Most people associate the word loneliness to someone who does not have a companion, a Mate or a Quaint with whom to spend time. What happens when you are lonely with Mate lying in bed beside you?
We have already been over the fact Mate is not an alien. But in the last few (weeks, months, years), you have become to realize you do not speak Mate’s language. Now, we could chalk this up to the whole Venus/Mars debate, but that would be a fallacy. You share a language, even if one of you has a different native one.
During a relationship or marriage, one of you will go through times which are tougher to handle than the other is experiencing. This does not mean you are living separate lives, but what is does mean is you need to share the load.
When one Mate is saddled with a personal problem, like job loss or death in the family, the other Mate answers with sympathy or empathy. What is the difference? Good question.
“I have walked a mile in those shoes before you put them on your feet.” Depending on the delivery, sympathy can often sound a lot like I told you so.
“I saw those boots in the window, but know my feet would never be big enough to fill them.” Depending on delivery, empathy can often sound a lot like I would hate to be you.
In some marriages, one Mate takes the turn in the shoes more than the other. When this is the case, one or both Mates can feel the loneliness creep into their psyches.
Stop the world.
When you have been under the gun of stress for too long or too often, it is isolating. The feelings of persecution can lead you to believe Mate is not carrying the equal end of the stick. To get it back into balance is not as difficult as it may first seem.
Ask for Help
One of the hardest things for humans to do is ask for help. Deep down, we all want to believe we can handle it. Just stop it. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, even when you do not feel like you need help.
The fact is, during times of stress or grief, we often do not realize we need help because we are so busy coping with the issue. By asking for help, we can eliminate some of the emotional capital drain to better focus on the problem at hand.
Every once in a while, we ask Mate for help, and Mate simply cannot help. This does not mean Mate is not empathetic (or pathetic). It simply means mate may be having a turn, too. Rather than be disappointed in not getting help, see if you can help.
There is a sense of satisfaction in the distraction offered in helping someone else handle it. Often, enough healing happens to make your issue come squarely into perspective while you help Mate.
You do it.
When Mate is the one asking you for help more often than you do, it is isolating on the opposite end of the spectrum. You seem to be investing more in the marriage than Mate is. Before you burn up all of your emotional capital, ask for a bail out from Mate.
When a new problem arises, rather than immediately giving into the request for help, simply ask Mate what ideas come to mind. Try asking: How do you think we should handle this? Mate may not even know it, but may be perfectly able to navigate the problem without your usual kind of assistance.
Are both of you facing similar issues? Decide together to be a team. After all, this is the definition of marriage. Face your problems as an united front. Draw strength from one another. Overcome.
Feeling you are alone in a marriage is most often a sign pointing to lack of communication. Do not spend time contemplating loneliness. Talk to Mate about your feelings. Mate may have completely misunderstood the signals you were sending about needing or wanting assistance and comaraderie.
Something as simple as I do not want to do this by myself, is enough to let Mate know you are feeling alone in the home you share.
We will be discussing the types of loneliness in relationships over this series. Have you ever felt this kind of loneliness? How did you work it out? Do you know of a different type of loneliness in a relationship?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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