Alone and Lonely In My Marriage

by Sally Connolly, LMFT and John E. Turner, LMFT

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One of the surprises for many couples is that they have to work at their marriage and the connection that they have to their spouse. Often with today's technology, there is a loneliness that pervades relationships.  Men and women tell us that they feel alone and lonely in their marriage.

In today’s busy society with many distractions … from work and family to recreation and commitments with community, church, friendships, computers, etc. it is very easy to forget … or feel like there is just not enough time to nurture their marriage. It is too easy to grow apart and feel distant from each other, to feel alone and lonely in their marriage.

Loneliness and emotional distance in a relationship are one of the main reasons that the divorce rate is so high, particularly in marriages where there are young children. Careers and childcare overtake couple time and the marriage suffers as the adults fail, forget or just do not have the time to nurture each other and their relationship. When couples grow distant from each other, they each often turn their time and attention away from each other and have needs filled by other people or other things. Feeling alone and lonely in their marriage then becomes fertile ground for affairs to develop.

Feeling Alone and Lonely in Marriage is Common

John Gottman (Marital Therapy: A Research-Based Approach, John Gottman, PhD) noted that, in follow-up research, those marriages that were able to sustain changes made in counseling, are also ones who had the “Magic 5” hours of connection each week. This includes having 6 second kisses when you begin and end the day and telling each other 1 interesting thing that happened during the day.

Finding 40 minutes each day to talk about what happened during the day (catching up with each other’s lives), finding 5 minutes a day … every day … to kiss, hold and touch each other, 5 minutes a day just to talk about what they like, appreciate and admire about each other and one 2-hour date each week. These simple acts went a long way toward connection and away from feeling alone and lonely in their marriage.

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