12 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Lonely, According to Experts

You could say this world is more connected than it’s ever been.

Friends, family, and strangers who live miles apart can communicate instantly thanks to social media and email. Anyone can hop on a plane from New York City and reach Los Angeles in just hours. In large metropolitan melting pots across the globe, thousands of people from different countries and cultures mingle and break bread. It’s as if time and space is collapsing, bringing all sorts of people closer to one another.

Yet so many of us feel lonely and can’t seem to shake it.

Researchers claim that the U.S. is experiencing a “loneliness epidemic.” In a 2018 survey, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), experts discovered that about 22% of Americans say they constantly feel alone. Such prolonged feelings of isolation can come with serious health problems, both mental and physical. Feelings of isolation are often associated with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Doctors have also found that people who are lonely tend to have increased blood pressure, weaker immune systems, and more inflammation throughout the body.

Turns out, connectedness not only makes our lives more interesting, it’s vital for our own survival.

So what should you do when you’re feeling blue without anyone to lean on? Here’s what therapists, doctors, and researches say are some of the best strategies to cope with loneliness:

1. Name it. Validate it.

Telling other people you’re lonely can feel scary, shameful, and self-defeating. But expressing that feeling can be the beginning of releasing it.

“We tend to stigmatize loneliness in the U.S., equating it with being a loner or a loser,” says Kory Floyd, Professor of Communication and Psychology at the University of Arizona. “That stigma encourages us to avoid admitting when we’re lonely. Denying our loneliness only perpetuates it, so before we can recover, we have to be honest — at least with ourselves — about what we are experiencing.”

2. Take stock of connections you already have.

Sometimes when we are feeling lonely, we can’t see what’s right in front of us.

“Many of us get tunnel vision when it comes to affection and intimacy, in that we ‘count’ only certain behaviors while discounting others,” says Professor Floyd. “I might notice that my friends don’t tell me they love me, or don’t ‘like’ my social media posts, but I overlook the fact that they always volunteer to help when I have a home project to do. When people expand their definitions of affection and love to include a wider range of behaviors, they often discover that they aren’t as deprived as they originally thought.”

3. Recognize you are not alone (in feeling lonely).

If 22% of Americans constantly feel lonely, know that if you’re feeling isolated that you’re sharing the same experience with millions of other people.

“[When I’m lonely] I remind myself just how pervasive loneliness is and I imagine being connected to ‘all of the lonely people out there’. Sometimes I listen to Eleanor Rigby [by the Beatles] to hammer that point home,” says Megan Bruneau, psychotherapist and executive coach. “Loneliness is a healthy emotion, revealing places we yearn for connection.”

4. Get curious. Ask questions.

Recognize that loneliness looks different for people at different times of their lives, and that there are those who have many relationships, but still feel like something is missing. Ask yourself what loneliness looks like for you.

“It’s important to differentiate between situational loneliness and chronic loneliness,” says Bruneau. “Most people feel lonely from time to time, especially in today’s individualistic, independence-valuing, more-single-than-ever-culture. However, if I’m feeling loneliness more frequently than usual, I get curious about the shift. Has something changed in my relationships leading me to feel more disconnected? Have I been nurturing my current connections and creating opportunities for new ones that make me feel ‘seen’? Am I intentionally or accidentally isolating [myself]?”

Whether our loneliness is brief or chronic, questions like these can help direct us to the best way to cope, she suggests.

5. Take the time to slow down.

If you’re frequently busy, running around with your to-do list or feel stressed by all the meetings at work, it might be time to hit the breaks.

“Sometimes when people’s schedules are back-to-back for too long, they start disconnecting from themselves and other people,” says Judith Orloff MD, psychiatrist and author of Thriving as an Empath. “They get overwhelmed from overworking and too much stimulation. So the practice [then] is just to relax and do what their body needs.”

Perhaps that relaxing for you could mean listening to music, taking a bath, or just sitting with nothing to do and nowhere to be.

6. Reconnect with self-love and appreciation.

You can use alone time to get back in touch with you.

“You have to be your own best friend,” says Dr. Orloff. “I go to my sacred space and I meditate. I take a few deep breaths, relax, and ask worry, fear, and loneliness to lift so I can just be with myself.”

She recommends that those who are new to meditation can try to sit for three minutes and focus on something they find pleasing — like the ocean or dolphins — or any simple things they are grateful for. “Focusing on what you’re grateful for rather than what you don’t have shifts the negative thinking,” she says.

Being alone and strolling through nature can be meditative, too.

7. Perform anonymous acts of kindness …

… and recognize the kindness in others.

