What to Do When You’re Lonely in Your Marriage

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We all know that it’s possible to be in the middle of a crowd and feel all alone.  Furthermore, it’s possible to sleep in the same bed with someone else for decades and still feel lonely.  Why?  Well, loneliness is not just about being in physical proximity with another person, it’s feeling like you are emotionally light years apart from them.  Author Gary Chapman has done a tremendous job with identifying how you feel close to someone. It’s when they speak your love language. Chapman says there are five love languages:  words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, and receiving gifts. Each person has a predominant love language that they crave. When that love language is missing, loneliness can creep in.  Here are a few examples of how that happens and what you can do about it to ensure that you and your spouse are loving and being loved in your language of love.

Lack of time together – the less time married couples spend together, the more likely they are to feel distant from each other.  This can be resolved by deliberately scheduling date nights in, date nights out, TV free nights, and occasional weekend getaways…just for the two of you.

Lack of physical touch – this is not only referring to a lack of sexual intimacy, though that certainly is a big part of husbands and wives feeling alienated, but also to the little things gone by the wayside.  When hugs are rare, snuggling is extinct, and holding hands feels foreign, the love language of physical touch is probably absent in your relationship.  The key to resurrecting physical touch is to start small.  Sit close to each other on the couch, give neck massages, and pull out a surprise kiss.  You know, gross your kids out!  Getting closer physically will naturally lead to feeling closer emotionally.

Criticism – the opposite of Chapman’s love language of words of affirmation.  Nothing closes a heart faster and swells loneliness more than biting, stinging criticism from a spouse.  Arguments get heated and a verbal shootout takes place.  No one wins here.  The key to overcoming this loneliness hurdle is to be very, very careful when you give your spouse “advice” and be deliberate about using encouraging words as often as you can.  “You look amazing in that dress.”  “Thank you so much for being such a hard worker.”  “I really respect your judgment.”  With that kind of encouragement, marital loneliness quickly becomes an extinct species.

There is much more I could say here, but I think you get the point.  If you really want to kiss marital loneliness goodbye, understand and implement the 5 Love Languages.  You can learn more and get your free Love Language profile at:  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/

If you’ve experienced loneliness in your marriage, I’d like to hear about it and what you’ve done to deal with it.  Please share your comments.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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    In reading these comments, I at least now feel a little less alone in my married “alone-ness”. My wife and I rarely have sex; perhaps once every 6 months or so. Furthermore, we have been sleeping in separate rooms for the last year or more, which only makes things worse.

    I would say quite confidently that I am “emotionally starved”, and it’s beginning to eat me up from the inside-out. To make matters worse, I have begun to have feelings for an absolutely lovely woman that works at the same company as I do. She is my age (40), divorced for several years, and has to be one of the most self-confident, fit, beautiful and amazing individuals I have ever met.. someone I would have considered “out of my league”, and yet she has given clear signals she finds me very attractive, desirable, and worthy of affection. Heady stuff for someone who is already reeling from a lack of any attention at all! I am tempted in a way that I never thought I could be, and it has awakened in me the realization that life is too short to live it unhappily. I have also recently endured watching 2/3 of my siblings pass-away suddenly, and unexpectedly, within a few short years; this has only added an extra appreciation for how short life is!

    I have tried bringing up the the problem with my wife on numerous occasions, but always I am rebuked and shrugged-off with quick, short statements like “well, I guess we are all trying our best”, or “I am always tired and have no energy for it” or “well, my parents don’t have sex anymore (they are in their 60’s-70’s LOL) so it eventually stops anyway”. Her hugs are weak, her kisses are without passion and there just does not seem to be any spark there any more.

    I love this woman; she is the mother of my son, and the one I chose to be with the rest of my life.. I help around the house, I help cook, clean, do dishes, assist in caring for our child, and provide everything our family needs financially and otherwise. I always tell her how lovely she is, how nice she looks in a particular dress, bring home flowers randomly (just because I felt like it!) and try my best every day to meet her every demand, request and desire. And for what?

    I am starting to feel resentful, in that she can apparently turn-off all desires and passion in her life, and expect that I must “fall in line” and do the same for the rest of mine. I am not a robot; I cannot just shut-off what I consider to be a crucial part of my being human like it was a switch!

    All this is actually making me seriously consider relations with this woman at work, but so far I have not. I really would prefer to at least have a frank and honest discussion with my wife, before I do anything rash; she deserves at least that respect. However, I am afraid that it may end in divorce, which quite frankly scares the c**p out of me. I have seen too many decent guys get financially and emotionally destroyed for life, by revengeful wives and their greedy lawyers! I would hope that would not happen here (especially if I stay faithful), but who knows?

    Part of me hopes that if she accepts the fact that she does not want (or have any interest) in meeting my emotional needs (but is otherwise content with our marriage), she might be receptive to some sort of open marriage.. I would be willing to consider that as a possible compromise; it keeps us together, should prevent divorce or separation, and if done right, might re-kindle some life and passion back into us too. But I doubt this would happen, as she is generally very closed-minded about anything that is not mainstream..

    .. sigh.. I don’t know whether to scream or go blind…

    Thanks for reading this; it felt good to share my troubles.

    ..Totally wrung inside-out in Canada.