Feeling Alone in Your Relationship? Here's What to Do

With a little effort, you can be well on your way to feeling connected.
Jessica Estrada - The Knot Contributor.
by
Jessica Estrada
Jessica Estrada - The Knot Contributor.
Jessica Estrada
The Knot Contributor
  • Jessica contributes wedding planning, wedding etiquette and relationship content to The Knot.
  • She also covers lifestyle and wellness topics for print and digital publications such Refinery29, Bustle, Well + Good, Cosmopolitan, Byrdie, The Zoe Report, The Cut and more.
  • Jessica has a journalism degree from Cal State University, Northridge and is certified as a life and success coach.
Updated Oct 01, 2021

Even if you're in a happy and healthy relationship with your significant other, there may come a time when one of you experiences disconnection or feelings of loneliness.

According to relationship experts like Sanam Hafeez, a New York City-based neuropsychologist and director of Comprehend the Mind, feeling alone in a relationship is common. The good news? You and your partner can get past this, so long as you're both willing to prioritize each other's mental health and overall wellness.

Keep reading for signs of loneliness to look out for, common reasons why you might be feeling lonely and expert tips for what to do about it.

Signs of Loneliness in Romantic Relationships

So, how do you know if you're truly feeling alone in a relationship? There are various signs to look out for, and they can be different for every individual and couple. One of the biggest signs, Hafeez says, is feeling like you're not important in your partner's life, or feeling unheard by them. For instance, they might be prioritizing other things in their life. Or, when you share your feelings, they might dismiss or ignore them.

Hafeez says other potential signs of feeling alone in a long-term relationship can include feeling hopeless or empty; not sharing news with your partner because you feel like they don't hear you; feeling uncared for; and making future plans that don't involve your partner. She adds that loneliness in a relationship can also look like not expressing your love physically, feeling disengaged and disconnected when you're with your partner, and not communicating with them as much.

Why You Might Be Feeling Lonely in Your Relationship

The following are three common reasons why you might be feeling disconnected from your partner.

1. You struggle with vulnerability.

In some instances, feelings of loneliness can be triggered by you and not necessarily your partner. This can happen if you're not willing to be vulnerable with your partner—if you're not comfortable sharing your feelings with them, you may feel as though they don't know personal things about you, which can contribute to loneliness, Hafeez says.

2. You don't spend quality time together.

Everyone has busy lives, and sometimes spending quality time alone with your partner can be put on the back burner. But lack of quality time together can contribute to feeling alone in a relationship. "If you don't have alone time, you may feel less connected and close to your partner, and there is likely no intimacy in the relationship," Hafeez says. "Spending quality time with your partner allows you to build memories, communicate and connect with each other."

3. Your relationship lacks trust.

Trust is the foundation of every strong relationship. Without it, one or both partners can experience feelings of loneliness. "Trust is essential in a relationship because it allows both partners to feel entirely accepted and free to express their feelings in a safe space," Hafeez says. "Without trust, an individual won't feel secure that their partner will love and be loyal to them, contributing to feelings of isolation."

What to Do if You're Feeling Alone in Your Relationship

These three expert-backed strategies can help you stop feeling lonely in your relationship.

1. Work on your communication.

The first thing you should do if you're feeling alone in your relationship is work on improving your communication with your partner.

"Let them know how you feel so that you can work together and address specific issues," Hafeez says. "Once you know the particular issues contributing to feelings of loneliness, you can develop a plan."

For instance, if lack of quality time is the issue, the plan may be that you schedule a few date nights each month to do something fun together like cuddle and watch a movie or cook a delicious dinner. Hafeez says this will give you both the opportunity to get to know each other and feel more deeply connected.

2. Practice being vulnerable.

The ability to be vulnerable with one's partner is a foundational component of relationships. Share how you're feeling or what you're going through. And don't be afraid to speak up.

"Vulnerability strengthens a relationship by allowing you to establish an emotional connection," Hafeez says. "Being honest and open with each other fosters intimacy, empathy and compassion in a relationship. Opening up to your partner is a way to move forward together, and it makes your partner feel like they can do the same."

3. See a couple's counselor.

If you and your significant other are finding it challenging to overcome feelings of loneliness in your relationship, Hafeez recommends seeing a couple's therapist or family therapist for additional support.

"Although this may seem intimidating at first, a couple's counselor can help you explore what could be contributing to feeling alone," she says. "A counselor can also be a third party that sees things objectively and can give you techniques to improve your relationship."

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