Can feelings of loneliness affect your marriage? I know for sure that it does. Not only in lack of connection to your spouse but to your healthy as well. This really sounds like a double whammy for sure. We hear all the time that loneliness can affect behavior and ways of thinking, and I’m sure few also knew that it can also affect your healthy.
So, to just touch on that a little I read this in an online article “Is loneliness lethal? According to two new studies published online Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, living alone or feeling lonely can increase your chances of disability and early death.”
“The association was especially marked by age: for the youngest participants, aged 45 to 65, living alone increased the risk of early death by 24%; in people aged 66 to 80, solitary living was associated with a 12% increased risk of death; among those over 80, there was no link between living arrangements and risk of heart-related death.”
There is no doubt that loneliness affects us on an individual bases, but can feeling lonely affect your relationship? Loneliness can be detrimental in many ways, some of which are biological and some of which are more behavioral. Feeling isolated can trigger changes in brain chemicals and hormones that can increase inflammation in the body, for example, which can exacerbate conditions like heart disease and arthritis.
Loneliness may also lead to other problems, poor sleep and depression. So…wait, if it affects our sleep and creates depression why would it not affect our marriage? Since it is usually women that are the most forth coming with these types of feelings I am going to attempt making my point with them in mind.
Married women feel lonely for a variety of reasons, such as emotional abuse, a lack of physical intimacy, or when work obligations make it difficult to spend enough time together. An unfulfilled desire for emotional connection also causes many married women to feel lonely. Here is a misconception; if you’re lonely, simply getting married won’t cure your loneliness.
In fact, the false assumption that marriage can cure loneliness may cause some women to enter into relationships that make their loneliness worse. In the book “The Mirages of Marriage,” authors William J. Lederer and Don D. Jackson note that “the most intense and excruciating loneliness is the loneliness that is shared with another person.”
When marriage fails to cure a person’s loneliness, resentment, bitterness and emotional withdrawal may occur, which can then lead to increased feelings of loneliness. Loneliness may also lead to depression and self-destructive behavior such as addiction or infidelity, ok so that’s how loneliness affects a marriage.
“Married women in particular may feel pushed towards infidelity due to feelings of loneliness”, says clinical psychologist Joyce Hamilton Berry. “Women usually cheat when the marriage is not fulfilling and is already in trouble,” says Berry. Feelings of loneliness are one of the most common reasons which lead women to cheat on their partner.
Though it may seem a contradiction to say that a woman feels lonely within a relationship, she may feel that the relationship is not emotionally fulfilling. This can be particularly problematic if her partner is deeply involved with his work or his friends and leaves her to spend a lot of time alone.
Balancing time between work and friends outside the relationship will help her feel wanted and stop her from feeling inclined to seek attention outside of the relationship. This is not to say that men don’t feel lonely even in a marriage, I know that it happens more often than we are aware. But it would it be safe to say that when feeling this vulnerable weakness of loneliness men express other emotions, usually anger. Just know that men can feel lonely too.