When you begin to feel alone in your marriage, it can feel like you’re in an empty room on a sinking ship. The longer that you attempt to plug the holes that are causing the room to flood, the more energy you are diverting from a long-term plan to save your life and the less energy you will have to fight for your future.
Between the conflicts that can arise in attempts to save the marriage and the depressive mental health issues that can cripple you in a time where you need to maintain a focus on your future, you need to be aware of what the loneliness of an unhappy and dysfunctional marriage can do.
Feeling lonely at times may be a common feeling, even if you are married. Many who find themselves in a relationship for a lengthy period of time experience a sense of abandonment. They begin to think that their emotional needs are not being met.
According to Psychology Today, this can be caused by a lack of mutual interests and time spent together, conflicting work schedules, intimacy issues, dysfunctional communication, self-centeredness, preoccupation, illness, or unresolved resentment.
There also is a chance that you and your spouse may have been living in an autopilot pattern. Wendy Walsh, relationship expert and author of “The 30-Day Love Detox” spoke to The Huffington Post about it.
“Sometimes, marriages fall into an autopilot pattern,” she said. “Partners no longer court each other or exchange the care that they did in the early days, and they become more concerned with selfish interests.
This also can be made worse when children enter the equation.
“When children arrive, sometimes couples fall into traditional gender roles or battle about gender roles for the first time,” said Walsh. “One may feel a need to work more outside the home to provide for the family, another may feel a need to nurture more. This is definitely a time when the battle lines can be drawn. Children put a lot of stress onto a marriage.”
As time passes, these feelings may get worse and worse, sparking the desire to seek emotional intimacy elsewhere. Whether it is with a new partner, family members, or friends, you may find yourself facing tough truths and tough conversations about the lack of emotional intimacy and the intense level of loneliness that you may be experiencing.
Life after divorce
With divorce on the horizon and looking like more and more of a way to improve your emotional health and wellness, those tough truths and tough conversations become more frequent during the experience. As difficult as it may be to pay child support, pay alimony, and go through the experience of dividing assets and ending a marriage, it cannot be better than rehashing the same arguments about who is being there or not being there for whom.
Even though the end result of a divorce is being single, and thus alone, there are many ways of reframing the thought and creating a new opportunity for yourself. As scary of a concept as it may be, it is important that you stop worrying about being alone. Whether you are single until you are 80 or married again within the next decade, it does not matter. You are single now.
In addition, if there are children in your life, you are never really alone. You may not be a husband anymore, but you still are a dad. Even if you do not have primary custody, you still will have a level of companionship from your previous life.
The loneliness that still may exist, even after the divorce, eventually dissipates, due to the passage of time. According to a study, referenced in Robert E. Emery’s “Cultural Sociology of Divorce: An Encyclopedia,” the longer ago the divorced people were divorced, the lower their level of emotional loneliness was.
Many who experience a divorce often undervalue what it means to spend time alone. As much as you may have struggled with loneliness during the course of your marriage, spending time by yourself after a divorce is a different ballgame entirely.
In accepting that and regaining your mental and emotional health, you are better equipped to meeting someone new and finding a better balance in a future relationship. As difficult as it may be to manage the emotional highs and lows of going through the divorce process and creating a new life for yourself, it is an ultimately alternative than accepting that loneliness is the normal
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.