s at work, in social settings, or in a romantic relationship, loneliness has the unfortunate tendency to sneak its way in.
So, how is it possible to feel lonely when you’re surrounded by human interaction?
Feelings of loneliness can stem from a variety of factors. It’s not always about what’s going on with other people, but rather what’s happening internally. While physical isolation is what we often think about when discussing loneliness, mental isolation is just as detrimental. This is why it’s incredibly common to feel lonely in the most intimate relationships — especially romantic ones.
Here are the main signs you or your partner are experiencing loneliness in the relationship:
- A decrease in intimacy, both physical and emotional
- Appearing disengaged or uninterested most of the time
- Not feeling supported or appreciated
- Feeling distant, even when you’re in the same room
- An increase in screen time, especially social media
- Avoiding conversation
- Lack of warmth or concern
- A disinterest in date nights
- Becoming more closed-off
Of course, feeling lonely in a relationship doesn’t just occur overnight. Typically, there are underlying issues at play that slowly wear down relationship satisfaction, leaving you feeling isolated and emotionally drained. Maybe you’re not feeling heard, loved, or appreciated, or you’re concerned about the lack of sex. Maybe you feel like you’re the only one putting in effort or you’re constantly walking on eggshells, afraid of bringing up issues to your partner. Or ultimately, you might just be with the wrong person.
Can’t figure out why you feel lonely in your relationship? Talk to real, expert relationship coaches from Relish by downloading the app—your first week is free!
While there are many different reasons someone might feel lonely in a relationship, they all reveal one key reality: you can feel lonely without actually being alone. Loneliness in a relationship is a psychological state that causes you to feel empty, detached, and unhappy, even when you have a partner by your side.
The silver lining? There are ways to help you move past it. Here are eight tips for overcoming loneliness in a relationship:
1. Improve Communication
If you’re feeling lonely in a relationship, it can be tough to bring it up to your partner. How do you communicate feeling alone when they’re right there? As difficult as it sounds, it’s incredibly necessary to tell your partner how you’re feeling. The only way to ensure they understand is to gather your emotions and say them out loud. Be clear, direct, and honest as delicately as possible, and decide together how you can address the issues.
If you decide the relationship can be improved, scheduling frequent “check-ins” can keep you on the same page. By taking time every week or month to talk openly about your satisfaction in the relationship, you avoid one or both of you becoming weighed down by unwanted emotions.
2. Figure Out What Has Changed in the Relationship
Take some time to reflect on what might have changed in your relationship that is causing you to feel lonely. What’s causing you to feel out of sync? Are you struggling with raising kids or having financial issues? Have you stopped prioritizing the relationship, often skipping date nights? Do you find you’re not talking to each other as much as you used to? Before you can move forward, you’ll need to figure out what has shifted and how it’s impacted your connection.
3. Schedule Intimacy
And we’re not just talking about sex! (Although that’s important, too.) Plan a night once a week to be intimate, even if it’s just for an hour: hold hands on the couch while watching a movie, give each other a massage, have an old-fashioned make-out session, or sit and reminisce about one of your favorite memories as a couple. Scheduling time to reconnect emotionally and physically can help quell feelings of loneliness and reignite the spark that’s been lost.
4. Plan a Trip Together
What better way to reconnect than with a romantic getaway? Recreate one of your first vacations together, visit somewhere new, or have a staycation in a nearby hotel. Sometimes, the best way to get out of a rut is to switch up the scenery. The mundane happenings in everyday life can get old, which does nothing to help your feelings of loneliness.
If a trip isn’t the budget, try planning a night out together. Go to dinner, grab drinks at the bar, or see a comedy show. Whatever it is, take time to focus on and enjoy each other’s company, play catch up, and remember what it is you love about each other.
5. Learn More About Your Love Languages
The concept of love languages (originally developed by Gary Chapman, Ph.D.) is built around the idea that there are five basic ways that people want to receive love. The five love languages include acts of service, physical touch, giving/receiving gifts, quality time, and words of affirmation.
For example, if your love language is acts of service, you might prefer your partner do a chore you can’t stand as a way of showing love. If it’s words of affirmation, you might want your partner to write a love note or send a loving text during the day. Discovering each other’s love languages makes a huge difference in how you show appreciation for each other, and can significantly improve relationship satisfaction.
6. Prioritize Self-Care
Sometimes, we need to focus inward in order to improve the world around us. Take some time to reconnect with friends and family, try a new exercise routine, eat healthier foods, try meditation, or journal about any emotions you’re feeling. Helping yourself be happy—instead of relying on your partner—can give you the psychological boost needed to kick loneliness to the curb. After all, you need to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else.
7. Talk to a Professional
Reaching out to a couples therapist or relationship coach does not constitute failure — quite the contrary! Choosing to seek help from an expert is a sign that you’re committed to making the relationship work. Remember, they’ve seen it all and are ready to help you work through any feelings of loneliness.
If in-person therapy isn’t your thing, you can always download a relationship coaching app like Relish. You’re given therapist-approved quizzes and lessons tailored to your specific needs. You can send messages to real, expert relationship coaches 24/7 — all from your phone.
8. Know When to End the Relationship
While it’s normal to feel lonely in a relationship sometimes, it can also signal the inevitable end. The best way to determine if a breakup is necessary is to pay attention to how your partner responds to your concerns. If you’ve expressed your feelings but don’t feel they are stepping up to help, it might be time to move on.
Of course, if you find yourself avoiding the effort needed to improve the relationship, it’s also a sign that you’re not with the right person. Working through loneliness is absolutely possible, but only if you’re both doing everything you can to identify, address, and improve the problem.
Although it can feel devastating, loneliness in a relationship isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm. After all, life can get hectic, forcing you to shift your focus away from your relationship. By being honest with yourself and your partner, you can work together to erase feelings of loneliness and replace them with love, support, and appreciation.
You’re not alone when it comes to relationship issues, and the coaches at Relish are here to help. Download the app and start your 7-day free trial for access to quizzes, lessons, and insights to get things back on track.