Feeling Alone in Your Marriage
A common reason people seek counseling is the feeling of being alone despite being partnered with someone. Whether its a death of a loved one, a pregnancy, an illness, etc., there are times the other person in your life might be "unavailable" emotionally. Often times this leads to couples disengaging altogether - seeking warmth, fun, and fulfillment through other means such as work or hobbies. Sometimes the couple will even stop engaging in physical affection and/or sleeping together and the relationship becomes vulnerable to affairs.
Here are some tips for the lonely times:
1.) Don't stop doing the rituals you have traditionally engaged in, and if you never had any, start some now. Church, the gym, meditation, bike rides, date night, etc. Rituals are very important to the health of a relationship.
2.) Ask for what you need, don't complain about what's NOT happening.
3.) Find local or online support groups related to your particular stressor. Having a circle of support is extremely valuable, and strong marriages are often held together through rough times by mentor couples who have sailed the same treacherous waters.
4.) Make time (and protect the time) for physical touch. Sex isn't everything, but the sensual aspect of a relationship is an important distinguisher between a friendship and a romantic relationship. Research says "maintenance" sex is a fundamental building block to a satisfying relationship.
5.) Try to remember that just because your needs are not getting met in THIS moment, (in this week, this month, etc.) doesn't mean they won't be met in the near future. Having empathy for the other person, holding on during times they aren't able to focus on you, is like investing in a long-term IRA.
All of these points said, if you feel you are in a crisis in your relationship and are having active fantasies about other people or a "life" without your partner, seek help with a professional counselor who has specific training in Marriage and Family Therapy.
If you would like to meet with a counselor at Great Lakes Counseling Services in Holland or Grand Rapids, please call Remi at 616-617-1188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy: Remi Spicer Rakipi, LMSW of Great Lakes Counseling