One of the most difficult things to do is to live a solitary life when the majority of one’s lifetime was spent with someone. Losing someone to divorce, separation or in the worst case, death, is devastating. Its impact to the individual is deep and intense. Having the old vigor in one’s self can be a challenge.
Psychologists and psychiatrists alike agree that it takes patience, effort, time and even attitude to get over the emotional loss and start anew. There are even times when grieving people, divorcees and separated individuals have become seriously depressed and hopeless in life. The following guide can be of great help in learning to live alone after losing a partner.
Love and care for yourself. This can be especially difficult since the person for whom the other partner cares and loves is gone. The mentality of the person who lost a partner may be: why would I bother to tend to myself what’s the point when he or she will not see me, feel me. However, knowing that there is life after a major loss can be a good start to give love to one-self again. The motivating factor can be the children, family, friends and life itself. Express your emotions. It is not only helpful to express whatever emotion is threatening to explode from within; it is also healthy and medical and psychological professionals even recommend it. The outpouring of thoughts and emotions may not always be verbal.
At times, it is best to have them written. In many incidences, a Journal can be your best ally. Write your anger, anguish and even fears until you have exhausted them all. Some people have even published their Journals to help other people to cope in life.
Never isolate yourself. There are those who tend to withdraw from family members, friends and life in general thinking that they are better left alone. Wrong. It is at time like this that you do need company. The idea is not to have an opportunity to sink into deep emotional pain.
Of course, it is different when you need time to recover alone no one can do that for you. That can happen over time. Nevertheless, to live alone in a house or apartment can feel lonelier than ever. Worst, it can invite unhealthy ideas. If being alone is really hard for you the best thing to do is to temporarily live with a close family member or friend until you feel stronger. Even if you still have children at home, it is still different when you have the company of another adult around you.
It is very important not to make major changes immediately because often they turn out to be the wrong thing to do. Some people move to another place right away only to find 6 months or a year down the road that it was the worst thing that they could have done and ends up being very costly. For sure some find living in another house or apartment can be a good suggestion but don’t make rash decisions. Others find comfort by living in the same place they have lived with their partners and having the memories and possessions of their lost loved one around them.
Be active. Join groups or community organizations that offer outreach programs. They can be a good diversion of emotions and thoughts and a great way to meet new people. Some would say that avoiding the pain of loss will prevent them from recovering, however, it is better to be productive than to stay at home with just your thoughts.
Seek professional help. People who have gone through separation, divorce or death of loved one often find comfort talking about their emotions to a therapist. This can help them to get things into perspective and get back into the reality of life.
Acceptance. Only when there is acceptance of reality can someone finally be ready to live a full life again. After accepting the loss, the pain subsides and eventually the person recovers and becomes ready to face life again. It is so true that time is a great healer!
After the initial loneliness and grief subsides many single again individuals start to gain more independence and become very comfortable living alone. The key is to know the difference between being lonely and being alone. They are two very different things. You can live alone and not be at all lonely, especially when you have friends and family and get out and socialize. Loneliness is when you isolate yourself from the world. Stay involved with Life!
Vanessa T and Shirley P