When someone loses a spouse through death or divorce, that loss can be devastating. A period of mourning follows, even in the case of divorce, because of not fulfilling the dreams they had for the relationship. However there comes a time when life has to begin again, and many singles feel lost in making this transition.
- Get to know yourself.
When a couple has been together for a while, the choices they make on where to have dinner, how to decorate their home, their personal choice in clothing, or other decisions are usually made together. After a divorce, each person may not know his or her own likes and dislikes. Take some time to try new things. Learn your favorite foods, what hobbies you enjoy, where you like to go for dining or entertainment. This can be a time of experimentation and can be enjoyable. You will find that many of the things you've always done may not have been your own personal choice.
- Give yourself time.
Therapists recommend a minimum of one year after a divorce to get grounded as a person and avoid rebound relationships. A year is only a guideline. Some people may need longer in order to feel they have gotten themselves grounded. Be patient with yourself and don't rush things. Rebound relationships are not fair to either party.
- Join some groups or clubs that interest you.
Many newly single people join a divorce recovery group and that is the first interaction they have with others as a single person. It can be helpful to find a group you can be a part of, whether it's a writer's group, bird watching, book club, or whatever you like. Getting out there and getting involved will help you move forward in your life.
- Make new friends and develop a support system.
Some of your married friends may not feel comfortable socializing with a single person, especially if they are also friends with your spouse. You may find you have more in common with other singles, so seek out people that have common interests. This may be the time to strengthen relationships with your biological family. Having someone to talk to during this transition can make it much easier to cope.
- Have fun.
Life is different as a single but that doesn't mean it can't be fun and fulfilling. More and more people today choose to remain single, and thoroughly enjoy the single lifestyle. They list advantages such as not having to ask someone how to spend their money, eating whenever they feel like it and not on someone else's schedule, and not having to share a bathroom! Think of the good things that being single has done for you. Take time to enjoy yourself and laugh often. Laughter really is good medicine.
- When you feel you are ready to date, take it slow and easy.
Single people often complain that dating has changed and they don't know the new rules. The only rules are to do what feels comfortable for you. You don't have to conform for anyone. Be yourself and be true to yourself.
By easing through the transition from being half of a couple to being single, you give yourself time to make a life that is happy and fulfilling. Be patient with yourself and you just might find you like being single!