Being Alone After Divorce: Why it’s okay and Tips on How to Enjoy it

being alone after divorce

By Jackie Pilossoph, Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, Love Essentially columnist and author

I often wonder why so many people jump into serious relationships or get married quickly after a divorce. I hear about people who announce their engagement just weeks after their divorce was final. “What’s the rush? Didn’t you just get out of a situation where you felt trapped?” I feel like asking them. I think I figured out one of the biggest reason people rush into relationships: fear of being alone after divorce.

 

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I can tell you firsthand that being alone after divorce is very scary, isolating, and lonely. It sucks, actually. But, once you learn how to be comfortable being alone after divorce, you get a gift: an empowering, independent feeling that brings self-confidence and self-love.

 

Many people who get divorced are so used to being married, that being with someone is all they know. They’ve spent virtually no time alone, so they really don’t know how to be solo. But, just like everything else in life, you get used to it, and I’m not saying that in a negative way. I’m saying it in a good way.

 

I think if people felt more comfortable being alone, the divorce rate of second marriages would be so much lower. In other words, people wouldn’t rush into a bad situation to avoid being alone. They would take their time, find the right person this time, and let the relationship breathe before running to the alter again.

 

Here are my tips on how to be alone after a divorce:

1.    Stop worrying about being alone:

Am I going to be alone when I’m 70?” I used to ask my sister that question, and I worried about being along constantly.  Then I realized, who cares?? I’m alone now. So what? I was alone before I was married, and I was fine with it. Time to get back into that mindset. Not to mention, if you have kids, you will never really be alone. And if you don’t have kids, you will never be alone if you have family and friends who love you.

 

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 2.    Get a hobby or develop yours more:

When I was going through a divorce, my writing hobby became obsessive. Every time I felt sad or depressed or angry or scared, I wrote. I ended up writing 3 novels in 2 years. To say I became obsessed is putting it mildly. But, I view that as a good thing!  Delve into something you love and you will be fulfilled and happy. And too focused to think about the fact that you are single.

 3.    Try new things:

I have mentioned her in other blogs, but I can’t resist talking about a dear friend of mine who after 27 years of marriage found herself separated, her ex madly in love with the woman he left her for. My friend fell apart for awhile, and then she got it together. She has been to Spain, Israel, Italy, France and China, she’s run a marathon and done all kinds of cool things. She has so many loving friends and family, she can’t even count them all. She’s still single. And guess what? I asked her this very question. “Do you ever feel alone?”  She replied, “Never.”

4.    Never say no to plans:

Scenario: A guy asks you out that you are not attracted to, so you decline. This is wrong! What’s wrong with having a new friend? It could lead to more friends, and maybe another guy. Plus, he might be interesting or smart, or he may teach you something. Go, go, go!! Also, “I’m too tired” should not be in your vocabulary! The thing is, you may not want to do something that you were invited to, but you will never meet anyone staying home, so get out of your house! Dating over 50 can be wonderful!

 5.    Start having people over:

Buy a couple bottles of wine, some gourmet cheese and crackers, pick up the phone and invite some girls over. You’d be surprised at how many women will be delighted to get your invitation. Then, after the first party, start cooking a little bit. Your parties will get more and more elaborate and more fun. Entertaining in your home can be really enjoyable and makes you feel hospitable! Hosts are happy people!

 

 

6.    Do your job better:

Remember the movie “City Slickers?” Billy Crystal hated his job, and he went on a trip at a cattle ranch to find himself. He ended up realizing he didn’t need a new job, he would just do his job better. If you want to be happier in life, make a little more effort at the office. I’m not saying turn into a work horse, but there’s nothing wrong with bettering your career at a time like this. It will become interesting to “get into it,” and you may end up loving going to work. Then, you’ll be too tired and focused to feel alone.

 7.    Learn how to be in your house alone:

This was really hard for me to do. If you have an alone day, here are some things you can do. You can sit in a bathtub, watch a movie, read a good book in complete silence, cook for yourself, clean out a closet, garden, write in a journal, read the newspaper, cover to cover, call a girlfriend and be on the phone for hours, clean out your wardrobe. The list is endless. Enjoy it! Please don’t drink alcohol alone. That’s just not a good idea.

