Loneliness After Divorce

Submitted By Benjamin Yates:

The hardest thing to bear

Perhaps the hardest thing to bear after a long relationship breaks up is the loneliness. In a sense, this is natural. You have spent years living with, and sharing your life alongside, another person. (Remember you probably felt lonely towards the end of your relationship). Feeling lonely is often not so much about being physically alone, but about the lack of regular emotional support you have come to expect. Even if you didn’t receive that much support, there would have been some.

Acceptance

Accept that it is perfectly normal to feel scared, it’s difficult to step through the door but each time you do it, it will become easier and you will feel stronger.

I haven’t lived on my own for 25 years. How will I bear the loneliness?

Use the support of friends, relatives and work mates to help you feel you can spend time with others. I also suggest you think about time alone as solitude, rather than loneliness. Solitude can help people to reflect and switch off the cares of the world and you will need this even though you may not have wanted to live alone.

I am a 41 year old man and I find it difficult to go into a pub and drink by myself. It makes me feel very alone. Is this unnatural?

I think its perfectly understandable. Maybe you see a pub as a social environment and currently feel excluded from participating. If you feel uncomfortable try other activities which will keep you more occupied. If you really feel like a drink take a newspaper or book. But remember if you want to start a conversation, its down to you – what have you got to lose? Remember, people living alone will constitute 40% of our population in a few years, so although you’re alone, you’re not alone, if you get my meaning.

How can I learn to enjoy my own company?

It will happen naturally, so don’t try to force it. Think of the things you enjoy doing and start to appreciate having the opportunity to do these things. Keep to a simple routine and try to arrange your time so that you have a balance of time spent with others and time spent by yourself. Set yourself a goal: learn to be happy as a single person before you become coupled again.

Why is it important to spend time alone when it is so hard to bear?

There is an ancient eastern saying: Through the Gateway of feeling your loneliness, lies your capacity to have fulfillment, love and companionship!

You need to learn to be able to face solitude and not feel frightened. When you are not fearful of being alone, you will be able to make friendships which are based on strong foundations and not a desire to escape from you.

Next Steps

  • Take up friends’ and family’s offers of company
  • Keep up a simple routine
  • Use your time alone constructively
  • Do something you enjoy in your own time – even if it is difficult to enjoy at the moment
  • Consider making new friends.

Need to Knows

  • Loneliness is one of the hardest thing to bear
  • Loneliness is not just about being physically alone, it is the emotional support you will miss most
  • Learn to enjoy your own company, it can be very enjoyable
  • Think of this time as solitude, rather than loneliness
  • Friends and family want to help you feel less lonely.

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