The weather is pretty shitty today – here in Queensland. Dark, rainy – just glum really. If a day could have an emotion – and I like to think they do – today is lonely. How do I know – well, I spent a hell of a lot of my childhood lonely. Mostly because I was a bit strange. And we moved around A LOT, My father was a minister at a church, and let me tell you – God seems to tell those people to move around a lot. Speaks to them at night or something. And – BOOM – we move. Anyways, I went to A LOT of schools. And moved between different socio-economic groups and demographics and different types of cities. I moved away from family – and just as I found my “person” at a school – I would be saying goodbye again. But – I mean – who can argue with God. So I didn’t. But I was hella lonely. My sisters are both extroverted party animals. They landed in those new towns and yelled out “Tada I’m here bitches” and boom – they were in.
Me – not so much.
I stuttered. I was shy. I loved Agatha Christie, had pet mice and silkworms, AND I was in the process of reading the Encyclopedia cover-to-cover in the library every lunchtime. It’s true. In a family of mostly extroverts, I was the painfully shy nerdy introverted girl who hated dolls, clothes, makeup and other people. Anyways – I was lonely. And it continued all through my school years. Until about Year 11 when I found my tiny tribe. At that point I promised myself that I would do anything I had to, to avoid feeling that lonely ever again. And – I did a fairly good job. Plus – I learned that liking my own company was absolutely fine. Alone does not equal lonely. Let’s cut to 1988. Swish. My first marriage. There was one day when something happened that proved to me that I was absolutely on my own. Silly me – I’d thought that having my own family – separate from my childhood and all the loneliness I’d felt as a kid – would mean I’d never feel lonely again. Built-in friends, who had to love me – right? Genius plan. I spent a lot of that marriage feeling like I was doing things solo – not blaming him at all – I was a fiercely independent bitch. Lol – I can hear my current partner laughing if he reads this. He’d say “What do you mean you used to be a fiercely independent bitch?”… Anyways – I didn’t let anyone in – and that included my first husband. The loneliness was there but bearable. So my mission was still kinda being accomplished. Strangely – after that divorce, I didn’t feel the slightest bit lonely. Until I did – and 2 years later got married again. Fast forward a few years….And I can tell you with all honesty – that I have never felt so lonely – EVER – as I felt in my 2nd marriage, Surrounded by all the trapping of a good life – with 5 kids and all their friends in the house constantly. With barely a second to myself. I was clouded in a deep, dark physical feeling of isolation and despair. I started buying things just to try and fill the consuming emptiness. I wanted to sleep and sleep and sleep – but when I woke up, the feelings were still there. No one on the outside would have known. I told no one, and I made sure I was doing everything, and then some, that a mum should be doing. I didn’t want my loneliness to seep out into my kids’ or friends’ lives. I didn’t want to be Debbie Downer. I took lots and lots of long hot showers and baths. I tried to comfort myself with snugly, oversized clothes and blankets. I drank too much wine. I ate too many takeaways. My bones ached. My head ached. My heart ached. I watched Youtube every spare minute I could, and even started playing World of Warcraft to distract myself. I started to get sick really easily. But, all the physical effects of my profound loneliness were overshadowed by the weight I felt on my shoulders. The solid lump in my solar plexus. The unrelenting feeling of “I am so different. I am so separate. I am not worthy of being loved.” Loneliness in a marriage is its own kind of hell. My friends listened the first couple of times I talked about it – but then seemed to think it’s something I could easily get over….Maybe by meditating, exercising, eating “clean”, getting out more, being more open to social interaction, joining Amway or Doterra… But it goes deeper than that. There was also a sense of shame for feeling this way when I seemed to have everything I or other people might want. My life felt like Groundhog Day, but looked like The Brady Bunch to other people. And let me tell you – there was absolutely nothing material that could fill up that void. I needed connection. You need connection. We all need connection. It’s hardwired in. I truly see so many lonely people just wandering around. I know because I’ve felt the way they look – the way today looks to me. And I see it in the couples I work with. Sometimes – the couple is even fighting because any connection is better than no connection. There’s some physical stuff too – I know – Oh Joy Rebecca…
- Your stress hormones elevate.
- Your nervous system goes into fight or flight response – welcome cortisol.
- The extra stress hormones make it harder to sleep.
- Your white blood cells elevate, making you more prone to illness and inflammation.
- Your memory might become decreased.
So – how can you be lonely and in a relationship? People in a relationship can be lonely because something isn’t working in the relationship itself, or because they look to their partner to fill a void that they’ve been carrying within themselves since childhood. If you and your partner both feel lonely it’s important to look at these feelings within the context of your relationship. Do you find that feelings of loneliness are more common when you’re together? Do you find that you’re lonelier now than you were before entering this relationship? Do you find that there was a time when you were more fulfilled by your partner than you are now? If the answer to these questions is a “Hell Yes Beck”, then this could be a sign that something isn’t working within your relationship. Often, it could just be that the two of you have grown apart. If you used to feel like there was more connection there and therefore less loneliness, then that’s a sign that maybe you guys are sort of drifting in different directions. And – it CAN be regained. So – having said that… If you can relate to how I felt in that marriage… If you feel lonely and have no idea why… If you can’t see a light at the end of this tunnel…
Chat tomorrow onely and confused when I’ve got a partner?