“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.” 2009 film, ‘World’s Greatest Dad’
One of the first questions I ask my new clients is to write down what their fears are if they choose to stay in the marriage and what their fears are if they make the decision to leave the marriage.
If they choose to stay, I often get fear such as:
- What if I waste another year (or two or ten)?
- Will I live my whole life and never really feel loved or desired?
- What if nothing ever changes and I feel lonely forever?
If they choose to end the marriage, their fears are often:
- What if the grass isn’t greener?
- What if he finds love again and I don’t?
- Will I be alone forever?
The idea that we might have to endure a life without a partner has kept many women paralyzed in empty, disconnected and lonely marriages for decades.
The underlying premise is that having a relationship that feels bad is better than not being in a relationship at all.
Here’s what I would offer…
If you’ve been struggling inside your marriage for years (or maybe decades), my guess is that you know what it’s like to feel lonely.
- You may have a partner by your side, but don’t feel like there’s anyone in your corner.
- You may come home to someone at night, but don’t feel known or understood by that person.
- When you lie your head down on your pillow at night, I’ll bet you feel the wide gap between your bodies, even though you’re only inches away from one another.
You know what loneliness feels like.
And feeling the emotion of lonely when you’re single and aren’t in a relationship is an entirely different kind of lonely feeling than when you have a partner but still feel alone.
Don’t stay in a toxic, sexless or unloving marriage because you’re afraid to be alone.
You can be alone for a period of time. The emotion of loneliness won’t feel great, but it will not kill you.
What you cannot do is live a lifetime of loneliness, hoping and yearning for something more without ever having the possibility of experiencing it.
To come to clarity about your lonely marriage will require that you determine if there’s a way to feel more connected or if the relationship, as it is, is all it will ever be.
I know the path to get to that clarity. Let me guide you.