Couples come to my practice for all kinds of reasons: communication breakdown, complicated circumstances, reconciliation after marital mistakes. But one of the hardest obstacles to overcome is a lonely marriage. You may feel rejected, forgotten or un-important. You may even feel hopeless at ever making it better. I’ve heard many people say that their lonely marriage is so painful, it would be better to be alone and lonely, than married and lonely.
What is a lonely marriage, and how is it created? A lonely marriage consists of two well-meaning people who respect and love one another, but lack the skills or understanding to be deeply connected and intimate.
Symptoms of a lonely marriage look like:
- focusing on the kids’ and their activities but avoiding close contact.
- staying busy with work and personal goals, but letting the marriage take a low priority.
- trying to communicate about marital issues results in big fights and silent withdrawals without real resolution.
- forgetting what it feels like to have common interests, fun together, or stimulating conversations.
- decreased frequency and enjoyment in sexual or romantic experiences.
If you see these symptoms in your marriage, you may be married to a Loser. A loser isn’t the couch potato, it’s someone who loses out on really knowing you. Because they fear the vulnerability of intimacy, they hide their fears, weaknesses, and true feelings. You may find yourself doing the same.
Take a short quiz here to find out more about your marriage, and if loneliness is an issue.
A loser isn’t the couch potato, it’s someone who loses out on really knowing you.
Characteristics of a Loser
- They avoid sharing personal feelings, thoughts, or ideas because emotional intimacy makes them uncomfortable.
- They may be unable to have emotional closeness because they are emotionally immature- hopelessly stunted in their emotional development.
- They may say things like, “You shouldn’t feel that way,” or “Why do you always make a big deal out of things,” or “I’m just not an emotional person. I don’t know how I feel.” They will say almost anything to avoid emotional vulnerability and intimacy.
- They feel pressure to fix problems for you instead of empathize with you.
- When asked if something is bothering them, they deny that anything is, and shut the conversation down.
- They may be successful in many areas of their lives, but when it comes to close relationships, they use various tactics, like withdrawal, humor, passive aggression, etc. to keep an emotional distance.