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16 Brutal Truths About Feeling Alone In A Relationship

“These are, as I began, cumbersome ways to kill a man.
Simpler, direct, and much more neat is to see
That he is living somewhere in the middle
of the twentieth century, and leave him there.”

– Five Ways To Kill A Man, Edwin Brock

woman sitting alone (2)

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

The 21st century is defined by an isolation epidemic. Today there is more freedom of movement than 50 years ago, more cafeterias to talk in, less cumbersome ways to keep in touch, and yet in a world of 7 billion people, we’re lonelier than ever before. In his Ted Talk, ‘The Importance of loneliness,’ Brendan Myers speaks of an American survey reporting, 1 out of every 4 households being inhabited by a single person- amounting to more than double the rate of isolation reported 20 years ago.

Suggested read: 17 practical tips on how to banish loneliness and feel good about yourself

What is the feeling of loneliness?

lonely man

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Brendan Cathbad Myers, a skilled philosopher and author, says: “This is an experience that all of you have had, even when you were infants. You felt it for the first time when you were a small baby and your parents put you down in your bed so that they could get some sleep of their own, or maybe run some errands. You felt it as a child when someone you were very close to, wanted to spend time with someone else instead of you. You felt it when you moved out, on your own, outside the parental nest. You felt it when you went to any kind of crowded public place, and got to see all the relationships other people have with each other, which you are not allowed or invited to join. The experience is called loneliness.”

Loneliness is often confused with boredom, but they are in fact, poles apart. Boredom is the feeling of having nothing to do, or weariness of repeating monotonous patterns. It entails frustration, and annoyance, but rarely ever does it induce crippling sadness. Loneliness, on the other hand, is an unpleasant feeling of emptiness. There are concrete measures, such as assuming an activity, that may be started to kill your boredom, but loneliness can seldom be solved that easily.

Being alone, does not mean you’re lonely. People often associate the solitary with sadness. There have been countless instances of people being questioned for spending too much time on their own. They’ve been asked to “go out more”, and “have fun”. This reflects greatly upon the societal stigma attached to solitude, which brings me to truths of being alone in a relationship.

woman sitting alone_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

We have all been knit into fairy-tales of couples riding into the sunset. We have grown up knowing that someday we would be swept off our feet. We have believed that the white horse is just around the corner. And so, we are waiting for our prince or princess. However, for a world that loves being in love, we have an awful lot of misconceptions about the reality of it. We have made love our ticket to salvation, painted castles in the air, so when we land up on the other side of paradise, we’re easily distressed. Love has been glorified as the end of all misery, but sometimes, just sometimes, Love slips up. Having a romantic partner, gives you a comrade in the war, but that hardly means you will never feel lonely again.

Here are 16 brutal realities nobody told you about feeling alone in a relationship.

1. Ego, the third-wheel

Guy Winch, in ‘Why We All Need To Practice Emotional First Aid’ relates an incident that taught him his first lesson on loneliness. Having moved to a different city, he was miles away from his twin brother on the night of their birthday. He was pacing the room frantically, waiting for him to call. When the phone failed to ring, he spent the night in fits of sleep, plagued by the realization that his brother did not miss him anymore. The morning after, he woke up to realize that he had knocked the phone off the receiver the night before. His twin brother had spent the night in equal anguish, and on hearing why the dial tone had remained engaged, he asked Winch, “If you saw I wasn’t calling you, why didn’t you call me?”

Loneliness is often self-imposed. We develop an internal vacuum that prevents others from reaching out to us despite all their efforts. So, if you miss your partner, call him/her. Chances are they feel as lonely as you.

2. Communication gap

couple disagreement_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pinterest 

This is especially important for couples that cannot see each other often. Conversation serves to fill the emptiness caused by space, and the lack of it, spurs the process of estrangement. You cannot feel intimate with somebody you don’t know anything about, which is why the regular communication of day-to-day activities, and feelings, are imperative to nourish the feeling of ‘togetherness’ in a relationship.

3. Autopilot

George Simmel’s theory on ‘blasé attitude’ establishes that the monotony of routine causes us to stop paying attention and lose concern for the activities. We become nonchalant about things we see everyday. Sometimes, relationships too, become a habit, and since the same things recur, we stop actively participating in it, pushing it to our subconscious.

Lennon had correctly composed that: “Love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep on watering it.”

4. Maintain the ‘You’ in ‘Us’

woman traveling_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

I admit that Donne professed “no man is an island”, but sometimes, you must be. Having a private space, maintaining your ‘I’-dentity, is imperative in a relationship. A symbiotic relationship is ideal, but in the process of creating one, we become parasites, completely dependent on our partner for our happiness. When the partner fails to deliver, which is inevitable, one feels wronged and lonely.

5. Dig up the roots

Finding the source of your problem helps you uproot it. Feeling alone in a relationship could have several possible sources, such as lack of communication, incompatibility, hurt feelings, so forth. Once we discover the error, we can try and correct them.

6. Scapegoat mechanism

Most of our minds are tuned to find faults in others before we look within; we keep looking for flaws in the mirror, instead. “It is as if one partner can do no wrong, while the scapegoat can do no right.”

In a two-people endeavor, it’s never only one partner’s fault. A blame-game will only further your falling-out. Instead, work together on what you consider potholes.

Suggested read: 6 effective tips on how to fight loneliness and love your life

7. Imbalance in ‘need’

“Tum wahaan tak aa toh jaao, hum jahaan tak aa gaye.”

[Travel to at least reach as far as I already have (in emotional intensity)]

Hairaton ke silsile, Ghulam Ali

While relationships are reciprocal, equality in emotions is a myth. We feel differently, and our expressions vary, and often when we don’t find our partner out of match with our emotional level, we begin feeling lonely and dejected. I once read an article that established: A has $10 and gives it to you, B has $20 and hands you $15. You believe B has contributed more whereas A has actually given you their all.

So, strive not to judge your partner quantity-wise, but rather, on the basis of quality.

8. Take initiative

couple spending time together

Image source: Shutterstock 

“If you’re going to try, go all the way.”

-Charles Bukowski

This relationship is as much yours as theirs. Solely because we are the ones feeling alone in a relationship, we believe it is the responsibility of our partner to fix us, and that somehow it’s their fault.

Take initiative: arrange dates, make phone calls, chalk out time; do not give in unless you’ve really given.

9. Fitting into their shoes

‘Perspective-taking’ is very important to avoid miscommunication of intentions. It is important to participate in their world-view, and to keep from misunderstanding the nature of their actions. If you misinterpret all your partner’s acts, it is sure to lead to bitterness, and consequently, loneliness.

10. Bonds and shares

It’s not just in the economy that these two words go together. Shared experiences strengthen the bond between individuals. You could be doing something as simple as watching a movie, or as intense as taking a tap-dance class, but you must continue partaking in it together.

11. Don’t lose your friends


Image source: Shutterstock 

When you focus all your needs and desires on one person, you either crush them under the brunt of your expectations, or leave yourself feeling unhappy, time and again. Neither of the scenarios is fair.

Myers, reveals the problem by asking, “So, what happens when either of you fall asleep first?”. It is often seen that people separate themselves from their friends circle, and make a world out of their lover, alone. This only serves to make you feel alone in your relationship.

12. Disconnect, to connect


Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Have you ever realized, we tend to be alone, together? We want to be with somebody, but also elsewhere. We text while talking, listen to music while reading, watch a movie while texting, and barely ever dedicate our full attention to somebody. While you may think you are multitasking, you guys are actually drifting apart. So, unplug to connect.

13. Finding time

The world is caught up in the craziest rat race in history. In prioritizing our financial needs, we forget our emotional bonds need nurturing too. Make sure you allot specific periods of time only to each other, and stick to your word like you would to official appointments.

14. Do not take each other for granted

As time rolls on, our partner fits into the equation of our life so seamlessly, we stop attaching any special significance to their presence. We take their understanding and love for granted, starting a snowball effect that culminates into not valuing each other anymore.

15. Mismatch

Sometimes, the loneliness in our relationship arises due to incompatibility. Your partner may be the George Clooney, or the Scarlet Johansson of your dreams, and the initial stages of conversation may have felt like you’ve hit the Jackpot, but time reveals differences in personalities that you had not foreseen.

16. Exit, if you’re at the wrong place

woman walking_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Quitting isn’t a crime. Everybody is entitled to happiness, and if despite all your efforts, you feel like you’re “sending postcards into space”, then it’s best you extract yourself from the situation before it turns into quicksand.

Suggested read: Choosing between loneliness and miracles: The reason why we are NOT happy

When we build our relationships, we should focus on being there. On ensuring that our partner feels our presence, come hail or storm. It is immensely comforting to have somebody to come home to, emotionally. :)

And, to the rest of you, returning to empty apartments and dark rooms. I see you. Don’t be afraid of the wall-clock ticking in silence, of the windows that open into darkness, or of vacuum. There are ‘solitary reaper’s standing at half-lit windows, sighing the same sigh as you, asking nobody in particular: “Is anybody there?”
If you listen closely, they’re calling out to you, saying:

“Thank you, for sending us your secret satellite. We promise it did not get lost in space.
P.S: We hear you.
Loud, and clear.”

Phases, Kevin Kantor and Sienna Burnett

Featured image source: Pinterest

Article Name
16 Brutal Truths About Feeling Alone In A Relationship
A relationship doesn't guarantee that you'll never feel lonely! Here are 16 brutal truths about feeling alone in a relationship.
Meghalee Mitra

Meghalee Mitra

My introductions have always been "I'm too awkward for this." My exercise routine comprises oscillating between being serious and bat-shit-crazy, laziness, and hyper-activity. I love words, live for food, and am always looking for magic.