Divorced and Terrified? The 1 Thing You Need to Know About Living Alone
Once the dust has settled after your divorce, you will be making your first push at “going at it alone.” And, more likely than not, you are a bit scared of being by yourself. Terrified, even.
But you don’t have to be! Sure, the run-of-the-mill scenario for living alone after a divorce is one of fear and loneliness. But realistically, living alone doesn’t have to be as terrifying as it seems. You just have to keep one thing in mind as you advance into your new life living solo.
But first — recognize that ‘alone’ doesn’t have to be ‘lonely’
For starters, recognizing the difference between these two words is huge. It’s possible to confuse them, especially when it comes to living alone after a divorce. Perhaps you were with your former partner for a long time and you did everything together, and even the thought of running errands alone scares you. Remember, as Adrea Cope of Thought Catalog perfectly summarizes, “Being alone is a state of being; loneliness is a state of mind.”
Start viewing your “alone time” as a new sign of independence, and you will feel less down about living by yourself.
Also, stop comparing yourself to everyone else
Be careful when it comes to comparing your own post-divorce life to everyone else’s. For example, men are reportedly more likely to remarry than women are. If you are a newly-divorced woman, you might see this statistic and instantly fear that you will never meet another person or have another meaningful connection ever again. This type of thinking can depress you and drive you deeper into that “loneliness” way of thinking. It’s best to focus on yourself and where you are at.
And, if you can, avoid the ‘pity party’
We aren’t saying that you aren’t allowed to be sad after your divorce. You probably can’t help that. But it isn’t good to just wallow and dwell on things in the past once you are living alone. Getting out of your own head and focusing your energy on current activities will help you feel less alone. Sure, you don’t want to be the person that goes out every night of the week to escape being home by yourself. (That gets expensive in a hurry!) But re-channeling your sadness into new adventures and friendships — relationships, even — will help keep your mind off of your solo living situation. On that note …
Don’t say ‘no’ to plans
Now that you’re living alone, it’s good to fill up your social calendar! It doesn’t have to be with dates — you can simply go make new friends, or suggest that your established group of friends get together more regularly. The key here is to not say no to any plans, the HuffPost suggests. This is a time to make a conscious effort to be as social as possible.
A great way to feel less alone in your post-divorce space is to fill it with people. You don’t have to pack your casa wall-to-wall with bodies — just having a friend or two over will do the trick. Host a potluck or barbecue, or invite friends over to sip cocktails and watch a favorite TV show. Having just a little bit of company around will make living alone a less terrifying experience.
The important thing to remember is, you will learn to be alone
As cheesy as it sounds, everything really will be okay. The big thing you need to remember is that you will, in fact, adjust to living by yourself. And acknowledging that you will make it through on your own is the first step to adjusting, Psychology Today says. You might not instantly feel better, as it takes time to heal the wounds that come from a divorce. But you will, with effort and time, stop being afraid of living by yourself.
Besides, just because you are alone now doesn’t mean it is forever …
You might not have to live alone forever
According to statistics gathered by Pew Research Center in 2014, four in 10 marriages in 2013 were remarriages. And that number is reportedly on the rise as more people get hitched a second time around. Which means, in your case, there are more people giving romance another go, whether that is marriage or just to date and be close to someone else.
So if living by yourself after a divorce is still scaring you, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be a sign that you will be alone permanently. As we said before, living alone will get easier. And once you are more comfortable with that, you can start looking to the future — possibly with another person.