Sometimes when you feel alone, you might feel like isolating yourself from the world, which only continues the cycle of loneliness. In that case, finding a group of friends to hang out with or dropping into a large social scene can feel like a lot. So why not consider starting small?

“Go out into the world and notice a smile from the store clerk,” says Dr. Orloff. “Hold a door for somebody or do something nice for a stranger and then you start to get the endorphins and the oxytocin going in your body. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone. It’s what mother’s have when they give birth. So oxytocin is important.”

If you are feeling a bit more extroverted, you might even try starting conversations.

“Get out every day and have a conversation, face-to-face, with your neighbor, a friend, your grocer, the librarian — in short, any one whom you might meet regularly,” says Susan Pinker, psychologist and author of The Village Effect. This doesn’t have to be a close relationship. Research tells us that even weak bonds strengthen our immunity and well-being.”

8. Join a club.

Perhaps you are looking to develop more of those deep meaningful relationships. In that case, you might want to explore hobbies with other people to form bonds over common interests.

“This could be a class, a committee, or a volunteer group,” says Pinker. “Any activity that puts you in a social environment on a regular basis.”

Vibe with someone over your love for pottery at a local art class. Find a Meetup group of people who are just as obsessed with Game of Thrones as you are. Or maybe try something completely new, like goat yoga. You can have fun with this.

9. Put your hand over your heart.

Lack of physical connection can be the cause of loneliness. When we were babies, our bodies were trained to respond to physical touch as a form of communication and connection with our caregivers — especially when “goo goo gaga” didn’t quite cut it.

So, even if you don’t consider yourself a touchy-feely person, physical contact has always been at the center of feeling safe, secure, and cared for. But know that you don’t need a lover, a friend, or a massage therapist to give you a reassuring caress. Placing your hand over your heart could do it.

“Our bodies registers the care we give ourselves in a similar way that it registers the care we get from others through physical touch,” says Dr. Kristin Neff, associate professor at the University of Texas and author of Self-Compassion. “‘Supportive’ touch works with the person’s parasympathetic nervous system, which actually helps calm us down and reduces cortisol and releases oxytocin.”

Everyone, however, is different, Dr. Neff says. Some people prefer a hand on the stomach. Others prefer holding their face. Some love hugging themselves. If you’re by your lonesome, this could be a chance to figure out how to be your own buddy.

10. Create something.

Sketch. Paint. Knit. Anything to get your creative juices flowing.

“Creative arts have an extraordinary capacity to elevate and transcend our negative emotional experiences through self-expression, as well as to connect us more deeply and authentically with each other,” says Dr. Jeremy Nobel, MPH and the founder of The UnLonely Project.

One of Dr. Nobel’s favorite strategies is expressive writing. Jotting down thoughts and feelings you recognize others may be experiencing has a similar affect as, say, going to the movies. At the theatre you share a room with a group of people — perhaps strangers — who are all witnessing the same journey with you. Even if you don’t talk to anyone, you and the entire audience are connected through shared experience, Dr. Nobel explains. Mentally, the same thing happens when you write, even if you never share it with a soul. Although, sharing could be a healthy way to find connection among others.

11. Check your social media usage.

While the jury is still out on whether or not the rise of social media is driving loneliness and depression, it doesn’t hurt to reevaluate the effect it has on your life.

Are you using it to make meaningful connections? Are you spending too much time on it? Is it causing you to withdraw in unhelpful ways?

“If we feel dissatisfied with our face-to-face relationships, we [often] retreat into the world of social media, which only exacerbates the problem,” says Professor Floyd of the University of Arizona. “On social media, it seems as though everyone else has better jobs, better houses, better vacations, and better relationships than we do. That isn’t actually true, of course.”

If Instagram and Facebook are dragging you down, it might be time for a temporary screen detox.

12. Work with a mental health professional

Sometimes we need professional help to escape the dark thoughts keeping us in isolation.

“One of the most destructive effects of long-term loneliness is that it distorts our cognitions about ourselves,” says Professor Floyd. “We come to believe that if we are lonely, we deserve to be lonely and that no one will ever love us the way we want. Those thoughts in turn guide our actions in ways that end up keeping us lonely. Cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to bring our thoughts and behavior better in line with reality.”

If you’re struggling with loneliness, anxiety, or depression and need professional help, the American Psychological Association‘s Psychologist Locator tool can help you find a licensed therapist in your area that takes your insurance.

 

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Tales of Rock – How The Cars Upgraded Rock and Roll

The late singer Ric Ocasek conquered the mainstream with oddball energy and an understanding of how machines can amp emotions.

