How the hell can a person
Go to work in the morning
And come home in the evening
And have nothing to say”
Angel From Montgomery, written by John Prine. Sung by Bonnie Raitt
So many people battle loneliness. Sometimes fights start just because a spouse is so darn lonely. Better to fight than to bear the silence.
Sometimes even fighting now takes too much energy for the person who, has, as Bonnie Raitt sings “ain’t done nothing since I woke up today...” She’s reminiscing, not about the good times she had in her relationship, but on the better times she imagined having with an old lover. She has re-written history, like a lot of despairing spouses. She hopes for an “angel,” any miracle: … ”that I can hold on to,” because she’s stopped embracing her “old man,” physically, emotionally or psychologically. She’s trying to forget how depressed she is, because “to believe in this livin’ is just a hard way to go.”
She has kept her dreams (“thunder”) and her passions (“desire”) but fears that if she were to have made these things real, they would have “burned down this old house a long time ago.” So she’ll settle for a poster of “an old rodeo” that reminds her of the one that got away.
How very sad. Loneliness is a sad state of affairs.
The song is full of the pathos I see in my office at the start of couples counseling.
For many of my clients, this loneliness drives them to extra-marital affairs. Or work-a-holism. Or to drinking or drugging. Affairs try to burn off this depression while keeping their families intact. However, when discovered, like lightening, it burns down the house. In overwork, the partner convinces themselves that they are really working for the family, but their reluctance to return home after the end of a long day tells a different story: they are in pain. Drinking and drugging are efforts to numb the pain, distract themselves from the reminders that, they too, are “another child that’s grown old…”
Don’t give up. Loneliness doesn’t have to have the last word.
You can re-direct that passion and desire, and share your dreams with your spouse, once again, instead of picking a fight or look fondly at “what might have been.”
Need one thing that you can hold on to? Try this:
Over 40 years of intensive research showing how people can improve their marriages, the skill and experience of a friendly group of experienced couples therapists who specializes in sex and couples therapy, and a belief that this living is something YOU deserve to get the best out of….
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Dr. K is the President and CEO of Couples Therapy Inc. She maintains her Intensive Couples Therapy practice on the edge of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts.