When You Feel Lonely After Divorce


Loneliness following any separation is one of the hardest things to bear. Even if your relationship hasn’t been good for you, you were used to having another adult around the house. In a perverse way you may miss the arguments!

Loneliness can lead to depression so it is very important to overcome it as soon as possible.

Some people appreciate time alone and may tell you to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. There is a vast difference, however between being alone and feeling lonely.

Alone time can be constructive, use it for reading, sorting through your wardrobe, meditating, planning, begin a new hobby. Dealing with loneliness also needs to be a constructive process.

Firstly recognise that feeling lonely is natural following divorce or separation, you may feel unsettled and at a loss for which way to turn. This is the time to take friends and family up on offers of visits for coffee or lunch. It is important to realise that when people invite you to call them if you’d like to meet up etc., that is what they want you to do. Hard as it may seem life goes on and they are busy doing the things they do, so you have to be the one to make the move. Call them, invite them to your place or out for coffee or go visit them.

Sometimes after a divorce you will find that your circle of friends changes a little, some friends won’t know which one of you they should talk to – so they will avoid both, others will feel loyalty to one partner or the other.  You will soon discover who your true friends are – don’t be afraid to contact them when you feel lonely, offer to help them with what they are doing, e.g. gardening, redecorating, offer to mind their children. You have  more time now, you can make good use of your time helping those you care about.

If you feel awkward about inviting yourself to friends there are many community groups that are always on the lookout for help. Visit your local hospice, ask what you can do for them. Homes for the elderly often appreciate help from people willing to read the newspaper to residents, or help them with shopping, help serve supper.

Join a class, learn a new skill or sport. The important thing is to realise that the world is out there, it is not going to beat a path to your door, you need to gather up your strength and walk out to meet it.

Vulnerability often accompanies loneliness, some people fall into the trap of thinking that they must find a new partner as soon as they can. I would have to disagree, in principle with this.  Of course some of you will find someone else very quickly, it is surprising how many people reignite relationships with someone special from their youth, or with old friends that are now also looking for a new relationship. Setting out to find a new partner while you are still adjusting to your new status can leave you vulnerable to being taken advantage of by people that are simply out to meet their own needs – or worse, take advantage of your finances or home.

Take your time, get to know any potential partner very well, meet their friends and family, ask anyone you know about them, the more information you can get, the better, you won’t get any nasty surprises.

To sum up, then, loneliness is a natural feeling following a separation or loss.

Accept every invitation you get from friends and family.

Return the compliment – invite them back.

Give of yourself and your skills, share them with friends family or community.

Do something new – you’ll feel better and be proud of yourself, as well as meet new people.

Take your time, don’t rush into a new relationship – you don’t want to make the same mistake twice. Take time to be clear about the qualities your new partner will have.

Enjoy the journey of getting to know your new life and the people in it.

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