Ric Ocasek understood rock and roll as a machine, but he also knew it as a vessel for passion, mystery, and defiance.Michele Eve Sandberg/Invision/AP

A 1979 Rolling Stone feature on The Cars opened with an image from Ric Ocasek’s Ohio adolescence that seemed out of American Graffiti or some other idealization of post-World War II suburbia: a teenager souping up his dad’s car to race against his friends. In secret, Ocasek had tweaked the exhaust pipe of his family’s Mercury Comet so as to at least make a louder vroom, if not a faster ride. When his dad eventually found out, “there was hell to pay,” as Jon Pareles wrote. Of his then-livid father, Ocasek said, “he never understood why I did it.”

That story feels oddly resonant after Ocasek’s death at age 70-something (he long hid his birth date from the press). The grin-worthy yet heady music of The Cars partook of consummately American traditions while also rewiring them. Ocasek was a rule breaker, but a meticulous one. He understood rock and roll as a machine, but he also knew it as a vessel for passion, mystery, and defiance.

Formed in 1976 after Ocasek had organized and abandoned a series of less-successful projects, the Boston-based Cars arrived with a miracle of a debut single, “Just What I Needed,” which is still its signature song. “I guess you’re just what I needed—I needed someone to feed,” went Ocasek’s lyrics, subtly defacing a familiar love-song line with an ambivalent sneer, a move he’d repeat over the course of his career. The song’s guitar splatters conjured lineage stretching from Chuck Berry. But the cool blue tones of the keyboard and the precise tick-tock of the percussion also signaled a new era. Or rather a “new wave,” the term that would describe both the disaffected punk of the ’70s and the synth-powered dance tracks of the ’80s thanks to the bridge The Cars built.

The band served up an impressive number of hugely agreeable singalongs from the time of its 1978 debut album The Cars through 1987’s Door to Door, after which the band didn’t play together again for more than two decades. Its catalogue includes the clap-and-moan fun of “My Best Friend’s Girl,” the peppy MTV staples “Shake It Up” and “You Might Think,” and the reverberating, poignant ballad “Drive.” These are songs that everyone knows; they’re also templates for vast swaths of modern pop and rock. The New Pornographers owe Ocasek a debt, but so does Taylor Swift. It’s fitting that Ocasek served as an album producer for Weezer and No Doubt, two acts that were already zipping down a road that his band paved.

It’s also notable that Ocasek produced works by the band Suicide, whose diffident and experimental noise-pop never had a chance of approaching The Cars’s success. For all his mainstream appeal, Ocasek had an ear for the weird. His lyrics pushed pop’s frivolous clichés into droll jokes, as heard in the plodding, hypnotic title mantra of 1978’s “Good Times Roll.” He made no apologies for splicing electronic elements into guitar rock, even at a time when doing so was often written off as suspect and cheesy. In this, he presaged a lot about how popular music would move in the decades after his band’s debut. His fascination with then-novel sounds began in high school, when he’d spend hours in his family’s basement fiddling with keyboards.

This adventurous sonic sensibility matched his misfit persona. Writers tagged him as “impenetrable” or “dispassionate,” and he copped to being awkward. Though he wrote almost all of the band’s songs and was an arresting singer, he ceded lead vocal duties on some of the band’s biggest and flashiest songs to bassist the Benajamin Orr. He hated touring and spent decades avoiding it after the Cars’s breakup, and instead spent his time recording solo music, producing others’ albums, writing poetry, and painting. When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted The Cars in 2018, he rejoined the band for a performance that, he said, would be a fitting end to the group’s run. It did turn out to be Ocasek’s final show, capping a career that changed music by adhering to his own internal standard: “Success to me,” he had said in 1984, “is actually being able to write songs and like them when I finish them.”

 

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How To Tell If Your Girlfriend Is Cheating: 14 Signs Most Men Miss

When you meet the woman of your dreams, the last thing you are thinking about is what happens if she cheats on you.

Typically, people come together with a common goal of sharing their lives, but sometimes, for reasons people don’t always understand, one partner strays from the other.

Why is it easier to cheat than to just break up and start clean? Nobody really knows, but it is common enough that the other partner is left wondering what happened and if it’s really true.

It is common for the other partner to get a sense that something is wrong long before they know that their partner is cheating, but it’s difficult to confirm without actually coming out and asking!

Here are seven ways to tell she’s cheating on you.

1) She seems distracted.

Your once attentive girlfriend barely seems to look you in the eye these days. You find yourself repeating things to her because she’s not listening.

It’s hard for her to stay in the conversation and she is always looking over your shoulder. If she’s cheating on you, you’ll find that she has disconnected from your relationship in many ways.

According to family therapist David Klow, “if your partner’s actions start changing, then it might be a sign of infidelity.”

