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Going through a divorce can emotionally impact each spouse differently. One may be able to bounce back quickly and move on to explore other relationships, while the other may struggle to recover—resulting in feelings of loneliness and sadness. Not only can a divorce have a lasting impact on a spouse, but it can also disrupt everything that was familiar, and what was once considered safe and stable.
People that are more emotionally dependent upon their partner tend to experience a greater loss when going through a divorce. The physical and emotional disconnect that’s associated with the divorce process can contribute to feelings of inadequacy, fear, rejection, confusion, loss, rejection, and insecurity. But there are two more dreadful emotions that are associated with a divorce; including loneliness and sadness.
According to authors Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., Gina Kemp, M.A., and Melinda Smith, a divorce can lead you into some uncharted emotional territories, disrupting everything in its path during the process; including your normal household routines and responsibilities, your professional and work life, as well as the relationships that you have with your extended family and friends. Not only is a divorce untimely, but it also creates uncertainty. Its overwhelming impact can leave you feeling hopeless if not addressed properly. There is hope, and methods for dealing with loneliness and sadness associated with divorce, so a person can get on the road to recovery and heal.
The Best Way to Deal with Loneliness and Sadness
Since a divorce impacts so many areas, coping with it and sorting through the pain can take time. But with the proper guidance, it is manageable.
First, there are several approaches that one can take when dealing with sadness and loneliness. However, some are healthy and encourage recovery, whereas others are just a façade that could make matters worse.
When recovering from loneliness and sadness, it’s important that actions immediately following the divorce contribute to overall health and emotional wholeness. Here are some tips about what to do and what not to do to deal with and recover from loneliness and sadness from a divorce.
What to Do
Accept Your Losses
One way to address and get past loneliness is to simply accept the fact that being lonely and feeling sad is a natural reaction to going through a divorce. Addressing the sadness is a natural part of the recovery and healing process. It’s basically a natural reaction to the change that has just taken place in life, knowing that life must move on without the person one hoped to spend life with.
Acknowledge and Process Emotions
Oftentimes, other emotions trigger feelings of loneliness and sadness. For example, if the other spouse has moved on it may lead to thoughts of jealousy, which alternately makes one feel lonely and sad all over again. However, recognizing these feelings so that they can be addressed can actually help through the recovery process, as one begins to address and acknowledge the reactions.
Open Up and Talk About It
In addition to loneliness and sadness, one may also be feeling shameful about the divorce and how it’s impacted life. This can lead to isolation and keeping feelings bottled inside. However, a very powerful path to recovery is to talk about everything.
Opening up and communicating with others about the feelings and thoughts that lie within can also be very healthy. It isn’t always necessary to speak with a therapist or a divorce counselor per se’, although it certainly won’t hurt talking with a professional about one’s feelings. It also works with a trusted loved one or responsible friend. Dealing with loneliness and sadness, a byproduct of the grief, after being separated, can help in taking a good, hard look at the situation, so one may begin taking steps to move on.
Continuing to hold on to your thoughts and feelings will continue to give another person the power. But talking about it releases this hold. Not only does one begin to build themself up again, but they will also begin to feel free. Talking allows us to begin on the path toward emotional healing and wholeness.
Embrace Feedback from Others
Sharing feelings with a trusted soul is helpful, and it’s also important to embrace feedback. Not only are these individuals a good sounding board, but they can also allow us to see things from a different perspective, all in the spirit of offering support and recovery.
What Not to Do
Starting a New Relationship with Someone Else Too Soon
One of the things that should not be done to address sadness and loneliness is to turn to someone else in hopes of starting a new relationship. Unfortunately, this approach can be tragic as one has not been provided enough time to heal and fully recover from the previous relationship.
Entering into a new relationship before having time to heal creates mountains of problems. For starters, a person will be transferring unresolved issues into the new relationship, while exposing emotional baggage that will put a strain on both partners.
Avoid Toxic Interactions that Don’t Add to Emotional Wholeness
Now that the relationship is over, there are people who may have their own ill feelings, thoughts, and opinions about the divorce or former spouse. This can trigger all forms of negativity as they expose us to toxic conversations that will not aid in the recovery process. It’s very important to only engage in conversations with people who can add value to a situation and help put things in perspective while avoiding those who will prolong the overall recovery process.
In other words, be sure to communicate with the right people who are both trustworthy and practical, and have one’s best interest at heart.
Don’t Go Through this Process Alone
In beginning the path to recovery, one never has to do it alone. Reach out to support groups, counselors, and others who can provide the loving support needed, and help avoid delaying the much-needed recovery process.
Making adjustments to your thoughts and feelings should take place while adjustments are being made to your new life. Getting sound guidance as early in the process as possible will help in making the right decisions sooner, rather than later. There are professionals available if you feel like you could use some extra support in overcoming your loneliness and sadness from a divorce.