Pitfalls of Trying to Fill the Void Within

Roberta Gallagher Miami's relationship coach and couples counselor

A common mistake people make is thinking another person will complete them.

You feel a void in your life and fill it with the wrong kind of relationships. You may bounce from one relationship to another, looking for someone to make you happy, but never connect.

Love can definitely make life more full, but as a couple's counselor, I can tell you the wrong kind of relationship can exacerbate the problem.

Even if you are with someone who can be a good partner, you can't be because you are looking for him / her to fill the void.

With each relationship that didn't work out, you thought it was just further proof that you were unworthy of love.

When those relationships didn't work out, you numbed yourself further with other distractions, trying to fill the void -- whether it's with drinking, drugs, or overspending.

Those work temporarily, but the void returns.

Several issues are at work here. You may either feel like you are dead inside and nothing interests you, not even hobbies and activities you previously enjoyed. You can't find the joy in things that are pleasing. Or, you may just feel numb and unable to connect with your partner.

He may suggest going something, like a vacation, and you have no interest in it whatsoever. You don't even know what is wrong -- just that something is.

It's hard to know the causes of feeling empty because each person is unique. But the emptiness is very isolating. You feel like it won't go away and nothing you do makes it any better.

It could be a matter of needing to work on how to make and maintain close, intimate relationships. It may stem from something that happened when you were a child. Or, possibly, it is something else that we need to get to the root of.

Lori had feelings of emptiness following her divorce a few years ago. She found herself not caring about hobbies and activities she previously enjoyed. She worked, came home, and repeated the routine over each day. Lori not only felt numb inside, she was incredibly lonely, because all of her friends were married and she didn't want to feel like the 'odd man out' if she visited them.

To try to make herself feel better, Lori started shopping. She found 'retail therapy' to give her a rush of happiness when she spent money, and she enjoyed the attention she received from the sales clerks.

Soon, she would visit the stores frequently, racking up immense debt, and buying things she didn't need. Her apartment looked like she was a hoarder. The shopping filled the emptiness temporarily but the feeling returned by the time she was trying to find a place to put her latest purchases. She was left with regret along with the feeling of emptiness.

On the other hand, John's feeling of emptiness have haunted him as long as he can remember.

He didn't know what caused it, but no matter how ordered his life was on the outside, he still felt empty. He was a successful professional, married to a beautiful wife with two beautiful kids -- they even literally had the white picket fence.

But despite the perfectness of his life, John was a habitual adulterer. He cheated on his wife several times, trying to fill that void, trying to find someone who would make him feel whole, and give him the feeling he was seeking. He wasn't even sure what that feeling was, other than he'd know it when he found it.

His marriage was put in jeopardy because he couldn't stop trying to fill that sexual void. After he cheated with his daughter's teacher, his wife couldn't take the betrayal anymore and filed for divorced. He ended up hurting his wife, and the women he had the affairs with, all because he was trying to overcome his emptiness.

As you can see, emptiness manifests in many different ways. While I normally talk about couples in my blog, this is an important topic because couples are made up of two individuals.

If you are trying to have a healthy relationship but are dealing with these feelings of emptiness, we can work on just you so you will be ready for a successful relationship.

Let's get started today

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#selfesteem #expectations #counseling #individualtherapy #marriage

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