Loneliness after divorce

When Sally got divorced she realized that it might mean not ever having children of her own. She was also afraid, afraid that she would be alone.

***

Aside from realizing that there was this possibility I might not have kids, the hardest obstacle was fear and loneliness. It was fear that I would never find a match that I would really love and on a primal level, that I would die alone.  My parents had seven kids – family all around. We take care of each other. Who’s going to be there for me?

For a while there was some distrust of my own rudder, my own wisdom. It didn’t last forever but I had this definite sense of have I totally fallen off the deep end?

I did start dating maybe a year or so after but not really looking or feeling that serious. I knew I wanted to date people who were really, really different. So I was testing the waters there but I also allowed or demanded time for myself to just be alone and not just not in a relationship but alone. I went through this questioning period of what is my style? What do I want?  At first it was super lonely. It was also very freeing to start to come into my own biorhythm more. I tend to be much more nocturnal than most of the guys I’ve been with. I also spent more time with close friends and cultivated friends more.

Although not at first, I did go to restaurants alone. I was pretty squeamish and uncomfortable and when I did, I wanted the safety net of a book. To tell you the truth, I’d go to a restaurant and wear my wedding ring, I think just for the security of it. I’d see my projection on others and wonder if they’d just see me as so sad and so lonely.

I didn’t trust that I would meet someone else that I would love as much as my ex and feel comfortable enough marrying and it was nine years before I felt I met someone I would say yes to.  It wasn’t doubting that I loved him but more thinking, ‘Oh my god, if that didn’t work, is it going to work again?’ But you jump off the cliff and we do the best we can. Maybe I didn’t say ’till death do us part’ but I did say, ‘we do the best we can.’ Whatever we do is a gamble and to do it with as much intention and care and awareness as possible and to trust.

***

In our chat, Sally said she thought that spending some time on her own before dating was helpful. Anka agrees and feels that time can be spent understanding ourselves better. And from all my interviews, I know that there is no set agreed formula that you should follow until dating. You’ll date when you’re ready and I believe that your body will tell you when that is, if you’re willing to listen to it. And when you are dating again, then you have to decide whether to keep the relationship to yourself or to open it to your friends … read more at Learning to Fly over at Blogher.

Would you like to read these posts from the convenience of your email? Subscribing is quick and easy:
Next Post » »
  • http://funclimbsaroundtheworld.com/?p=482 sibylle hechtel

    It’s more than just feeling lonely – it’s a health issue.

    Middle-aged people who are widowed or divorced are more likely than their cohabiting counterparts to have cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease in later life.

    see
    http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Modern+Medicine+Now/Single-Status-at-Middle-Age-May-Affect-Alzheimers-/ArticleNewsFeed/Article/detail/608727

  • http://artistspotlight.blogspot.com Rosemary Carstens

    I think it’s a little too broad to say that feeling lonely is a health issue for middle-aged people who are widowed or divorced. Everyone feels lonely sometimes, even when they are in a relationship. The difference is whether or not it DEFINES you, whether you feel less worthy or valuable in some way without a partner. By spending whatever time you need to get comfortable with who you are, what you enjoy, what brings you satisfaction, who you are as an individual, you may find you are more comfortable NOT having a partner. In most studies, it’s been shown that WOMEN often live longer, happier lives without remarrying. Since women tend to live longer anyway, I think it’s very negative to hold up coupling as the ideal. To me what’s ideal is being able to be authentically who you are as an individual, realizing your fullest personal potential and feeling good about it.

  • http://www.simpledivorceadvice.com DivorcePlanner1

    Finding cafes and restaurants where single people hang out is a real help. go out to breakfast or lunch on the weekends and you will soon find yourself enjoying your own company as do the other singles around.