Empty House, Empty Heart

Divorce can leave you feeling a bit fearful of what lies ahead. You may fear living life on your own. What’s even scarier, maybe you imagine being alone, branded a plus none, isolated and lonely. The silence may seem deafening. Perhaps the emptiness of your house reflects your sudden aloneness at every turn, echoing in your empty, broken heart, one shattered into a million pieces by your failed marriage.

This description may be dramatic, but it’s probably not too far off the mark for many survivors of the Big D. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. You can learn how to live alone and even like it. Living independently can be empowering, giving you peace of mind and boosting your self-confidence. Living alone does not have to equal feeling lonely.

Going from being a couple to being single may take some time, so be kind to yourself and be patient. If you’ve never, ever lived alone before, it may take longer, but it’s possible to find happiness and security. Trust yourself. Adjusting your mind-set is the first big step. Be careful not to rush into a relationship (or another marriage) just because it’s easier than being by yourself. Don’t sell yourself short and make mistakes you might regret.

Do you have too much time on your hands? Get a hobby or do something you are passionate about. Do something you haven’t done before. Learn a new language. Take up golf. Better yet, go to the gym. Maybe traveling is your dream. Or get a dog. Get a cat. Get both! A pet’s unconditional love can help when loneliness strikes, and having a furry kid brings pleasure and a sense of purpose.

More importantly, take some time to figure out who you are, what you want, and how to get it. Make plans. If a big empty house is bringing you down, downsize or create rituals you can look forward to. Take a long, leisurely bath whenever you want, read all those books you never seemed to have time for before, watch a whole season of your favorite TV series or maybe all three extended edition Lord of the Rings movies.

Stay active. Make plans with your friends. Make new ones. Invite them over for wine and cheese. Find places you like to go: a museum, a book store, or a coffee shop. Go to a movie matinee and get a giant tub of buttered popcorn all for yourself. Some things are better not shared! Go to the park and feed the ducks. The list of things you can do is endless. And no plus one required.

Learning self-love, enjoying your own company and gaining confidence from self-reliance is a long-term benefit for yourself and anyone else that you may choose to share your life with down the road. Just remember you can have a full, happy life, no matter your age or stage of life.