Feeling alone together
Do you find yourself feeling lonely, despite living with your partner? Are you in a long term relationship, and yet aware that you and your partner are talking less and less? You don't understand why this is happening but you are aware that you don't talk about important things anymore, such as your thoughts and feelings. The longer it goes on, the wider the gap feels between you and the more difficult you find it to share like you used to.
You feel stuck. You yearn to share more, to be comforted and cuddled by your partner and to have a richer and fuller life together. You don't know how your partner feels and yet you recognise there is a need for change - change in you. You recognise your own needs are not being met and you feel lonely.
How can I learn to relate better to my partner? How can they learn to relate better to me? It is easy to fall into a familiar way of relating to each other - in such a way that neither of your needs get met and both of you end up feeling dissatisfied and more distant from each other.
It is possible to learn to relate to each other differently. You can develop skills involving active listening and providing empathy when hearing what your partner has to say. You can find ways of sharing more with your partner. What is most important is that you really want to do so.
There are a number of options available to you both as a couple and as individuals.
Brief couples therapy can offer an opportunity for you both to learn how to relate better to each other, if you are both willing to give this a go. In this therapy, your therapist will be interested in your relationship and how you relate to each other. They will be curious about this so that they can offer guidance on how to best facilitate you relating to each other more openly.
Sometimes, one or both partners are better suited to doing some individual therapy first, and doing some personal development on themselves before considering couples therapy. Sometimes, couples therapy works simultaneously with individual therapy - the individual sessions providing an outlet for exploring thoughts and feelings stirred up in the couples work.
What's important is recognising that you aren't content in your relationship, that you are feeling lonely and that you want something different for yourself. In knowing this, you are preparing to embark on a journey that will involve making changes in your life. This is so that you can break the cycle of loneliness in your relationship, and re-create the bond you and your partner share.
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About Mandy Atkinson
Mandy Atkinson, MBACP (Accred.), MA, RGN, Cert. Ed. is an experienced counsellor running a practice in Hadlow, near Tonbridge, Kent. She provides short and longer term counselling for individuals of all ages and for couples and groups.