8.    Go to the gym:

When I was going through a divorce, I would call my sister crying (pretty much every other day) and she would say, “Go to the gym.” What?! Why? She would say, “Because you will feel better. Go directly to the gym now and call me when you are done.” And I would do it and it would work! Going to the gym serves several purposes. 1. You are burning calories and being healthy. 2. You are not alone because there are other people around you. 3. You might run into someone you know. I’ve actually met so many wonderful people at my gym, who I socialize with outside the gym now. Nothing bad can come from going to the gym! If you absolutely don’t feel like working out, just go there and walk on a treadmill. Anything! Trust me, the gym is a good place! Another great alternative to going to the gym is to check out Fresh Start Fitness – a new FREE online program aimed to help those going through a divorce heal and thrive.

Like this post? Check out, “A Question That Left Me Heartbroken”  or “Honey, I Want A Divorce”

 

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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

10 Responses to “Being Alone After Divorce: Why it’s okay and Tips on How to Enjoy it”

  1. kirsten

    These are good recommendations. Relationships involve a lot of compromises; sometimes you give up huge chunks of your Self to be with another person. Find and cultivate those neglected parts of yourself! And, as for the gym, it’s gotten me through so many problems in my life and is helping me through my divorce right now… at eight months pregnant. Among the benefits listed above, a good workout reduces stress and provides an outlet for the anger, fear, sadness, etc. I’ve been known to rock the elliptical with years streaming down my face. It’s cleansing. Also, lifting! Do not forsake weights! You will feel, and be, stronger!

    Reply
  2. Becky

    Those are great ideas and I too thought of some of those when my sister got divorced. Now I am divorced and worried about how to make it financially. I cannot do those things you suggest.. Maybe a few that cost nothing. How do you do it if you can’t find a job that pays enough.. It is so hard sometimes to know what to do.

    Reply
    • denna hackler-sullivan

      If you live in an urban area with parks, the parks have all sorts of things you can do on the cheap. It might not be free, but compared to elsewhere, the pricetag is yummy. And yes, some even have gyms. I don’t know about rural areas or the burbs. Good luck!

      Reply
  3. Malena

    Thank you for your tips. Actually, I am passing for this process. I have been separated for almost six months. I have a 7 years old girl and I have a shared custody with my ex. So days that I am not with her are really hard for me since I am learning how to be alone.

    Reply
  4. Maggie

    The article…. mentions friends, and your not alone.. hahaha….nothing could be further from the truth. My friends did t have tine because I’m divorced and now I realize how shallow they are. They are only fb friends and family… Hahaha..its the same deal. I am very lonely…hate it at times. I go to the gym 6 x a week. Weekends suck..I go driving, or to the mall and get out if the house, I have no ‘drive’ to clean the basement it’s Iver whelming.

    Reply
  5. Julia

    Maggie, you’re not alone. I moved two hours away from family and friends to be with my former husband. Now, I’m stuck in this somewhat new city (we had a short marriage) all by myself. I do the same and go to the mall or some store to take me out. I just started exploring MeetUp.com and have gone to a few MeetUp’s, which has helped to fill in some of the time and meet people. THIS whole process isn’t easy but hang in there! I know we’ll get over this hump!

    Reply
  6. Sarah Orlando

    I just went through a whirlwind divorce that I initiated in Sept 2018, which was initiated by talking with an old flame on facebook from 34 years ago and realizing my heart just wasn’t in the marriage or man anymore. The divorce was final by end of Dec and the facebook flame lives in another state. All the sudden the conversations dropped to nearly nothing with him during the divorce process.. He did start up a new business and it is consuming his time, but I know he wants to wait until his business is settled down before we get serious. I would prefer to be alone now as I know it will just make the relationship with him more special when it happens, but it can be excruciating going home to an empty house sometimes. I have decided to change the whole house and sort through everything to live more like a minimalist. It seems the thought of being alone cycles as a bad thing in my brain where I get consumed with needing someone Then I read articles on line like this one and it helps with those times. For the most part I love living alone after 21 years of being married, but I cannot wait to be with this love again. It will never last if done too soon. Waiting to heal and becoming empowered a little more each day. It just takes time. Gotta stay busy!!

    Reply
  7. Betty

    I’m going through a divorce after a long marriage and I’m struggling with being alone. I’ve tried hard to get my friends over to see me, but they are too busy or they think I’m happy, they are not interested in knowing me. So I’ve decided to cut myself off from the world and rely on myself only. I sleep, watch movies, excercise, learn new languages and read. I’ve never liked novels, but I’ve decided to go to the library and scan the shelves for topics that interest me. I’ve lost interest in people as they have me, I wouldn’t have a pet as it’s too much commitment, but I would love a good friend who I can chat to who’s in the same position as me.

    Reply

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