I never first believed that a married person goes through loneliness. But then Oprah Winfrey gave the world, What I Know For Sure, and my suspicions were validated. She wrote:
“I have witnessed far too many couples who stayed married when they shouldn’t have because their intention was just that—to be married, rather than to be fulfilled.” (Winfrey, 112)
I have never been married. But I’ve come remarkably close to engagement. My longest relationship with that person was almost 3 years. That journey gave me the first real eye into the concept of “being tethered to a person you love without the needed fulfillment” to keep the relationship going. I had not noticed it before, but I had become a “groupie loner”
I was fulfilled more when I was away from my relationship. I was in college then and I poured myself into group things: awards banquets, photography shoots, poetry slams, and anything that included a group that I could attend. This is classic groupie loner stuff.
The group loner invests in the idea of a relationship more than the relationship itself. In the display case, the relationship looks great. Both people appear to be together. But one smothers the flame and passion of the other.
Either the man controls the confidence and independence of his lady, or the lady is more dominant and the man feels voiceless.
Note: If you’re in a GLBTQIA relationship, you may experience groupie loner syndrome with more complications because sexuality and gender roles are often more fluid and not limited to the boring binary complex of straight couple-dom.
In a relationship with “group problems”, the only teamwork is within crisis mode. Both partners work together in a major problem. Maybe, a car is broken. Maybe, there is a legal issue. They both instantly become each other’s EMT.
These are the needy times.
But each person still functions best when he or she gets to be in a group. The group of friends, couples, co-workers, students, and acquaintances make being together bearable. Both people are not fulfilled enough and angry resides deep inside. If you ask them how they both are… they’ll both answer: “just fine”. They might even give you the fake smile thingy.
Make no mistake…
They are joined together in trauma because being alone without the people they choose… sucks.
I’ve seen it. People are married, lonely in their souls, still together and unhappy. That deep yearning is true connection.
True Connection defined is: experience mutually shared collectively and joyful with one person or a group, in which the experience is no polluted by the distractions of devices, alcohol, or drugs.
I’ve seen too many social gatherings in married life rely on drugs and alcohol. And I’ve noted how spouses are so committed to the idea of marriage that they truly believe that forcing themselves through the relationship is better than acknowledging a disconnect between them that every person around can see.
“Involvement” is a standard cure for the anger and loneliness.
You’ll hear: I’m involved with the parent’s fund-raiser at my kid’s day-care center. I’m working on the board of my church’s auxiliary club. I’m involved in the community action team in the local neighborhood.
Slowly, that “involvement” replaces the soul connection the marriage should serve. When the jobs in those cloud activities are complete, more “involvement” must replace.
Men and women become inadequate and unfulfilled spouses because obligations like “parenthood” and “career” often crowd out spiritual pain. Surely, a husband and wife are happy parents. But marriage needs intimacy, communication, romance, and teamwork. And while kids are priority, there must be time for “connection”.
The lonely groupie may believe that parenthood is the sacrificial activity to keep a marriage or relationship viable. Remember the notion of staying together for the kids. Please don’t discount the idea that children are adversely affected by parent choices to do or not do.
The lonely married person knows how to mirror happiness on social media, in public settings, and among other married people.
But internally, involvement covers their real issues.
Toni Braxton sang: “If you can’t be with the one you really truly love, do the two-step with the one you’re with“.
Married lonely people do the two-step of apathy with whatever they have. And the game becomes a grand game of masking.
And the cloud doesn’t have to be groups; the cloud can also be binge-watching Netflix or some weird food addiction. These activities are stimulation until they are over. And there’s a gilded cage aspect to the married lonely ideal.
It’s like the married lonely person must be covered in affectionate people, places, and things without a single moment of dissent because (insert people’s names) must cater to me.
In truly connected marriages, I’ve observed that communication is always in a loving tone. They also rarely “invite” other people to their soft spots. If both partners face a communication problem, they aren’t ashamed to go privately and deal with it —-away from the public. I’ve also noticed a different level of respect in these couples; men and women seem less likely to shame their partners about anything.
It’s okay to date. It’s okay to be alone if you’re still learning to take care of yourself.
Do not marry or date with the idea that the other person will get rid of your loneliness. It rarely happens.
I had to be broken to find wholeness. And I can say with confidence that I’d never go back to a relationship that didn’t fulfill me completely.