Is it okay to feel lonely while in a relationship?

Should you blame your partner for it?

13 May, 2024
Is it okay to feel lonely while in a relationship?

When I was young (and naive), I held on to this fairytale idea that being in a relationship would solve all my problems. I craved companionship and emotional support, and believed that a partner would automatically fulfill those needs. It was only when I grew up that I  understood the complexities of a relationship. While love is essential, it doesn't magically erase loneliness. And it's completely normal to feel lonely even when in a relationship.

But shouldn’t having a partner make things better and less lonely? How can one still feel lonely if they have that perpetual emotional support throughout? The answer is that it's not as cut and dry; loneliness can be quite complex too. You might crave a social connection (even when you are in a relationship) with your friends or feel emotionally lonely if you don’t feel like you're heard or understood. Sometimes, a breakdown in communication can lead to a distance between partners, despite them being physically close. Additionally, if our core needs aren't being met, like having a hobby or being passionate about something, loneliness can linger.

Your partner isn't responsible for taking away your loneliness. They can’t fix you; only you can. While a healthy relationship offers companionship and support, it's important to take ownership of your own emotional well-being too.

Here's what you can do to combat loneliness and nurture a stronger connection with your partner.

Open up to your partner

Honesty and open communication is the foundation of any relationship. Talk to your partner about your feelings. And use "I" statements to express your needs, like "I feel lonely when..." and listen actively to what they have to say.

Reconnect with yourself

It's important to spend time with yourself. Whether it involves getting lost in a book, taking a long walk, or indulging in a relaxing bath, set aside dedicated time for solo activities that you enjoy. These moments of self-care are essential. It allows you to reconnect with your inner voice, explore your interests, and recharge emotionally.

Maintain your individual friendships

Don't let your relationship consume all your time. Make time for your friends;  socialise and nurture your individual friendships. Strong friendships provide a sense of belonging, social connection, and different perspectives that enrich your life. Plan outings with friends, maintain regular communication, and show them you care about their lives too.

Seek professional help (if needed)

If you're struggling to overcome loneliness on your own, consider therapy. A therapist can provide a safe space to explore issues and develop strategies to strengthen your interpersonal relationships and combat loneliness.

Build new connections

Consider joining a club, volunteering, or taking a class to meet new people who share your interests. Expanding your social circle can combat loneliness. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there!

All images: Unsplash

Also read: How to maintain your friendships while being in a relationship

Also read: 5 ways to build trust in a new relationship