Alone is pretty easy to define. You’re by yourself, a party of one, and the time where a team does have an I in it.
Lonely? Not so easy after all. Where alone is a state of being and a tangible, lonely is so much more ethereal. Everyone has heard of being lonely in a crowd and has probably experienced the feeling at least once in their life. Very few have never been the new kid in a classroom, even if they have to wait until college.
But now, Valentine’s Day is looming. All that red and pink reminds some of us how lonely being in a partnership can be. Surprisingly, I never felt one second of loneliness in the time during my husband’s deployment to Kuwait. How did we manage to stay in touch and still feel the love? Communication.
Chitchat during a war is different now that it was as recently as a couple of decades ago. In 2003, we had international phone calls once a week and email all the time. Skype and other video conferencing were new, and mail was okay but slow. I did happen to send him care packages of things he mentioned missing. With the once a day check-ins and weekly chats, we probably talked more than most busy couples have a chance to under the same roof.
How to combat this? In knitting (one of my fave hobbies), there’s a saying of “Take time to save time.” We’re supposed to do a test knit to make sure the stitches per inch is accurate. For a marriage or any other relationship, I’d say block out your time to interact with each other. Make doing so a priority and necessary for each of you. Both people must care because nothing’s sadder in a couple than being the one hand clapping.
If you’re the one initiating and not getting a response, there are a few things to try on your own.
- Kick it old school and write a letter by hand. Then rewrite in case you were angry about having to write one at all to get their attention. I know I’d have to.
- Text them a kiss. Emoji or your lips in a kiss, either work.
- Stop off on the way home from wherever and grab their favorite anything. No reason or occasion necessary.
- A phone call can be a problem for some to give or receive. We’re lucky because I’m my own boss and my husband’s workplace isn’t a pain about phone calls. I know I always love hearing his voice instead of a robocall or telemarketer. So speed dial if you can.
- Sex it up! Oddly enough, this wasn’t effective for me in the first couple of decades of my marriage, but this third decade is turning out to be very unusual. <-not a complaint! Everything I do now is a turn on when it never was during the early years. What do I mean by turn on? Well, for you, it may mean wearing the sexy clothes as a normal instead of a special occasion. Wear the boxers with lip kisses or the red teddy in the evenings. (Now that I think about it, our kid is older and not around as much. Sexy is a lot easier with just us in the house. LOL! Light bulb moment, right?)
- To get around the kids might know/hear sexytimes issue, letting your significant other pick the sexy unders you wear. This makes the undressing time after the kids are asleep a lot more fun, too.
- Find a similar activity you enjoy. We like long walks in the park and watching Canadian television shows, but our finding these likes didn’t happen overnight and haven’t been constant. In the beginning, we liked the Civil Air Patrol and dining out. Clearly, our tastes have changed through interest or necessity. We still have separate activities, but the ones we share are a lot of fun, too.
Finally, if none of these ideas brings you closer together or you’ve been there, failed that, you know what to do. Talk to a professional. My job is to write about a fictional couple’s conflict and communication problems. So far I haven’t had a character seek counseling, but you never know. A story might make it necessary someday and if you need it, take advantage of the help.
Next Monday: Answering FAQ’s because my husband needs me to do so on my new website. You won’t even notice the switch except everything is much prettier.