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Not Alone, Yet Lonely

Do you feel lonely in your marriage?  Many of the patients I work with report feeling disconnected and disengaged from their spouse.  Even single people can have hordes of friends, but experience tremendous loneliness.  The common thread here is their lack of emotional intimacy.  Couples don’t communicate often enough (only an average four minutes a day) and when they do it’s often about logistics.  Couples can be in the same room for hours without muttering a word other than the mundane like “pass the salt”.  Unfortunately, conversations that are deep, personal, and intimate are infrequent creating greater risk for detachment and isolation.  Personally and professionally, I believe that emotions connect people and that we yearn for greater connection.

We all need a sense of belonging, connectedness, and to experience love, which often occurs in relationships, except when emotional intimacy is missing.  Why do certain people relate better and easier than others?  What enables some individuals to maintain long-term, committed relationships?Author and researcher, Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., writes that character and people skills which he defines as emotional intelligence (EQ) are much more important to success in life in general than traditional intelligence measured as IQ.  Research suggests that EQ is highly correlated with success in relationships and career.  Many of the patients I work with are intellectually overdeveloped and emotionally underdeveloped.  The analytical type person wants to fix problems without seeking full understanding or even discerning if this is what their partner wants.  They skip the listening part of the conversation and move directly to problem-solving.  This interaction leads to frustration for both people and results in disconnection.

Good relationships create more meaning and fulfillment in life along with joy.  So how does a person develop emotional intelligence and increase emotional maturity?  Learn next week ways to grow in emotional awareness and intelligence.

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