I know this is not the direction you imagined your life taking, and you didn’t wish this for your children or your ex-. But here you are. You are a good person, a good parent and your ex- probably is too. But somewhere along the way, things changed and you realized that although you’re two good people – you’re not a good couple.
I know the prospect of living alone after all this time is overwhelming and scary and you’re probably filled with a sense of panic that rises and falls like the tide of the ocean – Who will fix the broken things? What will it be like sleeping in the bed on your own? Will you find love again? And perhaps what might be the biggest concern, how do you learn to be without your children some of the time? The parenting classes don’t teach you about that.
I can tell you, and which you already know, being alone is not the same as being lonely. There is nothing as lonely as being alone in a relationship.
You are smart and capable and you will figure most things out – you don’t need all the answers right now… but here are my 7 tips for shoving loneliness out the door after separating:
- There is no shame in renting until you find your feet or finalise a financial settlement– but rent to rent, don’t rent a house you would love to buy – save your deposit rather than pay someone else’s mortgage for short-term extravagance. Renting will also give you the opportunity to take time to find a house you want to buy, in the location you want to live.. subject of course to any parenting arrangements in place.
- Work out your budget. You’re going from two incomes to one and so adjustments will need to be made, perhaps Cadburys rather than Haighs chocolate.. just for a little while… I have even been reading about capsule wardrobes this week which is an interesting – and apparently popular idea.
- Phone a friend or two when you need it. People love to help if you will let them – whether it’s a weekly phone chat to get some perspective, a spot of exercise together or asking your friend to stay overnight every so often while you adjust to living alone, or without your children while they spend time with your ex. If you can’t bring yourself to ask for help from a friend or family member, make an appointment to see a psychologist. Your GP will refer you using a mental health plan so that your appointments are covered under Medicare. Alternatively, you can make appointments directly with a psychologist.
- Keep a journal. Writing can be therapeutic. Particularly if you are the type of person who is very self-reliant and can’t bring yourself to talk to friends or family members and you don’t want to speak to a counsellor or psychologist. In my experience, writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal can be as effective as saying them out loud – just don’t let it fester inside.
- Exercise daily. I can honestly say that exercising every day, even for 20 minutes, has helped me deal with stressful situations in my life, including a separation. Even now, daily exercise maintains my sanity juggling three small children and a busy practice. Research suggests exercise helps lower stress by stimulating the production of positive hormones in the body, lifting your mood… you might consider a boxing class useful… or dancing.. yoga.. running.
- Dance. Daily. Force yourself to initially and then it will become part of your daily routine so that you don’t even think about it, you just do. Think Meredith Gray and Cristina Yang; or Tom Cruise and “Risky Business”. Create your own soundtrack of empowering songs. Katy Perry’s “Roar” is but one example…
Above all else,
- Be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself. You are going through one of the most significant events in your life. Give yourself time to grieve not only the end of your relationship, but the future you had imagined. Let yourself cry, often. Accept that from time to time you will feel lonely. But it will get easier. Remind yourself that divorce is really not a terrible thing. No good marriage ever ended in divorce. New opportunities will come your way leading the way for you to thrive and be happy again.
If you have separated and want to know what advice and support I can provide, get in touch and let’s have a chat. I am also available on Saturdays and Sundays, by appointment. You can reach me on 08 7226 3567 or fill out your details here, and I’ll give you a call as soon as I can: [ninja_form id=1]