This is not to protect you, but to keep her from feeling guilty when she finally breaks things off with you: if she’s pushed you away already, it will be easier for her to say goodbye.

Or, if she decides she doesn’t have the guts to leave, pushing you away makes it easier for you to call things off. She’s pushing you away for a reason.

2) She’s dressing differently.

If your girlfriend suddenly cares about her appearance again after years of just bumming around in a t-shirt and jeans, lazing on the couch with her hair in a messy bun, and not putting much effort into a night out, something is definitely wrong.

Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor and co-owner of Double Trust Dating, says that if your partner has had the same haircut for a long time but suddenly has a bold new haircut “this could indicate an effort to impress another person.”

According to Dr. Phillips in us, you may also want to have a look for a change in their grooming habits:

“If your partner comes home and jumps right into a long shower, they may be washing away any evidence of cheating.”

Sure, it might be that she is finding her confidence in herself again – or for the first time ever – but there might be a different reason for the change.

If you suspect it’s because she is seeing someone else and wants to look good for them, you may be right.

Change begets change and if she is running around on you, she might put a lot of effort into her appearance so she can be attractive to her new man.

3) She doesn’t invite you out with her friends.

One sign that your girlfriend might be cheating on you is if she is suddenly spending more time with friends, but leaving you at home.

If she isn’t inviting you out or is insisting that you stay home and watch the game, you might be right to be concerned.

According to Robert Weiss Ph.D., her friends be may be uncomfortable around you because they know what’s going on:

“The cheater’s friends often know about the infidelity right from the start, and your own friends are likely to find out long before you do. This knowledge typically causes these individuals to feel uncomfortable around you.”

She’s not giving you all the details about the get together either: not sure who will be there, not sure what time she’ll be home, not sure what the plan is.

These are all signs that she is trying to play innocent and hide her affair.

If you insist on going, she’ll get mad. It’s easier for her to keep you away from what’s really going on.

4) She has started to talk about the future in a different way.

If she used to talk about the future and use the word, “we”, but now talks about things she wants to do alone, that’s not good.

Even if she tells you that she didn’t mean to be selfish about her plans, be wary that she may just be covering her tracks.

According to clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula in Oprah Magazine, “A major commitment makes it more difficult to pull out of a relationship quickly.”

If she isn’t including you in her plans, there’s a good reason for that. Part of the trouble with suspecting that someone is cheating on you is that your partner may be very good at explaining away why things are the way they are.

If you aren’t vigilant with your relationship, it may just walk right out the door without you.

5) She pays a lot of attention to her phone.

Sure, everyone pays a lot of attention to their phones these days, but if she is choosing to scroll through social media or respond to text messages instead of talking to you, you would be right to question her motives.

According to counselor and therapist, Dr. Tracey Phillips, hiding things from you on their phone may be a sign of cheating:

“They could be trying to avoid receiving any questionable calls or texts in your presence.”

It could be that she doesn’t even realize she is doing it, but if she is having an affair, you can bet that she will get defensive and insulted by the assumption that she is doing anything other than updating her latest selfie pic.

Psychologist Weiss explains the possible scenarios in Psychology Today:

“Cheaters tend to use their phones and computers more frequently than before and to guard them as if their lives depend on it.

If your partner’s phone and laptop never required a password before, and now they do, that’s not a good sign. Your partner suddenly starts deleting texts and clearing their browser history on a daily basis, that’s not a good sign.

If your partner never relinquishes possession of their phone, even taking it into the bathroom when they shower, that’s not a good sign.

6) She’s not interested in getting physical anymore.

A roll in the sheets used to be a regular occurrence in your relationship, but lately, you feel like it’s getting more difficult to get her interested in sex. This can be a sign of infidelity.

Sex expert Robert Weiss explains why:

“Both decreased and increased levels of sexual activity in your relationship can be a sign of infidelity. Less sex occurs because your partner is focused on someone else; more sex occurs because they are trying to cover that up.”

Relationships have their ups and downs, but if you feel like she is pulling away from you and not wanting to be intimate, there’s a reason.

Body language expert Patti Wood, says:

“What you’re generally looking for is a shift from normal behavior. So, if they used to kiss you all the time and suddenly that behavior disappears it’s a shift from the baseline.”

It’s a good idea to talk to her about your concerns with physical intimacy and ask her what’s going on.

You’ll be able to tell whether or not she’s cheating on you by her response: she’ll either tell you that she’s having a hard time right now or something to that effect, or she’ll get angry that you bring it up at all and not want to talk about it.

