Dear Coleen – I’m married with kids, but I’m so lonely in my own home

Dear Coleen

I’ve been married for 18 years and have two children, however my marriage has been difficult for a few years now.

It’s got to the point at home where my husband and I hardly speak to each other, at least not about anything other than arrangements for the kids or household and financial stuff – we just co-exist in the same house.

My husband doesn’t seem to have any empathy whatsoever, even though I’ve had a really tough couple of years. My mother passed away and my best friend who I’ve known since school moved abroad. I was also made redundant.

My kids are at an age where they’re more independent – my daughter is 16 and my son 14 – so they need me less and I suppose I can’t distract myself as much as I used to with school stuff.

I feel quite lonely and cut off, and while in the past I’d be able to pop in to see my best friend or call my mum, that’s not possible any more. I feel like I have no one to confide in.

I want to sort my life out but I don’t know where to start.

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Coleen says

I think there’s a lot going on here, so don’t feel you have to sort out ­everything overnight – don’t put that pressure on yourself.

It’s enough to take baby steps, which will help you gain confidence and feel more positive about making more changes. Just because you’re married with kids and have lots of people around you, doesn’t mean you can’t feel lonely.

I’ve said this many times – an unhappy marriage can feel like the loneliest place to be. I think you do need to confront the problems in your relationship with your husband.

Do you want to stay in the marriage and try to rescue it, or do you want to leave? But coasting along feeling this unhappy isn’t going to change a thing.

You’ve stopped communicating with your husband, so start by telling him how you feel and open a dialogue about how you can move forward.

Maybe relationship therapy could help you decide what you want to do.

However, if he won’t agree to counselling with you, then go on your own.

Bereavement, job loss and not having your closest friend around are big things to deal with, and they’ve all happened in a short space of time.

It sounds as if you need to do more for yourself, so why not make a start by branching outside of your home life.

It could be anything at all – social groups, volunteering, a course, but something that gives you a boost and puts you in touch with new people.

If you set the wheels in motion, change will happen.

Good luck.

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