Couples Counseling Articles

Couples Counseling

Love, Loneliness and Connection

My attorney married his college sweetheart after she finished medical school.

They were married only a short time, which he describes as the loneliest three years of his life.

To this day, he has never remarried.

In 2018, loneliness emerged as a silent epidemic in North America.

In today’s almost-post-quarantine-world, we have a national health crisis on our hands.

Oddly, loneliness is not defined by our surroundings nor does it have a direct relationship to distance or geography.

We can feel lonely and emotionally alone even in beautiful space with people we love.

It’s an internal sense or comfort level and is distinct from solitude.

Solitude is an opportunity for rest and rejuvenation. It’s voluntary and tends to enhance our personal growth, creativity and well-being. It brings up emotions…but in a good way.

Loneliness feels heavy and is burdened with shame. Stigma surrounds it and creates an unconscious desire to escape. The brain says, “Anywhere but here.”

In research circles, there is an evolution in thinking about loneliness and its link to depression, anxiety and addiction.

Meanwhile, most people have become experts at suppressing loneliness with magical thinking and….let’s admit it….our over use of electronic devices.

When that doesn’t work, we withdraw, stay busy or self-medicate with something or someone.

As unrelenting as the state of loneliness may seem, it is reversible.

First, we can lift the burden of shame by recognizing and acknowledging that we all need human connection as much as we need food and water.

Then we can de-stigmatize loneliness by talking about our experiences and understanding it for what it is:

a near-universal human condition we can do something about.

The Moment I Knew…

I had mine at 42 and have had several since.

Almost everyone has a moment. It’s when you know or understand something that was previously a source of confusion. Somehow out of reach.

This moment of clarity can be filled with relief…or terror.

Maybe it’s been germinating in the background for years. But when a ‘moment of knowing’ shows up, it feels sudden…and it’s packed with lessons that teach us how to listen and trust ourselves.

If we listen, life starts moving in a new direction.

Here are some examples of such moments……

  • I’m going to marry him/her.
  • We’re pregnant.
  • My life isn’t working anymore.
  • Something’s got to change.
  • I’m going to start a business.
  • I need to go back to school.
  • I want a new job.
  • I’m going to leave him/her.
  • S/he is going to divorce me.
  • We need an intervention.
  • I’ve been betrayed.
  • I must do that ONE thing I’m afraid to do…or at least try!

Typically, these are intimate landmark moments of knowing. They’re about ordinary things….that end up creating memorable, life-altering experiences.

These game-changing moments do not like being neglected.

When ignored, they don’t disappear.

Instead, they wait patiently…for years, sometimes decades…until the next opportunity arises.

And, when it taps you on the shoulder, that’s when you know. This is the moment.

Only For You

The story you tell yourself is true, but only for you.

We see and hear everything through our own eyes and ears.

Our brain compares what we see and hear to what we expect. Then, our brain creates stories around every interaction we have.

We form an opinion, make judgments and the story we tell ourself becomes our truth. It’s our understanding of the world. Those stories become our belief… about a person, place or situation. It’s how we make sense of things.

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