Also, according to relationship and betrayal trauma-focused life coach, Karina Wallace you may also notice a drop in public displays of affection:

“If they do not hold your hand when they usually do or would usually invite you out but no longer do, they may be pulling away emotionally and physically.”

7) She’s too busy for you.

If she’s got a full plate and no room for you to spend any time together, but you used to spend all the time together, something is wrong.

According to relationship and betrayal trauma-focused life coach, Karina Wallace:

“They may play it off as just a preference but if you have been together a long time and this is not normal then its something to pay attention to…It alone is not saying they are cheating, but it can be a good indicator if there are a few things changing concurrently.”

She may even be too busy to talk with you properly.

People who might be cheating “tend to engage in sins of omission,” psychologist Ramani Durvasula says. “They operate on a ‘need to know’ basis, which is not healthy for a relationship.”

8) She doesn’t make time for you anymore.

What was once an intimate and fun relationship is suddenly so cold you need a sweater. If your girlfriend isn’t looking to spend time with you or asking you about your schedule, it might be because she is filling her days up with the company of others.

According to Robert Weiss Ph.D., MSW in Psychology Today:

“Flat tires, dead batteries, traffic jams, spending extra time at the gym, and similar excuses for being late or absent altogether might also signal infidelity.”

When you ask for some of her time, she may get angry and call you needy. Of course, it’s just her defenses to keep you at bay.

Also, according to Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D. in Oprah Magazine, if they stop sharing about their day or their whereabouts, something may be up:

“The most interesting aspects of their day may relate to their new flirtation…This can be more devastating than sexual infidelity as it implies the intimacy of day-to-day life is now being shared with someone new.”

While she doesn’t want to be with you, she also doesn’t want to hurt you and so that comes out all wrong and leaves the two of you feeling even further apart.

9) She won’t accept your marriage proposal.

You love her. You thought she loved you. You proposed and it was a hard no on her end. While you may be shocked by her response and certainly feeling rejected, there may be bigger reasons for that.

According to Everyday Health if a person had doubts about moving in or getting married, it could be a sign of cheating.

Maria Bustillos, author of Act Like a Gentlemen, Think Like a Woman, says someone who is not invested in the relationship, may always be looking for an exit, making them more likely to not commit.

If she’s cheating, she doesn’t see the point of getting married. Why she doesn’t just break things off with you is another issue altogether.

You may have to consider the point of carrying on in the relationship if you want to be married and she doesn’t.

And anyway, perhaps you don’t want to marry her if she’s been cheating.

According to therapist Kurt Smith in Huffington Post:

“While I disagree with the saying, ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater,’ there are always some significant mindset and behavior changes necessary to prevent this behavior from repeating…These new changes should be proven before getting married.”

10) She is talking about “her” future.

When you talk about the future, you notice that her use of the word “we” is inexplicably missing. She may laugh about it and say that she means the two of you, but people who are in love include one another in their plans.

According to Yvonne Filler, who runs The Affair Clinic in London:

“A couple we’ve been seeing for a few months explained the affair was suspected when the man kept making excuses not to discuss future plans.

“His wife found he wouldn’t commit to the big things like the loft conversion but also wouldn’t pay up front for holidays.”

In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways for you to tell that someone loves you before they say it: if they include you in their future plans.

11) You’ve caught her telling lies.

It might be hard to trust her anyway if you have already caught her telling you lies about who she is with, or where she has been.

“The human body is amazing in its capacity for discerning the truth in others,” certified coach, Shirley Arteaga says.

“There are usually signs of a cheating partner, and if you trust your gut, you will be able to learn the answer quickly.”

For whatever reason, women try to hide these mistakes instead of just owning them. Although, men do the same.

People don’t want to be exposed as liars and sometimes it’s just more comfortable to continue the ruse.

12) She doesn’t tell you where she’s going.

She’s all dolled up and ready to hit the town, but you have no idea who she is going with and she just brushes it off with a short answer like “just a few friends.”

It’s not that you need to know her every move, but it is common to ask questions and have an interest in what your girlfriend is doing.

Psychologist Paul Coleman, PsyD, says to Prevention that “someone who must ‘work late’ all of a sudden at times that go beyond a reasonable explanation may be cheating.”

If she used to tell you but now she is keeping you in the dark, she may be cheating on you.

13) She gets mad when you ask questions.

If you have gotten to the point of frustration and feel like you need to talk to her about what is going on, she’ll be angry when you start asking questions if she is cheating on you.

Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells us, that unexplained mood swings could be a sign of cheating.

Or, if she is even thinking about it, she’ll lash out at you and somehow make it your fault that you would even ask those questions.

