Before divorce, there is often misery. There is fighting, accompanied by the feeling that you cannot stand the sight of that person. And you desperately want to be free of the madness.
After divorce, there is quiet and loneliness. Footsteps echo on unfamiliar floors. Furniture and photos are missing. At times, the silence can be deafening.
Feelings of loneliness are normal when a partnership ends. While loneliness is a necessary step on your journey, it doesn’t have to be traumatic. Below are some tips to help you ease the discomfort and feel good again.
1. Embrace your solitude. Being alone can be hard, especially after spending years as an active wife and mother. While the time alone might be painful at first, it’s really a gift that can help you to heal. Use your time to rest and relax. Take bubble baths. Sleep late and take naps. Meditate or curl up with a book. Taking some time out will help you to stay calmer and more focused during the more stressful moments in your divorce. And there’s no better way to kick loneliness to the curb than to become comfortable spending time with yourself.
2. Express yourself. There are many options for you to explore and express your feelings. Some women keep a journal while others write blogs. Some draw or paint while others dance and sing. In whatever way is appropriate for you, set your feelings free and let your inner drama transform into something of outer beauty.
3. Make plans with friends or family. This one is a no-brainer, but it can be hard when everyone around you is comfortably going about their business. You might think others don’t have time to entertain you, but if you reach out you’ll find those who are willing to lift you up in your time of need. Then it’s time to fill your schedule. Plan to walk the dog with your sister or visit a craft fair with your mom. Go out for happy hour with your coworkers, hit the gym or schedule a manicure with a friend.
4. Step outside your comfort zone. Doing some of the same old activities with the same people might not be enough to overcome your loneliness. Sometimes those things can make you feel worse. In that case, you might need to step things up a notch. They say that “life begins outside your comfort zone.” So, consider doing something that terrifies you. Perhaps that means joining a book club or other social group. Or maybe it’s time to go bungee jumping, sky diving or parasailing.
5. Date yourself. If you’re comfortable being alone in your house, it’s time to practice being alone in public. Choose a movie you’re excited to see or a restaurant you want to try. Then dress up just as you would if you were spending the time with a potential suitor. When you arrive at your destination, keep your head up and smile at strangers. You should feel sexy and confident. Not everyone has the courage to step out alone. Don’t compare yourself to others or wish you had someone to talk to. Focus on the moment and savor the opportunity to do something you enjoy. If all goes according to plan, you’ll end up falling in love with yourself and these solo dates will become a regular occurrence that you look forward to.
Bonus: You might consider adding a pet to your family. However, this is a decision that should be thought through very carefully. Animals can be devoted companions through tough times, but they can also require a lot of time and money to care for. Our nation’s shelters are full of animals who outlived their novelty.
Loneliness is a common emotion for women as they navigate divorce. But you can turn the tables on misery if you use the discomfort to rebuild your social circles and make friends with yourself. Loneliness doesn’t have to consume you at a time when you can consume your new life.