After years of been together, it can be very daunting thinking of a future alone. Through tough times, happy times and every day life, we had someone by our side. We never thought we would be on our own, as we thought we had a partner for life.
Anytime we had a problem at work, we could talk it through with our partner gaining advice, opinion and support. If we had a family member who needed our help, our partner stepped up at home so we could focus on the crisis. If one of the kids were in trouble, we would unite to resolve the problem. It felt like been part of a team, which we now feel like we have been evicted from.
The emptiness we feel when we are home alone can feel like part of us is missing. We somehow don’t feel complete. Some people hurriedly try to fill that void with another relationship so they are not alone in life, whilst others may hibernate from social occasions feeling too vulnerable to face the world alone.
Shifting from coupledom to singledom can be a tough transition, especially for those who were not the initiator of the breakup.
The initiator can feel a sense of freedom, liberation, as though a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. The sense of responsibility or obligation to someone else may feel like the shackles have been removed, giving them a sense of excitement and enthusiasm to go out and enjoy life to the full.
For those who feel abandoned may feel rejected, hurt and angry their world has been turned upside down. They feel the loss of certainty, loss of their perceived future, and loss of companionship. They feel alone in life, even if they are surrounded by others. Their significant other has gone, leaving them feeling like an empty shell.
To go out with their coupled friends can make them feel the loss as they are all in pairs, leaving you feeling like a left-over sock from the dryer, missing its other half. Like losing its other half, has lost its functioning purpose.
It can take some time to adjust to being on your own. It may feel daunting to make decisions without input, making you feel indecisive as you question your own ability to make a decision. You may still act as though you are still married, terrified someone of the opposite sex may approach you or you may avoid eye contact even though you are a single person. Many who are heartbroken can self- sabotage with comfort food fuelling their need to be invisible to possible advances from the opposite sex. Even thinking of what the future holds may feel scary, so you may feel in limbo unable to let go of the past and unable to perceive what the future holds. Starting over again can feel very daunting when our emotional state is so vulnerable.
The key is to gain confidence through rebuilding self-worth and self-esteem. Confidence is key to rebuilding your life after a breakup. It’s time to get to know who you really are. You may have been a wife or husband or partner for so long, that somehow that role seemed to have defined who you were. Now it’s time to seek who you really are, not the person you morphed into as part of a couple. We don’t notice the changes about ourselves when we have been in a long-term relationship.
Sometimes friends or family have noticed the changes over the years and wonder where the old you had gone. You may have had a good sense of humour, been more outgoing, the life of the party, or followed your passion in life that you gave up when you entered a relationship. They see you were consumed by the relationship and lost yourself.
Being alone again gives you the opportunity to uncover your true self, understand who you really are, find your passion, enabling you to transform yourself and your life.
See who the positive influences are in your life and what characteristics you admire in them. These are characteristics you want to adopt for yourself too. They could be characteristics such as optimistic, positive thinking, courage, kindness etc
Think about what your positive characteristics are and what friends and family might say about you. These might be hardworking, supportive, problem solver, funny, caring, thoughtful, generous, kind etc
Remind yourself and accentuate your positive characteristics so you are living your best self. Sometimes, conflict could have been so high with the ex that you were being put down, called names or made to feel worthless. If it goes on for too long, we can even start to believe it ourselves! Often, after a breakup we can be sad, angry, negative, and resentful which are just how we feel, not who we truly are. Process those feelings through journaling, artwork, exercise, meditation or doing charity work as an outline to feel better about yourself and your circumstances.
We may have lost the desire for self-care, since our ex no longer cares for us. This is when self-care is so important to help us feel good. Doing exercise, eating healthy and getting enough sleep helps us build stamina and strength to rebuild our life.
In the absence of love from a significant other, we need self-love to accept ourselves as we are, knowing we are worthy of love and that there are others that love us in life such as family, children and friends.
To build our self-worth and confidence will give us strength to face the world alone until we are healed ready to let someone else into our life. To let go of old emotional attachments, sentimental trinkets that trigger memories, and recreate a vision of a future happy life, will bring us peace and happiness.
So don’t spend years in breakup purgatory, accelerate your recovery so that you can create your best life yet!
Author – Cheryl Duffy, Divorce Coach, Mediator & Author