The period of time immediately following a divorce can be very challenging for a number of reasons, including the adjustment to living as a single person and possibly spending more time alone. Regardless of whether your relationship is ending after many years or a few, every person is susceptible to intense emotional fluctuations following a break-up. The most important thing to keep in mind during this time is that the pain, sadness, and anger you may be feeling will pass and you will emerge a happier person willing and able to start a new chapter in your life.
Here are 10 tips for how to live alone after a relationship has ended:
1) Connect with your friends and family.
Separation and divorce can be a difficult and lonely process. Stay connected to the people in your life who love and care about you. They are the ones who can bring a smile to your face or offer a shoulder to cry on when you need it most. Don’t be afraid to reach out to these people when you need their support.
If you don’t have close friends or family in Northern Colorado, or are new to the area, there are several local divorce support groups in Fort Collins, for example this Fort Collins Divorce Recovery Group on Meetup.com. You may also be able to find divorce support groups through Northern Colorado churches or counseling centers.
2) Express your feelings.
It doesn’t matter if you write, paint, lift weights, or run with the dog, find a way to release the emotions that may be bottling up inside you. Staying active will help you to release “steam” when you feel under pressure and come to better understand both the negative and positive feelings you have about your marriage. Meetup.com is a great place to find new interest based groups to keep you active, whether you enjoy hiking, want to join a book club, or want to learn a new skill.
3) Imagine the person you want to be.
Consider making a list of all the things you’d like to try, do, or become. From small projects (getting a hair-cut) to large undertakings (going back to college) the list can help guide you when you’re feeling adrift or lost. Put the list in a place where you’ll easily see it every day, and tackle one thing at a time as the moment feels right.
4) There’s no shame in asking for help.
Consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in divorce. Their expert training and outside viewpoint can help you to better see and understand your emotions and behaviors.
Looking for a therapist in Northern Colorado and not sure where to start? You might start by asking local family and friends for recommendations. Another good resource for finding Fort Collins based counselors may be through the Employee Assistance Program at your work; typically EAP programs maintain a recommended provider list and can help in finding the right counselor for you. Psychology Today also has a list of Divorce Therapists in Fort Collins.
5) Re-discover past interests.
Spend some time re-acquainting yourself with hobbies or activities you had prior to your marriage. Were you once an avid bird-watcher, skier, crafter, or gardener? Did you put those interests aside because of your relationship? If so, consider taking a look at them again.
6) Have fun with your children.
Divorce can be just as hard on your children as it is for you. Talk to your kids about fun, positive activities you can do together to create new, happy memories – and then make a plan to go out and do them! If you’re looking for activities to do with your children and other Fort Collins single parents, there are several local groups just for single parents in Northern Colorado.
7) Embrace the new you.
Divorce will bring about a change in your role and responsibilities – and with it, a need to learn new household management skills. Embracing these new challenges and opportunities may be hard at first, but they will give you a new-found sense of accomplishment.
8) Give it time.
After a divorce, many people experience a period of grieving similar to when a loved-one dies. Give yourself time to grieve and resist the urge to keep yourself so busy that you have no time to acknowledge these feelings. Spending even 5-10 minutes a day with an activity that is just for you (reading, journaling, walking…) can help you heal.
9) Discover happiness.
Use this time of transition to look into yourself and discover what makes you truly happy. Finding a purpose – be it volunteering for a favorite cause, taking a class, joining a book club or gym – will help you to focus on things that are important to you and bring you moments of happiness.
10) Alone doesn’t mean lonely.
Living alone doesn’t have to be the same as being lonely. It’s important to remember that there are many single and divorced people in our society and finding acceptance is easier than ever before. If you start to feel isolated, look for groups that share your interests (skiing, movie watching, single parents…) online or through your local community centers and libraries.
Adjusting to a new life living alone after a divorce is rarely easy, and your emotional swings may vary from day to day and even hour to hour. Remind yourself that these feelings are perfectly normal and will change as time passes. Surrounding yourself with supportive and caring friends and family and making plans for the future can be a healthy and productive way to move forward in your life and find the happiness you deserve.