You'll get through this.
Losing your marriage to divorce is one of the most difficult losses you’ll ever experience. What you’ve lost is so much more than just a marriage. Among so many losses, you’ve also lost a way of life, your dreams for the future, and your sense of belonging.
Despite the family and friends who are reaching out to help and support you as you struggle to make sense of your new reality, the truth is you’ve never felt so isolated and alone. You just don’t quite feel like you fit into the world now like you did when you were married.
Learning how to deal with loneliness is a normal (but really miserable) part of divorce.
But where do you start? Obviously, you don’t want to start with any philosophical statements about how dealing with loneliness is good for you. In order to start feeling better when you're lonely after divorce, you need to start learning how to deal with that loneliness.
Here are 6 tips to help you on your path to discovering how you can deal with feeling lonely after divorce:
1. Set a timer for 20 minutes and check out social media.
OK, this is a tricky one and that’s why you need to set a timer. Social media can help you feel more connected with people and that’s what we’re going for here.
BUT... social media can also make you feel lonelier if you’re using it to do things like compare your life to someone else’s or stalking your ex. So long as you’re using it purely to have a sense of positive connection, social media is a great way to assuage your isolation.
2. Pick up your phone and text or call someone.
Reaching out to a loved one when you’re feeling lonely is one of the easiest and quickest ways to deal with loneliness. There’s an immediate connection that can pull you back from the unwelcome solitude you’ve been struggling with.
(Of course, this may not work so well in the middle of the night.)
3. Turn on the TV or radio.
Regardless of what time of day it is, there are always TV and radio stations broadcasting.
When I was learning how to deal with loneliness after my divorce, I almost always had either the TV or radio on when I was home — just for the noise. The sound made my home feel less empty which helped me to feel less alone.
4. Know that the profound loneliness you’re feeling is a normal part of divorce.
Although very few of the emotions you’ll experience as you heal from your divorce will feel normal, the loneliness that you’re struggling with is completely normal and expected.
Knowing that feeling lonely as you work through the end of your marriage is OK and even expected, your acceptance of it can increase. And by accepting the loneliness as just part of the divorce process, the stress and misery of it will decrease just a bit.
5. Shift your focus away from what was and what you could have, should have, or would have done.
When you’re dealing with the loneliness of divorce, it’s really easy to slip from feeling lonely to beating yourself up for what might have been if you'd only done something different. And the more the beat yourself up, the lonelier you feel.
So go ahead and distract yourself from these thoughts of could have, should have and would have and you’ll notice that your loneliness lightens.
6. Do something that feels especially nurturing.
When you’re feeling sad and all alone, one of the best ways to pull yourself out of it is to baby yourself. Do something that feels incredibly loving and indulgent. When you do, you just might find yourself shifting a bit from feeling lonely to enjoying a little bit of alone time.
Hopefully, these 6 tips are exactly what you need to help you know just how to deal with your loneliness. And then again, maybe they aren’t.
If they weren’t that’s OK, because they’ve provided you with some inspiration for the creating your plan for what to do when your loneliness hits.
Either way, knowing how you’ll deal with one of the most miserable parts of one of the most difficult things you’ll ever experience will go a long way to helping you to find your way through all the losses of divorce.
Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce coach and divorce survivor herself. She works with clients who are looking for support and advice to get through their divorce. You can join her newsletter group for free advice or schedule a FREE 30-minute conversation with Karen directly in her Time Trade calendar.
This article was originally published at Dr. Karen Finn's blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.