According to Robert Weiss Ph.D., MSW in Psychology Today, she may be pushing the blame onto you:

“Cheaters tend to rationalize their behavior (in their own minds). One way they do this is to push the blame onto you.

“Often, their internal justifications for cheating leak out, and they behave judgmentally toward you and your relationship. If it suddenly seems like nothing you do is right, or that things that used to not bother your partner suddenly do, or as if you’re getting pushed away, that could be a strong indication of cheating.”

People who are lying and trying to hide the truth will go to great lengths to keep themselves and their integrity safe. It’s not personal. It’s about their inability to face the truth.

14) She’s on edge all the time.

Even if you are just hanging out, she seems cranky or nervous. She might be having major feelings of guilt about her actions and she will project those feelings onto and try to make you feel bad for the way you are.

According to Lillian Glass, Ph.D. in Oprah Magazine, you can tell if your partner is hiding something if “they are rocking back and forth” when they are chatting with you.

This shows a sign of nervousness.

It’s a defense mechanism that many people employ to protect themselves and the other person.

Despite cheating on you, she still cares enough to try to protect you from what is really going on.

In Conclusion

In going through the above signs, it’s important to recognize that “your significant other could display all…these signs and still not be cheating”, according to Robert Weiss Ph.D., MSW in Psychology Today.

“It might not be cheating, but there is almost certainly something that you and your significant other to talk about.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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If Your Partner Says They Don’t Love You, Here’s What It Really Means

People can say things they don’t mean when they’re angry, hurt, or stressed. Sometimes you can be understanding and just let it slide. But if you’re in the middle of a fight and your partner says something hurtful like, “I don’t love you,” that’s not something you can easily shake off. Chances are, their words will linger in the back of your mind long after they’ve apologized. So what does it actually mean if your partner says they don’t love you when they’re angry?

“This is something that comes up quite often,” Linda Stiles, LSCSW, a counselor who specializes in marriage and relationships, tells us. “People do say things they don’t mean when they’re triggered, emotional, or upset. While it’s not something to write off, it’s likely that the hurtful words are not just what they seem.”

For instance, when one partner says hurtful things in the heat of the moment, they may be trying to get the other to understand their feelings. They could be feeling hurt, sad, lonely, or powerless. While it’s really not a good reason to say mean things, that’s just their way of expressing themselves.

According to Stiles, think of it like a child saying “I hate you” to their parents. “The child doesn’t really mean that; it’s just a way of expressing strong emotions in the moment,” she says. “Sometimes this reflects behavior and emotional coping patterns that were modeled in our family of origin. But there are many other factors to consider.”

So here are some other things it could mean if your partner says they don’t love you when they’re angry, according to experts.

1. They’re Hurt By Something You Did

WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

“When people say things such as ‘I don’t love you’ that could be a way to unleash the hurt that they are experiencing in the moment and say it as a way to get back at their partner so that they can also hurt,” Candice Cooper-Lovett, PhD, licensed marriage and family therapist, and owner of A New Creation Psychotherapy Services, LLC, tells us.

According to her, it’s a method of fighting that’s ineffective and unhealthy. More often than not, you end up coming out of it more wounded than you were before. The best thing to do in this situation is to take a break from the argument and gather your thoughts. When you’re both cooled off, Cooper-Lovett says it’s important to have a conversation about what they really meant when they said they didn’t love you.

2. They’re Frustrated By Something In The Relationship

It’s painful to hear that your partner doesn’t love you, even in a moment of anger. But as Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, licensed clinical professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship Therapist, tells Bustle, try as much as you can to take it with a grain of salt. “When we’re angry or reactive, we leave our rational brain and are in survival mode,” Slatkin says. “Even though we may be extremely frustrated with the relationship, it may come out harsher than we intend.” It’s important to remember that feelings come and go. There may be some moments when you don’t even like your partner. But as Slatkin says, “That doesn’t necessarily define our true feelings.” When things are calmer, tell your partner how their comment made you feel. If they look genuinely remorseful and they appologize, accept it. Chances are, they mean it.

3. They’re Emotionally Immature

fizkes/Shutterstock

When your partner says they don’t love you, it can be a sign that they’re emotionally immature. As Lesli Doares, couples consultant and coach, tells us, “They don’t know how to handle their emotions, so they give themselves permission to lash out. This is true of name calling and any other hurtful things they express when upset.”

If this is the case, they likely developed a pattern and do this consistently. The reality is, you can only be understanding for so long. As Doares says, “It’s perfectly acceptable to request that your partner alter how they act when they’re upset.”

It’s also helpful to learn their triggers and try to avoid “emotionally charged interactions” as much as you can. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid arguing at all. You just need to be more mindful when you’re in the middle of a fight. If you feel like it’s becoming too intense, it’s OK to take a step back, cool off, and then finish your discussion later.

