Nobody enters a relationship expecting it to end, but the reality is that many do. Divorce rates peaked in the 1980s with 40% of marriages coming to an end, but since then the rates have decreased, although that figure is slightly misleading. The decline could be because there is less stigma attached to cohabiting, single parenthood is less stigmatized and people aren’t seeking marriage to put an Elastoplast on an unstable relationship. Everyone’s divorce or separation story is different, but the effects are universally the same. Here are 5 tips to help you through your time as a newly single person.
Give Yourself Time
Coming out of a long-term relationship is much like a period of grief. You need to mourn the loss of what you once had. You may have had very necessary reasons to split, and be happy that you are out of a situation that made you so unhappy, but a separation is still a loss. There are five recognized stages of grief, and they are equally applicable to separation.
In the early days of separation, you may feel a sense of denial about the situation, especially if you did not instigate the split. Denial is a strong defense mechanism and can make you feel numb from the shock.
As the reality of the situation dawns on you, feelings of frustration and denial may turn into anger. You need to be aware of this so that you don’t take it out on those nearest and dearest to you.
This is the stage where you look back and think about what you should have, could have and would have done differently. While reflection on your behavior and reactions is necessary for self-growth and development, you need to understand that there were two people in your relationship, and one of those you have no control over.
Depression is often experienced when the enormity of your situation becomes clear to you. You may have spent many years in your relationship, and naturally feel very sad at its loss. A change in circumstance and uncertainty about your future can trigger depression, so you must try to recognize whether you are very sad, or whether your sadness has taken a turn towards clinical depression.
This is the final stage of grief and loss. It is at this point that you accept your new reality, and although you have great sadness, you are in the position to move forward with your life.
Work Through Your Feelings
You will more than likely experience stages 1-4 on a daily basis, and your feelings will change as time goes by. Don’t dwell on these feelings, but acknowledge they will happen, and accept them when they do. Reach out to friends or see a therapist to work through your feelings. You may have feelings of regret or rejection that you do not need to carry with you in your life. Negative emotions can pollute your future, so seek a way to leave your past behind you. You may not be keen on therapy, but it is a great way to help you work towards a happy and healthy future.
Who Are You?
It may be such a long time ago that you were last single, that you have almost forgotten who you are. You need to take your time to rediscover what makes you tick. Perhaps you have let friendship groups slide, or let a once loved hobby fall by the wayside; now is the time to figure out what makes you happy. After all, you will be a very different person now compared to the person you once were.
Use this time to reconnect with who you are, to restore your confidence and your faith in your ability to make the right decisions. You may have the urge to make other big life-changing decisions, but it is best to wait a while and let the dust settle. You do not want to make decisions that are knee-jerk reactions to your new situation; be aware that this can be a period of great vulnerability.
Discover the New You
A loss is a loss, and where once you had a relationship, whether it was good or not, you now have space, and although your separation may have been an unwelcome experience, there is a silver lining. You can now assess your life and where you want it to go. Perhaps you have always wanted to go back to education, travel, try a new sport, or even get a tattoo. Whatever was holding you back has now dissolved, and you are the master of your destiny – albeit you may have children to consider, and a diminished budget – but the fact that you could do these things if you so choose to, is a great motivator to accomplish your more realistic goals!
Embrace Your Future Relationships
It’s ok to be alone, and you need to have time to recover from your relationship ending. Being alone does not mean you have to be socially isolated, it just means not being in a relationship while you regain your balance in life. You will be able to meet new friends and make connections that you previously wouldn’t have had the opportunity to.
There will come a time when you feel ready to move on and have a new relationship; you will be able to explore different types of people to reignite your passion. Dating may have moved on a lot since you were last on the dating scene, but now a successful method to find a partner is online. For example, Meet Soulmates can help make a match in heaven, and bring you one step closer to finding your soulmate. Do not lose out on hope, and realize that the path of finding soulmates can be a difficult one. Persevere, and have fun with it.
Life rarely goes to plan; it throws curve balls and challenges at you. It is how you deal with the unexpected that shapes your future. Coming out of a long-term relationship is one of those challenges that can make your life feel like it is spiraling out of control, but you must allow yourself time to grieve for the loss of your relationship, evaluate what you want, and make giant steps to achieve it. Good Luck!