Facing Loneliness When You Are Newly Single

newlysingle

After my divorce, I found myself with a lot more free time.  Shared custody meant that all of a sudden half my weekends and evenings were free.  It’s a huge adjustment for anyone to make, but it can be especially challenging if you have never had much time alone or if you didn’t enjoy it when you did.

When you are faced with hours of time alone, what creeps in to swallow up your attention is loneliness.  Fear peeks in it’s ugly little face to say that maybe you will always be alone and that maybe you are alone because no one wants to be with you.  Tell fear to f*#k off.  Then get yourself off the couch and away from the television, because there is nothing more depressing than Friday night television (except daytime television, Saturday morning television, Saturday night television – okay, let’s just turn it off).

Don’t go by yourself to the movies on Friday night.  That’s date night.  You do not want to be the only person alone at the theater on date night.  But Tuesday is a good night.  Theaters have deals to get you in the theater on weeknights, like discounted tickets or free popcorn- deals make us happy!  Comedies can lift your spirits and the sad movies give you an excuse to cry alone in public.

You can go to the bookstore, but be warned, they are often a pick-up joint on Friday and Saturday nights.  Maybe you knew this already, but I didn’t know until some guy started following me in the self-help aisle, I thought he was creepy – he was probably just lonely.  I like Saturday or Sunday mornings at the bookstore.  Those are the times when you can wander the aisles in peace and you can be grateful that you aren’t the parent with the kid screaming his head off at Story Time (this time).  The library is a great place to be alone but they aren’t always open at night, when the need to get away from your empty house might be the strongest.

Whole Foods or other specialized grocery stores can be fun and are often open late.  You get to read all the labels and test all the lotions without anyone rushing you to get out of there or begging to go back to the sample booth.  Again, they can be pick-up joints on weekend nights but, hey, why not smile at that handsome fella in the gluten-free aisle?

Take advantage of having an empty house.  Remember how popular the kid whose parents were always going out of town was in high school?  Everyone wanted to have a party at her house.   You are now the kid with an empty house on the weekend, invite some moms over for a Girl’s Night In.   Have everyone bring their own snacks and a bottle of wine – you get company and everyone gets to save a lot of money on drinks.

Go to a museum.  Wandering alone through a museum you will find that you are not alone – even groups break up and wander separately.  And when you take a break in their cafė, instead of being irritated that your kid isn’t finishing their $10 cookie, you can slowly sip and savor every drop of your overpriced glass of Pinot Noir.

Hear yourself think.  How many times have you felt frustrated that you are getting a constant barrage of questions or kid needs when you are desperate to think something through?  This is your time, get quiet, practice gratitude and listen.  To yourself.  You have important things to tell yourself and no one knows you better.

Connect.  If you do feel fear and loneliness creeping in, it’s okay to break your solitude and get support.  Reach out to people you trust for connection, to be witnessed or just to know you are not alone.

Being alone doesn’t have to be lonely.  Avoid the places that will trigger your fears.  Lean on the people in your life that love and support you.  Breathe in all the goodness.  Sleep late.  Eat olives for dinner and chocolate for breakfast.  Take the biggest piece of cake.  Being alone can be delicious.

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