Hey guys, welcome back to the show! Today I want to talk about loneliness in marriage. I see many women feeling sad and lonely even though they are almost never alone. So if loneliness isn’t about being alone, then what is it? And how does it happen when you have a literal partner in life? Shouldn’t that negate the loneliness?

The definition of loneliness is the anxiety of lacking genuine connection with others. This of course has nothing to do with how many people are around. The key part here is genuine connection. So if you’re married or in a partnership and you’re feeling lonely within that partnership, then something has gone wrong here.

So, what is genuine connection? Well, in my opinion – based on two decades of work in this area – genuine connection is the product of vulnerability and communication. These are all big topics – connection, vulnerability, and communication. And I have podcast episodes dedicated to all three of these topics. But today I want to focus on what to do if you find yourself feeling sad and lonely on a regular basis because you don’t have a genuine connection with your partner.

The first thing you need to do is take an honest inventory. How have you contributed to this lack of genuine connection? Have you hid your real self from your partner? Have you not been open to hearing their thouhts and opinions? Did you shut down somewhere along the way? Very very rarely does disconnect come as a result of one partner’s actions or attitudes. It almost always involves both partners because you react to each others reactions – which usually leads to some kind of shutting down.

Now when you take this honest inventory of where you’re contributing to your own loneliness, I want you to do it without judgment. This is hard. It is human nature – especially if you don’t get coached – to judge yourself for anything that’s on you. But there is so much freedom in looking at the truth without judging yourself. Also, if you do get stuck in the self-judgment, you’ll be distracted with that and won’t actually look at what will move the needle – which is where have YOU contributed to the disconnect and loneliness.

Ok now once you’ve taken a look at your part – and by the way this doesn’t mean your partner doesn’t play a part, of course they do! But you can’t do anything about that – its not useful information. We want to focus on the things we can work with – which is you – your thoughts, feelings, and action. So once you’ve taken a look at your part, I want you to sit with the feelings. Maybe you feel disappointed, sad. Sit with the loneliness. Honor it, give it the attention it deserves. Don’t worry, you wont get stuck there if you’re really letting yourself experience it. Feelings by nature work through you and dissipate if they are fully felt. It’s only when you resist them that they stick around.

After you’ve taken some time to look at your part and then sit with your feelings, it’s time to do some journaling. Here are some prompts to help you in the right direction.

Journal Prompt #1 – What was the pain that drove me to disconnect from my partner? What is the pain my partner might be in that led him to disconnect from me? Remember, bad behavior comes from pain. So this is not an invitation to bash your partners words and actions, this is an invitation to go deeper and humanize them by looking at the pain behind the actions.

Journal Prompt #2 – What am I willing to do differently in order to reach my goal of genuine connection with my partner? What am I willing to let go of? I like asking it both ways because often we need to let go of something rather than add something in. Growth is always about subtraction, not addition.

Journal Prompt #3 – If my partner does not engage or respond in the way I want them to, am I willing to keep working at it and be vulnerable anyway? Can I accept that this will be a process? Why or Why not? The reason I add this one in is because just because you are having a revelation or making a decision today, doesn’t mean that your partner is automatically going to be able to follow suit. Especially if the two of you have been dancing a disconnected dance for a long time. So embrace the journey and rest easy knowing that if you change, things will change. Point blank.

One of the things I provide my clients in my paid program is conversation prompts. Ways to start difficult or emotionally charged conversations. One of my favorite prompts would apply here: “hey I know we’ve been disconnected for some time now and I’ve been feeling lonely. I thought about how I might be contributing to our disconnect and I want to own that by telling you. Then I thought we could talk about what it is we want and how to bridge the gap. How do you feel about that?”

The reason this conversation prompt works so well is because it is non-accusatory, it’s emotionally mature, and it’s solution focused. Usually, the response is collaborative. But if it isn’t, remember that your partner may just be in a lot of pain and needs a minute to come around. That’s ok. Stay present with their pain and yours. Don’t’ run or shut down. It is exactly in these types of moments that we can take difficulty and turn it into connection. Stay in those moments and work through them, even if you need to walk away for a minute and come back. Sweeping things under the rug never helped anyone.

Ok if you need some personalized help in this area, I’ve got your back. Connection and Communication are my jam. In my amazing program; Master Your Marriage & Your Mindset, you will learn exactly how to work through any difficulty in your marriage. And more importantly, how to love yourself through it all.