How to Deal with Loneliness in Your Post-Divorce Life

For today’s conversation about how to deal with loneliness, I want us to think about loneliness on a spectrum. We’re not talking about a vague feeling of loneliness, like you need to make plans with someone. We’re talking about the kind of loneliness that feels debilitating, and we associate it with grief and heartache – where you cannot stand or tolerate being alone.

The intensity of the emotion will dictate which action to take and how much to take.

How to Manage Loneliness

What are some of the little tricks you do to feel less lonely and a little warmer in your post-divorce life? After my divorce, I was always very grateful for my dog because I would just let her sleep in the bed with me. I didn’t love to come home to a dark house, so I’d always leave certain lamps on.

Get Connected With Others and Within

Loneliness is a clue that you need to get connected. Go hang out with somebody. Have a meaningful conversation. Do a little journaling.

When you feel a light sort of loneliness, it’s a prompt to do something. But heavier loneliness is a clue that there’s something deeper going on to do with your attachment style, your identity, and how deep your relationship is with yourself.

a woman's hand is touching the shadow of another hand on the wall, how to deal with loneliness to Create a Secure Attachment Style

Create a Secure Attachment Style

Is loneliness normal? Absolutely. But we’re talking about the kind of loneliness that feels crushing. When you have an anxious attachment style, have children, and get divorced, those children are now often away. In this case, you may experience a much more intense loneliness. This is a clue that there are early attachment-style issues that you need to start healing.

This is your time to start doing some inner child work and look at those parts of you that feel deeply insecure.

Debilitating loneliness tells us that there’s a part of you in your mind and your heart that feels like you are unsafe being alone. We must manage that part of you to understand that you are safe.

You need to go on a journey where you become responsible for self-soothing.

Of course, we women need our people, but you also are responsible for calling your people or asking for help to self-soothe.

There tends to be resentment among folks with an anxious attachment style who don’t want to have to soothe themselves. Clients say to me, “I don’t want to have to. Too many people let me down along the way who should have helped soothe me, and now it feels overwhelming to me, and I feel resentful that I have to do it.” I get it; I do. But a healthier version of you is possible.

Find Out Who You Are

With debilitating loneliness, we women have often become overidentified with our roles in life. We confuse the roles of “wife,” “mother,” or “friend” with who we are.

So when you start removing roles like “wife” and so many people are coupled up and have children, you may feel like you have very little in common with your peer group and feel like less of a person.

That’s a clue that you have some work to do around getting to know who you are at your core—not just your titles or your roles that are fulfilled. If this is the case, it’s a lot harder to feel a grounded sense of self-confidence and worth.

I want you to do some exploring there. Do you over-identify with your roles and need a deeper sense of who you are?

a bunch of spiritual stones in a basket, with words like believe, thank, joy, hope, grace, trust and pray on them.

Have Faith

The third clue that you’re experiencing debilitating loneliness could have to do with your faith. For many of us, our faith has been an intellectual process for a long time. It’s something we’ve known and connected with at various times. We’ve had meaningful experiences in churches or spiritual places but maybe have not developed a truly deep, meaningful relationship with God in a way that feels very real to us.

When I say God, I don’t necessarily mean a person with a white beard who’s sitting on a throne in heaven.

I think it’s a much larger concept than that: A power greater than myself, who is actively engaged in our lives, is here to participate, and is woven into every experience.

In psychology, there’s a concept called the Self – the part of our psychology that is unaffected by traumas, pains, and hurts. In a lot of religions, there’s the idea of the soul or a wise self. These concepts all intertwine.

There is a constant part of us that is steady, runs deep, and is always available if we turn within and nurture that relationship. Debilitating loneliness is also a clue for you about deepening that relationship with that part of you.

Tips On How to Overcome Loneliness

Believe it or not, loneliness can be one of the easiest pieces to address and one of the most rewarding pieces to overcome early on in the divorce process.

Have an Open Mindset

You need to have a mindset that’s open and willing to take some leaps of faith, as well as the ability to have an open heart. Be a joiner.

When I was going through a divorce, I joined a lot of things. I joined churches. I joined a women’s therapy group. We women need a supportive network around us. To this day, some of the people who I connected with back then are some of my dearest family of choice. I am very close with them, and they are the people I call when I am in a crisis. These women were there for me when I most needed them. These women changed my life.

a group of women sitting on the beach, comforting a friend, how to deal with loneliness

Vulnerability

Vulnerability is also a key part of the healing puzzle.

The willingness to share your deepest, darkest stuff can be transformative.

Many of us prefer 1:1 therapy, but I will tell you that sharing in a group has its place and purpose. It is massively rewarding to do group work in this season of life after divorce. Any place we’re having trouble being vulnerable is the place where we’re holding back.

Practice Self Acceptance

We women are our most cruel judges. We are harder on ourselves than anyone will ever be.  

Practice self-acceptance and give yourself grace.

Start Immersive Journaling

I want you to explore my meaningful journaling process called the Loneliness Road Map, and it is the next best thing to being in a session with me. It’s a tool for getting into areas of your heart and mind that have been walled off, closed off, or shut down.

woman with blonde curly hair in her pajamas holding a pillow over head, screaming

Get Unstuck

I want you to get curious during your loneliness. I want you to cry. I want you to feel. I want you to get into your body. I want you to dance. I want you to turn on music.

I want you to move. I want you to scream into a pillow. I want you to call someone and pour out your heart. I want you to connect with someone who can hold you, who is not necessarily someone of the opposite sex. I want you to pray. I want you to write gratitude lists. I want you to get freaking curious. I want you to talk to the little girl inside of you. I want you to send me a DM.

I want you to connect deeply in some way, not numb and not disconnect.

How you deal with loneliness will be a game changer in how long you get or stay stuck in your divorce healing journey, and it will be a game changer in making better relationship choices moving forward.

I’m here for you. I love you. You’ve got this.

Divorce recovery coach Dawn Wiggins

...helps people crack open. Challenging the status quo, she integrates multiple modalities from EMDR to EFT tapping, journaling, homeopathy, and movement, embracing remedies that heal both the mind and body. Divorce recovery coach Dawn Wiggins is on a mission to deliver life-changing therapy in an accessible, scalable, affordable way and make waves in the world of mental health with the same enlightenment that happens in her office. Part science, part essential oils, pure magic.

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