Kira Asatryan is a certified relationship coach and author of Stop Being Lonely: Three Simple Steps to Developing Close Friendships and Deep Relationships. She talks to us at Marriage.com about her book, he views on closeness and doles some advice on how to stay happy.
Marriage.com: Tell us a bit about yourself and your book Stop Being Lonely: Three Simple Steps to Developing Close Friendships
Kira Asatryan: I’m a certified relationship coach who works primarily with couples. My intention when writing Stop Being Lonely was to simply answer some of the questions that had always bothered me in my own social life. Namely, I always wondered: Why did some of my relationships feel closer than others? Why did I walk away from some interactions feeling less lonely, and from others feeling more lonely?
As I discovered through much research and self-reflection, the answer was that some of my relationships had more closeness in them – and this vital ingredient made the relationship feel good. “Closeness,” as I define it, is the experience of feeling understood (through the act of “knowing”) and valued (through the act of “caring”).
Marriage.com: What are your views on marital loneliness? What should couples do to overcome this issue?
Kira Asatryan: When a partner is lonely in a marriage, it’s for a lack of closeness. It means that the two people in the marriage either don’t understand each other very well (they don’t understand each other’s’ values, needs, dreams, fears, etc.) or they are not showing sufficient caring (as evidenced by: interest in the other person, engagement with them, investment in their well-being, and demonstrating affection and support). The first step, I’d say, to overcoming marital loneliness is to determine if the lack of closeness is more on the “knowing” side or the “caring” side.
Marriage.com: What advice would you give to people to build fulfilling and deep connections in all areas of their lives?
Kira Asatryan: The first step to building fulfilling and deep connections in all areas of one’s life is to determine who in your life would make a good “closeness partner.” Often this is one’s spouse, but it can also be a family member, a friend, or one can build multiple close relationships. A good “closeness partner” would be someone who seems interested in getting closer to you as well, is able to share personal information about themselves, is able to listen and retain information about you, and is fluent enough in emotions to give and receive care.
Marriage.com: What should be done if one wants to cultivate closeness but the other pulls away? How does one deal with the hurt and trauma?
Kira Asatryan: This is a great question!
When you start to sense that someone is pulling away from you, you naturally tend to feel confused and wonder what’s really going on. The first thing to do is not get into panic mode. It can worsen the situation for many reasons. First, it may cause you to behave in a manner that is seemingly irrational and put you in a position to potentially do more harm to the relationship than good. Second, by behaving the way you do, your partner gets the opportunity to dismiss your concerns and brand you as ‘’çrazy’’. Focus on the reality and understand how you’ve interpreted what they did.
Give that person some time and be prepared for their justifications. In the end, if they still continue to avoid you, it’s quite possible that the relationship is coming to an end. During this heartbreaking time, take comfort in the knowledge that you handled the situation very well at least.
Marriage.com: What’s that one piece of advice you’d give to everyone to stay happy?
Kira Asatryan: If you’re struggling with loneliness or feeling down from a lack of fulfilling relationships in your life, the first thing I would suggest is to stop blaming yourself. There are lots of environmental reasons why relationships are harder these days than they have been in the past (technology, living arrangements, etc.), and blaming yourself (“I’m too shy,” “I need to try harder,” etc.) will only keep you in an unhappy place. Instead, believe that you are a precious human being who’s deserving of love and closeness, and that loneliness is a problem outside of you that can be thoroughly eliminated. Stop Being Lonely will show you how to do this.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.