It’s never easy, whether you initiated coming apart or your partner/spouse did, or, if the ‘end’ was recent or a while ago. Are you feeling like the single sock in the drawer, the lonely only that serves no purpose and has nowhere to go? It can feel bleak and daunting but needn’t be ! Being lonely, when you are in a relationship can feel worse, for many, than feeling stranded alone. Either way, it’s time to work through the experience and not be stuck in that drawer.
It’s time to hop out, build support and rediscover and expand your world. Inform others that you are ready and eager to reconnect with them. They may have felt, or realized, that you needed/wanted private time to heal. Select friends and relatives who are able and likely to be available and reach out. Consider a support group with those who are dealing with similar situations and take advantage of the opportunity to make new friends. With others in your boat, you won’t need to do all of the rowing. Hear their mistakes and triumphs and share yours. Determine if their solutions might work for you.
Some of your friends who are coupled may not really ‘get’ what you are experiencing. They may be used to socializing only with other couples. Others, whose relationships are shaky, might feel somewhat threatened, as if your situation could be contagious. If it happened to you, could they be next? You‘d be surprised to know what is behind the curtain in a number of couple relationships. Many couples I see, in couples’/marriage counseling, report that “Everyone thinks we have the perfect partnership”. Could some friends feel threatened by your attractiveness vis a vis their own partner/spouse if they are not feeling secure? If you ended your relationship, might some envious that you were able to act on behalf of your unhappiness.
Having a respectful dissolution of your relationship often leads to feeling more whole and contented. If you have children, establishing positive co-parenting assures that you are doing the best for your offspring, now and for their future. You and your co-parent slog through parenting quagmires together; remember that happens with couples who are still together. Mutual positive parental statements and actions communicate to children that ”We can’t live together but we will work together to raise you” and “We can even recognize and appreciate each other’s qualities”. Both are powerful role model messages. Stepping out of battle zones should relieve their and your stress and even some of the “now single blues”.
Know yourself: What makes you happy? Don’t be critical of him or her and what they did or didn’t do. Focus on your mistakes and the changes you want to make before you seek someone new. We all have thought and behavior patterns that carry through our relationships. Were you needy, passive aggressive, responsive? Know which characteristics you want to maintain and those you might need to alter. Talk to someone you trust or work through obstacles with a therapist.
Live it: Being on your own more allows for doing things you have wanted to but never could. Use that time, especially when your children are not with you. Missing them and secluding yourself does nothing positive for you or them. Revive old interests and be open and ready for new ones. Make it an adventure!
Possibilities: Announce when you are ready to meet a special someone, not out of need but want. Don’t be shy about asking. Separation and divorce can seem a nightmare but they offer an opportunity to change and move forward, with you in charge.