4. They May Be Toxic

If your partner says mean things to you when they’re angry, take note of how often this happens. As Christine Scott-Hudson, marriage and family therapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells us, you may be dealing with a toxic situation. “Verbal abuse is a repeating pattern of verbal attacks towards another person, including criticisms, insults, derogatory comments, sarcasm, and put-downs that systematically harms the recipient,” she says.

Your partner repeatedly telling you that they don’t love you, may be a form of emotional abuse. An emotional manipulator may even use this phrase as a way to control you and get you to do what they want. So it’s important to be very aware of what you’re dealing with. “The red flags you ignore in the beginning of your relationship will be the reasons for your relationship’s downfall,” Scott-Hudson says. “If your partner is verbally, emotionally, or physically abusive, do not ignore the signs. You can’t love them hard enough to change them.” You may want to consider looking for help.

5. They Really Don’t Love You Anymore

conflict and emotional stress in young people couple relationship outdoors

Shutterstock

“A lot of times anger can be dangerous in relationships because we’re acting on impulse,” Cooper-Lovett says. So if your partner says they no longer love you or they want to break up during every bad fight, that should be cause for concern.

At this point it’s become a pattern and it’s hard to believe that there isn’t any truth to it. Your partner may be afraid to say it, so they bottle it up and only let it out when they’re mad. If this is the case, you have to make a decision about what you want to do. As Cooper-Lovett says, “If the person you’re with doesn’t love you or says it in moments of anger, my belief is that in anger we speak the truth and it’s hard to take words back.”

If you’ve talked about it before and nothing has changed, you may want to consider asking for help. A couples therapist can help your partner deal with their feelings in a healthy way or help you figure out where the “I don’t love you” actually comes from.

Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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Iris – Happy Birthday, Papa Squirrel

You can read Tuesday’s post about Iris here:

https://phicklephilly.com/?p=65472

I woke up on Sunday. It was my 58th birthday. I was alone.

I knew I’d be alone, because I was supposed to have dinner with my friend Sabrina but she was having car troubles and couldn’t get down here. I’ll be writing about her in an upcoming post. Sabrina has several chapters from a couple of years ago. You can search for her in the Search bar and you can read them all. Interesting stuff. But we’ll get to her next week.

My daughter had left me a card in a sealed envelope and a candle before she left for the weekend to go to a music festival with her boyfriend. She left the envelope on Thursday night before she left and I told her I wouldn’t open it until Sunday. I did wait and there was a lovely gift and sentiment from her. I’m surprised and grateful! Thank you Lorelei!

Before she left, she said that Iris had left something here and that she may swing by over the weekend to pick it up. She told me she had given my cell to Iris and I may be getting a call or a text, if or when she was going to come get the article.

“I told Iris I was leaving Friday to go away with Neil, so she knows that if she didn’t come early I’d be gone and she could maybe get it this weekend from you.”

“I’ll be here. I’m not going anywhere.”

I went to my favorite breakfast spot and picked up my bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and headed back home. I just figured I’d spend another quiet day at home working on my next book, Below the Wheel.

Frankly, I was amazed at the outpouring of love in the form of texts and messages on social media. Family, friends, former band mates from two different bands, former co-workers… it was amazing. You know, you get older and are locked up for four months and you think you’re basically forgotten by everyone. But apparently not yet. I’m really grateful for all the birthday wishes I got from so many. Thank you! I was trying to write a piece about a bar band I loved as a teen and was interrupted so many times from well wishers I simply gave up writing it. (If you’re reading this, it’s already been published and it kicks ass!)

The Dead End Kids

At some point early in the afternoon I was doing what I do everyday. Typing away. It’s a grind, but these books aren’t going to write themselves. I got a text on Instagram from Iris. “I’m coming to Philly today. I left my wax there, so I might stop by to pick it up and say hello to my Faja!!”

“Please do. Lorelei told me she gave you my cell and that you may be swinging by.”

“Yay!”

There was some more chatter and somehow the subject of fruit came up. She went on to explain to me that banana flavoring is lost to world now. “The original bananas grown back in the day taste totally different than the GMO produced now.”

“Really? Like real bananas don’t taste like the bananas from 40 years ago?”

“We used to get our bananas from Central America and South America but there’s a certain type of disease that prevented them from shipping successfully so they grew something called a Cavendish which is a type of banana strain resistant to the Panama disease.”

“Mind. Blown.”

“When I learned this, my heart broke. All faith in humanity disappeared.”

“I love bananas, but now it’s got me thinking. Anyway, how are you getting to Philly?”

