Nuggets of Wisdom For Lonely Married Women: How To Start Living Again
Dear lonely married women, what is the point of staying married if you are going to be lonely your entire life? I do not mean these isolated episodes of loneliness, because they are bound to happen in every healthy marriage relationship. I mean that constant loneliness, which consumes your entire life because your partner is not around emotionally, mentally and physically.
I am in part referring to the lack of sexual intimacy, that leaves lonely married women as cold as ice and literally yearning for closeness and affection like widows. And I am not talking about health related causes. He is just not into you for some reason, either known or unknown to you. And he does not seem to give a damn about it. It hurts you so bad that this void makes you entertain evil thoughts like having an extra marital affair (maybe you have done it a couple of times) and divorce, yet such are against your moral fiber.
Lonely married women, why are you holding on to such a marriage relationship?
Is it because of kids, financial stability, culture and the associated stigma? Is it because you love this person so badly and you can’t envision life without him? Are you just afraid of the unknown? Are you living day after day, hoping that something will magically spark off the fire again?
Different women have their reasons for staying and this is such a loaded issue that I even fear opening this can of worms. However, while all those reasons are valid, lonely married women, are they valid enough for you to sacrifice your soul and die a slow but sure death? What is the point, dear frustrated lonely married women of holding on tightly if you cannot find something to make you smile in your marriage? How far can your elasticity be stretched?
“What does she know? She is in a stable loving relationship. It is just easier to judge from a distance, but when the drums change the sticks, a different tune is danced", I hear you mumbling.
Maybe you are right. But issues concerning women such as women and depression, women and stress are topics I do not take lightly. My working with battered women in Canada for a number of years changed my whole perspective. The effects of loneliness on women's health still chill my bones. Even more importantly, every woman, albeit happily married, has encountered episodes of loneliness, at some point in their marriage life. Now just imagine, that being one woman’s way of life. Not cool at all. But there is hope for lonely married women. Things can get better.
4 Ways For Lonely Married Women To Confront The Loneliness Challenge.
A) Seek For Help:
At this point, I am sure you have tried all everything; counseling , talking to friends, pastors, your aunts, aka ssenga etc. If you have not done so, please stop reading right now and seek for help. If your spouse does not want to get involved, embrace the idea of going alone. Gather as much information as you can about your situation. Quite often, men will not want anything negative to be known about their relationship. But what is the point of dying in silence? Moreover, sooner than later, it will erupt as a volcano for the world to see.
You need to find an objective person. Someone with no vested interest who can genuinely assess your relationship, preferably a professional counselor. For Christian women, I recommend a pastor or a Christian counselor although I have a few reservations as addressed in point #2 below. This is also a time to pray, as you have never done before, and to ask a few trusted close people to stand in your gap.
B) Assess The Advice and Information You Receive:
What common thread runs through? How can this information help you leap forward? How does it conflict with what you have always known and believed about the marriage institution? Christian women have to be vigilant about the often-simplistic religious stance on the role of women in marriage. While I am follower of Christ (although my spiritual meter might have a different story), at times the message given is not in line with what God intends for marriage. At least in my myopic view. What kind of God rejoices seeing lonely married women instead of vibrant energetic women ready to conquer the world and do wonderful exploits? Isn’t marriage supposed to be about two people, willing to grow together, demonstrating God’s love to one another?
C) Evaluate yourself and Your Role In The situation:
You see, sometimes lonely married women think that they are victims, when in actual sense they are causing their own loneliness. And, by no means do I intend to downplay their feelings because they are already hurting. But this is not fiction. I have witnessed this, even in my own marriage. Could you be causing your own loneliness and you are shoving all the blame on your spouse?
For instance, are you failing to find a life of your own and you expect him to fulfill all your needs? Is there a longstanding issue which could possibly be making him pull away? Do you need to work on yourself first, before you can fully commit to this relationship? Some women have their personal issues. No matter what a man does, they never reach common ground. Are you a critical woman, constantly pining and belittling your man? Are you creating an unbearable scathing home environment that leaves your spouse no choice but to shut you out of their lives?
