ProConnect

Dealing With Divorce Loneliness? Hug Yourself Happy

By

Healing From Your Divorce
Loneliness can hit, and hit hard after a split.
Divorce loneliness can be overwhelming—but it doesn't have to be crippling.

Your divorce will probably be one of the most intense emotional experiences you'll ever face. It sure was for me. I had a full spectrum of extraordinarly strong emotions hit one after another in an often confusing and frightening way. Sound familiar?

The world of divorce can feel like a tornado has come through your life and wiped away all that was familiar and safe. I thought of it as being tied up, blind-folded, and stuffed into the front seat of a runaway roller coaster. I never knew when I was going to be slammed to the left or right by a sharp turn, and I dreaded any slow upward movement, because I knew that at some point, I would drop down into depths I couldn't imagine, be thrown into a loop-de-loop, or even get caught up in a corkscrew.

More from YourTango: What Are You Bringing to Your Divorce?

I'll be honest with you: There were times back then when I thought I might be going insane.

What I've found out since my divorce in 2002 is that the emotions of divorce are intense and change rapidly for most people. These emotions often include everything from denial, fear, hope, anger, loss, guilt, confusion, rejection, and loneliness.

I think the loneliness was the hardest for me, and that's why I've developed some very specific strategies for dealing with the loneliness of divorce. Below are the top two strategies that work best with my clients. I'm hoping you'll find them helpful too.

I know this is going to sound simple, but sometimes the best solutions are really not complicated. One of the easiest things to do to help yourself when you're feeling the loneliness of divorce is to give yourself a hug. Yes, I do mean wrapping your arms around your chest and placing your hands just below your shoulder joints. Hold this hug for a bit, and after a while you'll notice that you're taking deeper breaths. You'll want to continue to hug yourself at least until you sigh. We forget how transformative the power of touch truly is.

There's something especially comforting about hugs. I used to think that the only good kinds of hugs were with others—either human or animal, but I've found that hugging body pillows, and especially hugging myself can have fabulously calming and comforting results, too.

The second of my top two strategies for dealing with loneliness after divorce is also simple to express: it's acceptance.

The only way to get through the loneliness is to accept that it's a natural part of the healing process of divorce. Your life is changing in a pretty dramatic way, and it's okay to feel lonely when the spouse with whom you shared your isn't a daily part of it anymore. Acceptance is one of those things that can usually be helped by talking with people who love you (like your friends and adult family members), people who are also dealing with divorce (like those in a divorce support group) or people who have successfully healed from divorce themselves, like a divorce therapist, a clergy member, or a divorce coach. I'm being very specific about the people who are typically great at helping people who are going through divorce, because I've seen the repercussions of the mistakes people make when they try to rely on people other than the ones I've listed.

Unfortunately, many people seek another romantic relationship to avoid feeling lonely. This can have tragic results. When you enter into another relationship before allowing yourself to heal completely and become a whole person again, you run the risk of getting into a relationship with someone who's just like your ex—or someone who's the exact opposite. Usually this doesn't work out so well, and I can tell you from personal experience that breaking up with a new honey before you've healed from your divorce is especially devastating. (I felt like a double loser when it happened to me.)

Even more detrimental, people deal with the loneliness of their divorce by talking with their kids about it. They'll tell the kids their fears under the guise of being honest, but the truth is they just need someone to talk to, and the kids are an easy audience. Kids aren't cut out to be an adult friend to either one of their parents during divorce, and the long-term effects on both the kids and the parent-child relationship are just too costly. Believe me, it's worth finding someone else to talk with.

Loneliness is a normal part of divorce recovery for most people, and your Functional Divorce Assignment has some specific things you can do right now to help you get through your loneliness quickly.

Your Functional Divorce Assignment:
Give yourself a hug right now. I'm serious. Go ahead and try it right now. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how good it feels. Be sure and continue hugging yourself until you sigh—that's how you'll know you're allowing yourself to relax and be comforted. (It's OK if you start to cry on your way to sighing.)

Are you relying on the right person or people? Think about whom you've been relying on to support you through your loneliness and other emotional upheavals you're experiencing. Based on the suggestions above, are you relying on the appropriate people? Do you need to look for another way to get the support you need?

Need more insight into what you can expect because of your divorce? Register and download your FREE copy of "The 5 Things You Need to Know About Your Divorce."

Learn about Dr. Karen’s online divorce support group and workshop.

More from YourTango: Ready To Get Over Your Divorce? Quit Playing This Tricky Game

More Divorce Advice from YourTango:

Share this with someone you love (or even like a lot)!

Let's make it
FB official
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr Karen Finn

Divorce Coach

Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce coach and the owner of The Functional Divorce. She works with people through all the different life changes divorce creates so they can get to living the best of their lives.

She's also the author of On the Road from Heartbreak to Happiness.

Dr. Karen is happy to give you "The 5 Things You MUST Know About Your Divorce".

 

 

Location: Keller, TX
Credentials: PhD
Other Articles/News by Dr Karen Finn:

The Differences Between Men & Women During The Divorce Process

By

An interesting thing happened during one of the divorce recovery workshops I lead. One of the male participants brought up the book His Needs Her Needs by Willard F. Harley, Jr. This participant shared the lists of "his needs" and "her needs" with the others in the class. After the briefest of pauses, the room erupted in both ... Read more

Getting Divorced: Are You Still Lovable?

By

I recently read an article ridiculing Robin Thick for giving his estranged wife, Paula Patton, gifts and public apologies to woo her back. What I found so interesting is the obvious derision the author had for his attempts. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning cheating. I’m also not ignoring the fact that it takes a lot of hard work ... Read more

What Are You Bringing to Your Divorce?

By

My husband and I recently went through the process of selling our home and buying a new one. If you’ve ever gone through the sale and purchase of a home, you know how stressful this process can be. We’d been talking about moving for a couple of years, but hadn’t done anything else about it because it was easier to just stay put and ... Read more

See More

Recent Expert Posts
Problems In The Bedroom

Has the Three Year Itch Become the New Seven Year Itch?

There has been an exponential increase in the number of people who are questioning their marriage.

Om Girl

On Your Own? 5 Ways to Go From Scattered to Focused

For those times when you just can't get going on your To Do list, try these tricks to get moving.

shame

Living life on cycle part ll

Learn how to use your menses as your greatest ally instead of your worst enemy!

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

Resources
How to find the right pro for you
10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

YourTango Experts can help your business go from good to great.

10 Steps To Improve Your Coaching Business

Take your coaching business from mediocre to great in no time…

Frequently Asked Questions About YourTango Experts

Thinking of joining? Here's all the facts you need to know to make the most of your membership.

Getting Your Guy To Join You In A Therapy Or Coaching Session

So how can your get your strong, self-reliant, superman to talk to an Expert with you?

Therapist/Counselors: Who We Are & What We Do

What exactly does a therapist/counselor do and can they really help?

See more resources>
HOT STUFF!
FROM OUR PARTNERS