“I’m going to Uber. I got some credits.”

Wanna go somewhere and get food?”

“Yea!! I can just Uber to you and have my friend pick me up after you and I eat! She’s cleaning her place and whatnot since her man child left for a week to go to Texas for some stupid social media influencer garbage lol.”

“Okay. Sounds good. When are you coming?”

I’m ordering an Uber now!”

So some time later Iris arrives at the Squirrel House as planned. She got stuck outside at first because in the hot weather the front door swells and is hard to open. I run downstairs and let her in. I’m happy to see her.

When we get up to the apartment she drops the bag she packed, because I’m assuming she’s staying over at her friend Allie’s house for the next couple of days. We get ready and head out. Since it’s my birthday, I’m happy I have someone to celebrate it with. The last good birthday I had was when two of my friends set up a little party for me at the Ritz Carlton a few years ago.

Since this was our very first outing together I wanted it to be special, so I suggested we go to Parc for brunch. It’s one of the nicest restaurants in the city and everybody goes there to see and be seen. We get there and I ask the hostess what the wait is. They tell me an hour and a half. Screw that. I hate Parc anyway and all the people who go there. Iris heard some older woman make some sort of a sugar daddy comment. I didn’t hear it, But Iris told me. As we walked away from the place I told her about how Parc, Devon and especially Rouge, (Three restaurants in a row on Rittenhouse square) are all notorious for sugar babies and pros. I told her how an any given night you can see a guy 10 to 20 years older than me sitting at one of the outside tables with someone he obviously paid for. It’s kind of pathetic. Men with real game don’t need to pay for companionship. Companions find them and want their presence. (Thank you, father.)

We’re walking and I’m doing my nervous talking things and telling her some story about wherever we are. I think it was about on of my ex-girlfriends, Annabelle. We happened to be walking by what was once the bar where she worked and where I had met her. But I digress…

I suggest my new hangout, Lou Birds. Iris is down for that and off we go. We walk through the park and it’s a lovely day to be out. I’m happy my birthday has taken this unexpected yet pleasant turn.

We get there and there’s plenty of tables. She lets me pick and I go for the one all the way down on the end in the shade. Incidentally, it’s the table I sat at alone when I finished writing Angel with a Broken Wing. I had my celebratory Manhattan at that very table for the very first time after two and a half months of quarantine.

Our girl Jade the server swings by, (I guess Sarah had the day off) and brings to cups and a big bottle of water. I love that. Gotta stay hydrated on a hot day in August especially when you’re going to have a drink or two. She offers us a choice of several beverages but mentions they have a couple of frozen specials, so Iris goes with the Froze’ (Think, Rose’ wine slurpee) and I go with the lemon and vodka frozen drink.

A cool thing that has risen out of the pandemic is the elimination of paper menus. There is a barcode thingee stuck to the corner of the tabletop. Iris instructs me on how to simply open the camera on my phone, and hold it over the thing. The menu appears in my phone like magic! I think that’s so cool! Technology!

I haven’t had a burger in over five months, so I go with a bacon cheeseburger with fries. They even put an onion ring on that bad boy! Iris went with the lobster mac ‘n cheese. Good call, lady!

Delish! She let me try a spoonful of her mac and of course I let her take a queen sized bite out of my burger. The food’s great! That’s the first time I’ve ever eaten there. Well done, Lou Bird’s! Iris took all the food porn photos and a few selfies to document the event.

We loved our brunch and the conversation was lively. You never know how these things will go, but it was a lovely afternoon. We even ordered another round, and she tried the lemon vodka thing I had and she loved it!

So despite the warnings from my comrades who aren’t parents, I was right along. Something is only weird or wrong in the minds of others. I’ve never let other people’s hangups or fear direct my will. Why change now? If you’re not doing anything wrong and your heart’s pure, you have nothing to worry about. If somebody doesn’t like it or thinks it’s wrong, that’s their trip, not mine. I knew everything would be fine with me spending time with my adopted squirrel!

Iris is a lovely young woman and full of life. She has a great mind and a razor sharp sense of humor. I can see why my daughter loves her. Simply put… Iris rocks.

I paid the bill and was happy to do so. (She kicked in for the tip!) I was honored that Iris chose to spend the afternoon with me.

We headed back to the house and she got her stuff together. We just chilled for a bit to cool off in the A/C but she had to get going and meet with her friend, who was probably waiting for her.

I bid this fair maiden farewell and wished her safe passage on her next adventure. She made my birthday extra special and perfect. What began as a quiet day alone became an afternoon of fun, frolic and frivolity!

Thank you Iris for making my birthday great! See you soon.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly