Are you in a relationship, and feeling lonely sometimes – even though you love your partner to bits? According to clinical psychologist Jennifer Taitz, author of How to be Single and Happy, being in a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean being emotionally connected.
Just like being on your own doesn’t necessarily mean you’re feeling lonely. Nor does feeling lonely in a relationship mean there’s something wrong with your relationship.
These 5 things may cause your feeling, even if you’re in a healthy relationship.
1. You expect your partner to fulfill all your needs
According to Taitz, many people believe their partner should be everything to them. But even if you’re in a relationship, you need a bigger social life. It’s healthy to have your own life, apart from everything you do and share together. Nobody can be everything to you. Your love may be a great listener, but he may not understand why you’re so insecure about your looks. So why not discuss that with a friend or family member? Don’t expect your partner to give you everything you need, but make sure you have a bigger network, and several people you can trust.
2. The thrill has gone
You may not realize you’ve neglected your friendships until you’ve been together for a few months (or even years) and the overwhelming feeling of being in love has gone. Once the butterflies have calmed down, you may start feeling lonely – perhaps because you’re missing your friends. There’s nothing wrong with putting your relationship first, but remember friendships are important too. Invest in them, even when the butterflies are raging and you can’t think of anyone else than that one person.
3. You don’t explain what you need
Sometimes you just want to blow off steam, but your partner gets in ‘solution mode’. Or they keep asking what’s going on, because they think you want to talk about it, while all you really need is a hug. No one can read your mind: if you’re unclear about what you need, your partner can only guess. Just tell them you need an arm around your shoulder, or if you do want to talk.
4. Your mindset makes you feel lonely
Your thoughts have a bigger impact on loneliness than the amount of people around you, according to Taitz. If you keep thinking no one understands you, or you keep stressing how different the two of you are, you start feeling more lonely than you need to. Change your mindset and instead, think: ‘I have to be clear about what I need’. It doesn’t mean you have to ignore the downsides of your relationship. Reflecting on yourself gives you the opportunity to change things if you’re feeling unhappy.
5. You need self-compassion
The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. If you keep telling yourself you’re not good enough, or you don’t deserve love, you’ll start believing it. The negative approach has an impact on how you experience your relationship. Meditation and positive affirmations can help you to be more kind to yourself. That’s how you create room for more love: for yourself and your significant other.
Text: Sanne Eva Dijkstra - Photo: Matheus Lira