It’s normal to experience loneliness post divorce. Some people deal with these feelings better than others, but in essence, you will most likely go through this phase. Your ex-spouse is someone you shared your life with, maybe raising kids together or planning a future together.
The years following my divorce, I focused on building my career and raising my daughter. These kept me from feeling lonely. Once you focus your mind on building a career and earning enough money to get you by, you don’t have the luxury to feel lonely. I’ve realized that my daughter’s presence helped moderate the depth of any loneliness I felt.
Most divorced individuals realize that most of their friends strangely fall away, and many find it challenging to meet new people. This is something I get to hear a lot from the divorced population. In this 21st century, where people have come to recognize divorce as a present reality, the social stigma still exists. Married people don’t customarily want to stay around divorced or single people.
Divorce, and any kind of breakup, can stir up strong emotions, often leading to feelings of loneliness. But first, what causes you to feel lonely after a divorce?
Causes of Loneliness after a Divorce
It’s not unusual to get separated from family and friends once you get divorced, especially those close to your now ex-spouse. These are people who were part of your life, but with the divorce, it means they may no longer be part of your new normal. Don’t forget that pets are members of the family too. In a divorce, it means a family pet will go with one partner. Losing a pet can feel like losing a loved one.
Anger and Grief
Emotions like anger, sadness, and despair are common in a divorce. Persons who experience these emotions are likely to pull away from social meetings and isolate themselves, which actually aggravates feelings of loneliness.
Child custody issues are common in a divorce petition with children involved. If you share custody with your ex-spouse, you may find yourself feeling lonely whenever your children are with your ex-spouse. Children are great distracters, but without them, you may start feeling lonely.
Many couples hold family traditions that are shared with friends and family. A divorce means that all these traditions are gone and this can be a source of your loneliness.
When the loss of friends and family after divorce adds an extra layer of loss and pain to an already stressful situation, you can feel overwhelmed by loneliness. But how can you remedy this social situation?
How to Deal With Lingering Loneliness after Divorce
Consider these tips:
Recognize This for What It Is
It’s quite easy to slip into a self-pity mode. When you suddenly lose someone through a divorce, you lose them physically and emotionally. You may feel the need to disconnect and alienate yourself from other people. Recognize this as a natural reaction of someone who is grieving and is trying to heal.
Watch Your Thoughts
You have the power to choose whether to believe or not to believe what your brain tells you. When destructive lonely thoughts arise, you can refuse to accept them. A practical way of doing this is saying to yourself, “This is not the thought I want to think right now, I will wait for a better one.”
Stay Away From Rebound Relationships
You don’t want to use a rebound relationship to help you deal with your loneliness. It would help if you had some time by yourself to allow the healing process to take full effect before you can embark on the dating path.
Don’t Grief Longer Than Necessary
While you need to feel and experience the emotions of a breakup, there’s a point you get where you need to look at the road ahead rather than staring at the rearview mirror. There is a fabulous life beyond divorce only if you stop looking at your life through a divorce lens.
Join a Support Group
There are several therapy groups for divorced people that exist. Remember, you’re not alone. These groups can quickly help you gain insight from people who were where you are right now. You’re likely to meet people in similar situations who are ready to listen, talk, and even offer advice. A great place to start you off is MeetUp.com.
Do not underestimate the power of connecting with people in similar places. I’ve seen many divorcees get out of their isolation and back into mainstream life again once they reach out for help.
Get your mind off your loneliness by engaging in activities that will keep your mind occupied. Exercising can help you release the happy hormones and make you feel better. Take up a new hobby, join a club or volunteer at a local homeless or animal shelter or local hospital. Not only will you be helping your community, but you’ll also be dealing with your loneliness and increasing your happy hormones.
Start Planning for Your Future
If you’re still in the middle of your divorce, it might not be easy to focus on anything else. Nonetheless, your divorce process will finally come to an end – and there’s no good time to start planning ahead. You might not want to see your spouse at the moment, but a time will come where you miss their company. Recognizing this fact, which has been proven by those who’ve been at the spot, can help you plan and create ways to alleviate such feelings.
Create a Post Divorce Bucket List
There are some things, for whatever reason, you were unable to do while still married. This is the time to note them down. Just like blogging, this is a plausible way of shifting your focus from all the negatives of being divorced to thinking about the positives of being newly single. You can have a mix of old and new interests in this bucket list.
How Long Can I Expect The Post Divorce Loneliness To Last?
This period will depend on what issues you are dealing with. Different feelings are driven by various factors and are not always constant. For example, a holiday tradition in your marriage could be a source of loneliness which dies away after the holiday.
Most people go through a phase of loneliness as part of the healing process. However, others may endure this for more extended periods and may need to talk to a therapist or doctor for help.
It’s always wise to remind yourself that life is change, and happiness can sometimes morph into tough times. After a period of unhappiness comes joy.