Leave the loneliness of divorce behind by doing things you love.
Being suddenly single may seem like a dream come true to those in an unhappy marriage, but to anyone who’s going through divorce being suddenly single is devastating.
The depth of the loneliness of divorce is almost beyond description. You exist in the world, but you don’t feel a part of it. You feel isolated. Somehow connection remains frustratingly beyond your reach because now you’re different from the rest of the world (at least the world you knew when you were married).
Despite the misery of your exile and the desperate loneliness of divorce you’re experiencing, it is self-imposed. And that’s a good thing!
At first you isolated yourself because of the extreme pain you were in as a result of your marriage ending. You played it safe and leaned on your existing friends – those people who knew you before. (It’s natural to protect yourself like this after divorce.)
But now you’re facing a different problem. Sure, the pain is still there, but instead of continuing to feel safe with these friends, you’re feeling separate and unlike them.
And the reason you’re feeling separate now is that is they’re married and you’re not. Now you don’t fit in as well as you used to – not necessarily because of anything they’ve done, but because you’re not the same. (Divorce does that to a person.)
You’re coming to grips with the fact that your life as a suddenly single person is different from the life of a married person. And you wonder desperately if there’s anyone else who could possibly understand the realities of your new life.
The answer is emphatically “YES!” There are lots of people who understand (and at a very deep level) what you’re experiencing. They’re other suddenly single people.
The good news is YOU are capable of ending your exile. It will just take a little bit of effort on your part.
So what’s really involved here? You get to get a bit uncomfortable and put yourself out there in a safe and easy way. And, no, I’m not talking about dating. I’m talking about making friends.
The first place to find new friends who will get what you’re going through as you struggle to emerge from the loneliness of divorce is a divorce support group. These groups exist to provide structure and support for anyone who’s ready to heal from their divorce. Some groups meet in person and others meet virtually.
You’ll be amazed at the friendships you can develop with the other group members! The friendships blossom in these groups because you’re each facing the same challenge. You each get it and there’s little to no fear of saying what you’re really going through. It’s this built-in acceptance that make divorce support groups such a great place to start meeting new people.
Another place to look for new friends is MeetUp.com. Now I’m not talking about heading to MeetUp.com to find singles groups. (Although there are plenty of those groups there.)
Instead, look for groups that do what you enjoy doing. Maybe you can find a single-parent’s group or a hiking group or a yoga group or a book club or a … I’m sure you get the idea. MeetUp.com has an amazing array of groups that get together to do fun things.
Then, after you’ve met some interesting people in your divorce support group and/or on MeetUp.com, put together a group event (think dinner, lunch, coffee, a movie). When you organize an event, you’ll naturally be seen as incredibly interesting and those who make it to the event will want to get to know you better too! It’s a sure-fire way to expand your group of friends.
Now I know this is simple to read, but that it takes effort (and time) to actually break through the loneliness of divorce and start building new friendships. All I can tell you is that you’re worth it and hope that you’ll put forth the effort and find the time.
The pay-off is that when you choose to stop living a half-life, you’ll be surprised by how full and fun your suddenly single life can actually be. And once you discover your new place in the world, you’ll quickly put the memories of your loneliness of divorce far behind you.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and advisor helping people just like you who are ready to break through the loneliness of their divorce and start living their life to the fullest again. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. If you’re ready to take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.
Looking for more help creating a meaningful life after divorce? You’ll find what you want in Life After Divorce.