LILY Letter 59: Adjusting to Being Single Again

May 24, 2022

For me, the loneliness began before the formal separation as I watched my former wife disconnect and disengage. We lived in the same house, on different floors, for about 18 months. It created a toxic atmosphere that I found depleting both emotionally and physically. After I moved out of our home, it occurred to me that I had never really lived alone before. Even considering two short, unofficial separations, I had only lived alone for about 5 months of the past four decades.

I wasn’t used to living alone and I hated it. When you are used to living in a home full of people and activity, the silence is oppressive. Sometimes I would just turn on the TV to create background noise when I wasn’t even watching it. I know how lonely many of you are. It is popular in the singles community to say, “you have to get used to being alone and loving yourself before you are ready to love someone else.” There is a point to that, and I sometimes coach on it because the most important thing you can bring to a new marriage is a happy self. But even the most well-adjusted single person is not living his or her optimal life. Let’s be very honest about this. As God Himself said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). So, in helping you to be happy as a single person, I am not trying to tell you that being alone should not be lonely. I am not trying to cure normal.

I have a few suggestions as you begin this journey:

1. Create a support system. I cannot emphasize the importance of connection enough to ease your heartache.

2. Radical acceptance is a key to healing. Radical acceptance means accepting your situation for what it is--without trying to explain it away. There may be things you can do to make changes--such as proactively creating a support system. But there is a lot you do not have control over too. Accepting where you are does not mean that you resign yourself to being single and broke forever. It does mean accepting the fact that you are single and broke now, that your former spouse is not coming back, and that your future happiness is largely up to you.

3. Start creating your own identity. Do a few things you have always wanted to do to begin reclaiming your own identity after a lengthy marriage. That can be anything from taking up new hobbies (or old ones you had given up) to redecorating your living space. Use your imagination and have fun with it.

4. Do fun activities. Sitting home stewing about how unfair your divorce was is not good for anyone. Rediscover how much fun there is to be had in life. There is no one in your life to tell you no except yourself.

5. Undertake a spiritual and personal development journey. Get good books like Intentional Courtship and other books that encourage you to live a more intentional life, find meaning in the things you do, and do the things you find meaning in. Spend significant time in the scriptures and in prayer.

6. Face your finances. If you are experiencing financial problems, the place to begin is in organizing and resolving to improve your situation day by day and decision by decision. Trust me, even though it feels overwhelming, once you get organized you are going to feel a lot better, even if the picture it paints is not very pretty.

7. Date. I am not suggesting you should run out and get married or immediately replace your spouse with a serious girlfriend or boyfriend. At first, just date for fun. Let your partners know that you are recently divorced and still getting your life together, and you are taking things slow in dating.

We have compassion for everyone who finds themselves newly single and feeling lost. That is why we wrote Intentional Courtship and started LILY. These suggestions include some hard-won wisdom about where to start. However, the journey is still mostly up to you. Will you take it from here and implement it? Will you read good books and do fun activities and alter your thinking and face your finances and make friends? The choice is yours.

FEATURED THIS WEEK

LILY Pod Episode 71: Finding Love After Death & Divorce with Stephanie Parrish (112min) LISTEN OPTION

LILY Tube Interview: Finding Love After Death & Divorce with Stephanie Parrish (112min) WATCH OPTION

LILY Tube Video: Adjusting to Being Single Again (20min)

LILY Tube Short: Happy People (1min)

In this week’s podcast, we have a special guest, Stephanie Parrish, who has experienced both divorce and widowhood. For those who would like to increase their understanding of both, this is a must listen/watch (available on LILY Pod and LILY Tube). In our weekly video, we dive deep into the topic of adjusting to being single again after losing a partner. Our featured short is a quick snippet on happy people (Stephanie is a good example of being happy and hopeful in spite of the many losses and challenges she has endured).

To get a copy of "Intentional Courtship" on Amazon and create more love in your life in 2022, visit Intentional Courtship.

If you enjoy this letter, forward to a friend. Our goal is to support as many mid-singles and later-married couples as possible!

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