Nothing compares to the beginning of a romance. You spend as much time as you can with your partner, and when you’re not with that person, you can’t stop thinking about the next time you’re together.
After being in that relationship for a while, spending most of your time with your partner becomes a routine. Yet when the relationship begins to crumble, you could be in the same room as your partner and still feel incredibly lonely.
Being alone can be a liberating experience, yet being lonely can feel discouraging and depressing. Trying to make it work with someone you used to love can feel so much more isolating once you’ve lost the emotional intimacy.
You only talk about what’s for dinner tonight
You might talk to your partner all day, but if you only check in with each other as if you’re coworkers, you might begin to lose the emotional intimacy. Guy Winch, PhD, writes for Psychology Today that unless you have meaningful conversations with your partner about your hopes, dreams, and passions, you might begin to feel emotionally isolated from your partner.
You compare your relationship to your social media feed
The friends on your social media feed post pictures of flowers, tickets to their favorite show, or their partners kissing them at a romantic destination. Then, on your anniversary, you might expect your partner to do something just as performative only to be disappointed when he doesn’t spend as much time, money, or effort to celebrate as you expect.
According to Jennifer L. Taitz, PsyD and author of How to Be Single and Happy: Science-Based Strategies for Keeping Your Sanity While Looking for a Soul Mate, social media has trained us to be showy and ostentatious with our relationships. That can make being in a relationship feel more like a social status than a private, fulfilling experience.
You don’t have any non-mutual friends
In a long-term relationship, maintaining friendships can be difficult without going on double dates or inviting them to events with your partner. But when you have mutual friends, you might feel like they see spending time with you as part of a package with your partner.
A 2018 Pew Research Center survey says people who don’t feel connected to their friends or neighbors indicate higher feelings of loneliness, even if they’re in a relationship.
You don’t prioritize your “me” time
This can seem contradictory, but if you don’t spend enough time alone, you can end up feeling lonelier. Devoting all of your free time to someone else’s interests can lead to burnout, and not developing your own hobbies and passions means you’re unable to develop your own self-worth. Then, you might define your identity by your partner, which can leave you feeling hollow.
You use the relationship to fill a void
Some people tell themselves they’re in love with their partner when they’re really in love with being in a relationship. They long for the security of attention from someone else. Yet when you spend time alone, you force yourself to contend with your own values, insecurities, and goals. Being alone is the time when women can summon the strength to find their own power.