Maybe you just have unrealistic expectations of the male species. At times, women think that their men know how to build relationships. Unfortunately, while men may not admit it, they simply do not know how. The best they might know is what they learned from their parents' marriage which could potentially be the "lonely marriage of all time" in the Guinness book of records.
While this is not to legitimize men's behavior, to a large extend, it underscores the fact that at times, you have the power to crush or build your man. The truth is, they need your gentle support and affirmation. Dear lonely married women, is there anything you can do today, to rekindle that love? Could it be adding a little spice in the bedroom with some new irresistible lingerie? Could it be hitting the gym? You want to give it your all, so that when a time comes, you have no regrets. You want to do your part.
C) Appreciate Your Man For who He is:
Put your feelings aside and be as fair and as honest as possible. Are you trying to mold your partner into the person he is not? Are you sweating the “small stuff” which he is unable to do forgetting to look at the big picture? I use small here with caution, for obvious reasons. As an example, while I might want to be carried and hugged, and we go hand in hand in public, this is not the way my dude is wired. He might do it occasionally, but I may not expect it to be constant. Should this send me into depression and loneliness? Even more importantly, are you genuinely listening to your partner, or he just fears opening his mouth because you simply bash him?
While your marriage is an opportunity to shape your man into the person you want him to be, you have to be as cunning as a serpent and as gentle as a dove. Not many women have this ability.
In my entire life, the most challenging thing I have navigated has so far been the marriage institution, probably more challenging than acquiring my masters in Science Education. Real women happily married to real men deserve a trophy.
D) Think of An Exit Strategy:
By now, you should have guessed that I am pro marriage, 110%. How I wish every woman could experience this breathtaking institution God created! This strong intimacy, being intertwined with the person you love is probably the greatest feeling all. BUT, of what benefit is it for a woman to endure this slow but sure emotional death in pursuit of this great institution? Below, I pause the most life altering questions you will ever need to ask yourself.
Is your partner willing to change or at least take some steps? Is he just committed to chasing after other bubbles—women, work, hobbies, friends etc and you are simply no where in his agenda? Has it been a roller-coaster ride for many years? Is the distance between you and your spouse getting wider with each passing day? Is this loneliness beginning to affect your health, your once fabulous sexy look, your work, your parenting skills, among others? If nothing changes in the next two or so years, how do you envision your life? Do you feel that you have given your marriage everything you have? Is there anything left in your power to give to your marriage?
Do not be hoodwinked. All those reasons you are giving to stay in such a toxic environment will soon be meaningless if you lose your life. Real women—married, divorced, single, widowed, name it, always thrive. But lonely married women do not. While throwing in a towel may be nerve-wracking, at times, it might be the only viable option.
Caution For Lonely Married Women Contemplating Leaving
Just like undertaking marriage, leaving your marriage is a big decision that should NEVER be undertaken lightly and without serious thought. It should neither be made overnight nor out of overwhelming emotion. When you see yourself threatening to leave everyday, when are still able to bubble many words, you are not ready. Stay put and explore other ways managing this loneliness. You are simply not ready to take any radicalized action.
Real women know when they have had enough. When a time comes and you no longer care about what others think. When you realize that you need to take care of yourself first. When you realize that you are responsible for your own happiness. When you extend love to yourself—that selfish love that puts you in the driver's, that distastes being at someone's mercy to be happy. When you get this holly anger for all the injustices that have been done to you and many other women, everything else changes.
In my career working with lonely married women, or any woman at that, I never tell them what to do. I neither stop a determined woman from fleeing for her life if she feels threatened, nor do I tell her not to stay out if she feels she has not exhausted all options. However, while my wish would be staying happily married ever after for every couple, the sad reality is that there are many lonely married women who are probably better off walking away. And the numbers are growing by the day.
Fellow real women, strong women of valor, may you always get the discernment and the strength to do what needs to be done when on the horns of dilemma.