This article first appeared on Divorced Moms and has been republished with permission.
Many couples regard their relationship as a source of comfort, reassurance, and identity. Once you are stripped of the confines of your marriage, it is difficult to find who you are outside of it. Typically, people experience a state of shock as they realize, for various reasons, they are no longer married. As is typical with those reeling from the loss of a family member, people going through a divorce are prone to anger, fear, and loneliness. Oftentimes, people are most concerned about how their children will react to the news.
This range of emotions is understandably disorienting, and so it is important to begin to piece your life together on your own terms. Rediscovering your interests, hobbies, and community is challenging, but the journey will be extremely rewarding and beneficial for your personal growth. The most important factor to consider post-divorce is that other people have been where you are; you are not alone.
There are several suggestions you can take to reduce the impact of loneliness after divorce.
While some suggestions may be outside of your comfort zone or impractical for your lifestyle, consider how the essential message in each section could impact your life. Try a few, or try them all!
Make Time to Nurture Yourself
- First, take a step back and handle every day with a fresh perspective. Time only moves forward, and dwelling on the past will only affect your future. So treat each day as a new opportunity to do something significant to you.
- Take care of you. Take up a new fitness class. Visit a spa. Find an activity you truly enjoy that is also calming, soothing and nurturing. Looking after yourself is a healing balm, and slowly over time, you are closer to a healthier, brighter outlook on life.
- Renew your body, as well as your mind and soul. Divorce can be very lonely and stressful, and if you feel you need to open up to a counselor or therapist, do not hesitate to do so. Speaking to a professional counselor or therapist allows you to vent about your circumstances in a safe space. Group therapy is also a great resource for people going through a divorce as it can be extremely beneficial to talk to other people who are also experiencing what you are going through.
Build a New Community of Support
- Find a support group. You can typically find a variety of different types of support groups (e.g. singles-with-children, singles-only, divorced singles, etc.).
- Reconnect with friends and acquaintances you haven’t spoken to in a while. Single or married, divorced or not, you can build a well-rounded community of friends to offer you support in the wake of your divorce.
- Approach singles in your workplace and surrounding community. Building new relationships can seem daunting at first, but most people want to connect with others. Simply asking someone for coffee or to join you for lunch can lead to a lasting friendship.
- Find people who make you feel better. Whether they offer you great advice or genuinely brighten your outlook on life, integrate them into your life and activities. The more time you spend with people who love and support you, the more valued and cherished you will feel.
- Spend time with your kids. Divorce is difficult for parents and their children, and so making time to connect with your children after the divorce is important for their well-being and the future of your relationship with them. Your children are also a form of familial support. They represent a significant and important part of your life, and they can be an excellent source of help as you transition into a new lifestyle.
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Start Planning Ahead
- Now that you are the master of your own schedule, you can plan activities tailored to your own preferences. So plan your weekend activities and fill your home with guests. Since you’ll be spending more time alone, it is important to fill up that time with new plans.
- Host a dinner at your house. Or invite your friends over for a game night. Next time, one of your friends can have everyone over at their house, and you won’t have to clean up later.
- Delve into new hobbies or activities where you are likely to interact with other people. You can volunteer in the community, join a church group, take a cooking class, sign up for a book club–just go out and discover what you enjoy.
- Find other singles by starting your own group activities with other singles or by networking through the singles you already know.
At the end of the day, you should do what feels right for you. It is challenging to find the motivation to present yourself to the world when you would rather stay home, but it’s important to move forward and create new memories. It is extremely beneficial to create goals for yourself. You could strive for a new level of fitness or read books you never managed to find time to read.
Most importantly, take advantage of the time you have right now. Putting off your goals or waiting for the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself to new people will only stifle the growth you could be making right away. Remember, time only moves forward, and a beautiful day is waiting for you as long as you seize the opportunity to create your own happiness.