Looking after number 1
First things first: The key to learning how to enjoy being single again after the devastating emotional upheaval that accompanies any break-up is to look after yourself emotionally at this difficult time.
How does it feel?
It is possible to get to the point where you love being single. But it’s unrealistic to expect you’ll love being single straight away. Or even all the time.
Looking after yourself emotionally means accepting that in any post-divorce period you are going to have strong feelings – of anger, sadness, regret. Accept these strong feelings – talk about them, write them down – they will go away more quickly.
Repressed emotions have a nasty habit of surfacing in unexpected ways. You wake up one day so depressed, you can’t get out of bed, or you burst into tears at work, or you drive like a maniac.
Be as positive as possible. This means consciously thinking about the good things about being single. And there are many!
The best things about being single again
Like the freedom to do what you want, whenever you want, without someone saying, ‘You want to do whaaat?!!’. If you’ve always fancied learning French, or travelling solo, now is the time to do it. As with anything, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.
And, yes, some of it might be scary. It’s scary starting an evening school class or arranging a holiday alone, but anyone who tries it says the pay-off is oodles of extra confidence, knowing you can tackle these things for yourself.
The focus is on you
Relationships with other people take up enormous amounts of time and energy. Especially if your relationship was deteriorating at the end, you’re likely to have spent stacks of emotional energy wondering: Why is she doing that? Why has she got that funny look on their face? And so on.
Now you can concentrate on the one person who really matters: you. Guys who fared best were those who didn’t regard being single as a ‘gap’ in their lives between more worthwhile experiences. Instead, they saw it as an important time in its own right when they could rediscover themselves.
The new you
To be sure, you will have changed. With every relationship, you won’t be quite the same person you were before. Your values, desires, dreams… will be different. It’s fun – and valuable – to find out who you are now: what you want, what you like, how you want to spend your time.
You can devote more time to friendship
You need to consciously create a support network to talk out your feelings on divorce and separation. Cultivate single friends you can share experiences with and who can support you when the world seems to be filled with cosy couples!
Isn’t it dangerous to live alone?
Not if your home is secure. The average burglary takes place on weekday afternoons, so avoid buying/renting vulnerable ground floor or basement flats if you can.
I can’t cook – how will I eat?
Buy an easy recipe book on quick meals – it’s not as difficult as you think and can be an enjoyable, therapeutic activity. Supermarkets stock an excellent range of ready-cook chilled meals needing only to be heated up in an oven or microwave. Invite a friend round occasionally to cook and share supper with wine, for which you pay. Takeaways work out less expensive if you cook the accompanying potato or rice yourself.
What if my finances get in a muddle?
Consult an independent financial adviser. Make an appointment with your bank manager to discuss your affairs.
- Allow yourself to go through the whole gamut of feelings and really nurture yourself by accepting them in a positive frame of mind.
- Find new hobbies through which you can learn to express the ‘real’ you. It’s a way of meeting – and making – like-minded friends too.
- Join or create a single posse – a gang of same-sex friends you can go out with and enjoy sharing new experiences.
Need to Knows
- Do not feel guilty or obliged when friends try to fix you up with unsuitable women.
- When you feel low, don’t drown your sorrows in drink; it’s fine to ask for help and support from friends or counsellors
Do not indulge in women-bashing, however tempting. This warring mentality stops you from letting go and moving on.
- Look after yourself, which means eating and exercising well and regularly, and not being shy to express your feelings. You matter.
Please Submit Your Own Story…
Please consider sharing your story with others suffering now. How you coped? How you felt? What helped? What were the circumstances that led up to your separation? How do you cope with loneliness? The more you can share the better.
Your story really does help others who are going through the same gut wrenching pain. Your story reinforces the fact that they are not alone in their suffering.