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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Couples: Are You Lonely in Your Relationship?

Uploaded: Mar 2, 2018
I’ve seen many couples who are lonely in their marriage. They don’t feel connected--the bond that comes from being your authentic self in your relationship and your partner having your back. Lack of connection is really what breaks relationships apart. There may be many top level reasons or actions (e.g., an affair) that seem like the reason the marriage is in trouble, but underneath all that it’s lack of connection.

There’s an article in the April edition of Psychology Today about loneliness called The Loneliness Cure. I’ll share a bit of that article with you.

“Loneliness poses a serious physical risk--it can be quite literally, deadly. As a predictor of premature death, insufficient connection is a bigger risk factor than obesity and smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.”

“It’s been established that lonely people are more likely than the nonlonely to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory illness, and gastrointestinal causes—essentially everything. One study found that those with fewer than three people they could confide in and count on for social support were more than twice as likely from heart disease than those with more confidants.”

“. . . the subjective feeling of loneliness—the internal experience of disconnection or rejection--is at the heart of the problem. More of us than ever before are feeling its sting, whether we’re young or old, married or single . . .”

The article outlines the “7 types of loneliness:
1. New situation loneliness
2. I’m different loneliness
3. No sweetheart loneliness
4. No animal loneliness
5. No time for you loneliness
6. Casual friends loneliness (i.e., you’re friends but not sure if you trust them or think they see the real you; may lead to you not confiding or trusting them)
7. Quiet presence loneliness (i.e., just having someone else around at home: a roommate, family member or sweetheart)”

The article lists 10 “ways to fight loneliness:
1. Do talk to strangers
2. Give it seven minutes (to see if a conversation is going somewhere
3. Schedule face time (being in proximity boosts endorphins that ease pain and enhance well-being)
4. If you can’t get face time choose Facetime
5. Use Facebook wisely [this could be a whole blog unto itself. But mainly create small groups where the connection is authentic, [rather than showing how wonderful everything is. Don’t get alienated by all the wonderful posts and photos others are sharing--they struggle, too, but don’t post that usually.
6. Be a good neighbor
7. Throw a dinner party
8. Get creative [with others
9. Talk about it (whether to a friend or therapist, we can all benefit from talking about feeling of loneliness)
10. Reach out and touch someone--literally (hugging, holding hands or just patting someone on the back . . . can lower our psychological stress response; [when my husband puts his hands on my shoulders they literally drop two inches. Make sure it’s appropriate touch.)”

If you’re lonely, do something about today--for your physical and metal health and well being.
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