Ok … you’ve said the D word. Now what?
Honestly, now comes a whole lot of “head down, just get through” activities where dealing with loneliness during divorce seems to be the furthest thing from your mind.
Real life feels like it comes at you pretty hard during this stage.
- Your grief process doesn’t matter, when your job, family et al. needs you delivering your A-game.
- Your mortgage company doesn’t care how much your divorce is costing you, as long as they get paid first.
- Then there’s the paperwork. AUGH … the paperwork!! The financial worksheets, the decree, the parenting plan, the separation agreement, the “Declaration of Intent to Sever the Relationship” that is no one’s Beeswax but yours but now it’s actually “Everyone’s Business Because you have to take time off to Visit the Lawyer, the Accountant, the Priest, the Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker and you must Inform your Boss, your Work Team, your Workout Partner, Everyone who Missed you at the Gym, the Babysitter, the Day Care, Every Parent who Asked Why Little Suzie was at School so Late and You’re Pretty Sure the Neighbor’s Dog has been Eavesdropping too Disclosure.”
You’ll quickly learn that while people seem to be clamoring for your time, attention and explanations you’ll feel a totally different kind of loneliness than you did while you were dealing with loneliness before divorce. Likewise, dealing with loneliness after divorce takes on a whole new meaning as well as you learn to forgive yourself and attempt hope again. Which means the more work you do for your Self during this stage the better foundation you’ll have moving forward.
Before the D word was ever spoken you likely had a “lonely in a crowd” kind of loneliness: life outside your home carried on as usual while you were navigating your uncertain future. Now that your future is certain, at least certain you won’t be married to this particular spouse, you may be tempted to self-isolate because:
- there’s truly so much that has to get done and
- explaining it to yourself seems onerous, let alone to a bunch of people who mean well but, quite frankly, it’s just none of their business.
What do most of us do in this situation? We rally. Well, as you probably know by now, “The Rally” isn’t sustainable. It also does little to address the emotional rollercoaster of dealing with loneliness during divorce.
If you’ve squirreled yourself away from your support and found little communal benefit to rallying then you’re in the right place.
Here are some tried and true strategies for dealing with loneliness during divorce that will not only get you through this process but set you up for success on the other side of this mess.
one You don’t need help. Ask for it anyway.
Yup. I know you can do it on your own. So do the people who really want to be there for you but don’t know how. Your support system doesn’t know how to help on their own, especially if they’ve never gone through it. So ask.
It’s not about getting help with the minutiae, it’s about creating an environment of “proof” that you’re not really alone. You’re REALLY going to need this when grief returns and you find yourself dealing with loneliness after divorce.
So recruit away. Your friends will feel useful and you’ll train your brain to feel less lonely throughout the entire process.
two Prioritize fuel over fun
If you’ve ever listened to or read almost any blog post of mine, you know by now that every unaddressed pain point turns into anger. It is vital to get intentional about connection right now.
Everyone is going to be telling you to get out and have some fun. That’s great…if it fuels you. Make a list of some of the activities that give you time and space to connect with your Self, your wisdom, your joy or your peace. It seems counter-intuitive to say this in an article about dealing with loneliness during divorce but your re-charge time doesn’t have to include other people. Hike, bike, karaoke, write, make sand castles, clean out your junk drawer. I don’t care what it is but if you can imagine yourself rejuvenated when you’re done, do THAT.
You want the resources from your Inner Life to be at the ready when you need them for your Outer Life. This will keep you from being depleted by socializing when the time comes to do it.
three Get out. Have fun.
Yes, I know I just told you to prioritize fuel over fun. Did you think that meant you didn’t get to let your hair down, too??
Girl, you’re about to find out about the magic of “both.”
You’re starting all over.
- Refuel or fun? Do both!
- Have a job or go back to school?
- How about both?
- Keep old friends or make new ones? It’s time for BOOOOOOTH!!!
Not only will it be an easy way for dealing with loneliness during divorce it will begin to break up any “I couldn’t/shouldn’t/can’t” habits that have been created during your marriage.
Repeat after me: Life’s options are so rarely mutually exclusive. I will, by default, accept all choices available to me as viable options.
four Talk about your divorce process more often than you think you need to
One of the ways you might unintentionally create isolation while dealing with loneliness during divorce is exclusively process in your head. You have three different types of people in your sphere of influence right now:
- people who want to help and don’t know how ~ they may take your silence on the matter as a desire to avoid the topic altogether. They’ll isolate themselves from you in order to give you space. These are the people you’re going to really want when you’re dealing with loneliness after divorce. Create healthful habits with these people now.
- people who really don’t want to grow through this, they just want the ‘old’ you back as quickly as possible ~ they will want to be the “fun” friends but won’t really learn how to support you otherwise. Talking about it create a natural distance from their expectations and timelines. Later, when you’re on the other side of this setback, you’ll have friends to let loose with once you’re ready (and if you decide you still want these kinds of friends).
- people who don’t care, don’t wan to help ~ let them go. When you’re open about your divorce these people self select themselves right out of your life. That’s fantastic!! Because you want a healthy, fresh start with as little of your old, unhelpful patterns as possible.
I’m NOT advising you to beat a dead horse or open up to people who aren’t safe. I’m saying that when you have new thoughts, feelings and hope arise be open with your insights with friends who care and can help you reflect and process what you’re going through.
The stigma of divorce dissolves as you face it head on and talk about it with people who matter. You also set yourself up for success the “after divorce” stage, too. Both are critical elements to staving of the temptation to hermit yourself away.
five Foster your new relationships
Like the “Magical Helpers” in Joseph Campbell’s deconstruction of the hero’s journey, you will have people you never knew had gone through this suddenly show up.
These relationships will help you heal the “no one gets it” story built before you started this process. They may even be some of your closest friends moving forward.
Let them in.
Loneliness is a variegated experience. Ups and downs so mixed together it’s hard to tell where one shade ends and the next begins. The important thing to remember is that you’re allowed to feel whatever it is you feel while you’re on this journey. Bringing these practices into play will help you prevent those temporary feelings from becoming permanent beliefs. You may learn quite a lot about who you are and where you’re going as well!!
A few simple steps can sure feel complicated once you try to implement them. If you get stuck or need something more concrete to help you process your divorce experience download the “What Did I Do To Deserve This?! Journal & Ebook“ for free.
Triffany is a certified professional life coach who helps strong women tame their inner hot mess. She’s developed a course specifically designed to help women ensure their loss doesn’t get the best of them. Sign up for Conscious Transitions: A Home Study Course In Grief & Growth today.