Break-Ups And Exes

Adjusting to Living alone



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Breakups come in all forms. Some are initiated after a lengthy period of unhappiness, some are forced by a partner's demands, some are permanent, and others are temporary and for the purpose of getting time away from one another. It depends largely on which kind of a breakup you experience, how you will adjust to living alone.

A breakup that occurs as a result of failed attempts to live harmoniously with a partner or spouse will be a more difficult circumstance, and adjusting to living alone will be much more of a challenge. However, challenge is the key word. Anything so difficult can be less overwhelmingly painful if it is seen as a challenge to be conquered. Living alone will be a very different kind of life, and getting used to it will depend on your ability to be resourceful, as well as your willingness to muster every bit of strength you possess. Sometimes you will need to dig deeply within to find that strength.

It will feel, at times, much like the grief you experience after the death of a loved one. All of the ways in which you shared your life will now be solely yours to navigate. At times, you will be sad, and you will mourn the loss of the relationship. Other times, you'll be contemplative, thinking abut the breakup from all angles. Sometimes, you'll be glad it's over and you'll be determined to move ahead with your life, taking satisfaction in the knowledge that this relationship or marriage was not meant to be.

When breakups are temporary, there may be a period of euphoria in which you feel free and courageous - the sky is the limit as far as finding out what you can do with your life while you're away from your relationship. You may feel that if it comes back together, it's fine. If it doesn't, that's fine, too. It may be a happy learning experience for you, or it may be a sad and lonely time. It may be both, alternating between the moods. Under these circumstances, you'll be fairly sure that since the situation is probably temporary, you can adjust to living alone without too much trauma for the time being. The lessons you learn at this time will be valuable to you throughout your future, no matter what it holds.

In any situation where a breakup has occurred and you're living alone... just you and your variety of moods and emotions... you'll need to learn how to adjust.

Here are a few tips to make the change from partnered life to single life.

First, make sure you are secure. By this, we mean secure in all areas - in the safety and security of your home, apartment, condo, etc., in your finances, in your employment, in your family and friends support group, and in all the other areas of your life. While your marriage or relationship has unraveled, the rest of your life goes on. The less turmoil you experience and the more support you receive from family, friends, and co-workers, the more at ease you will feel and the sooner you will adjust.

You will need to learn to do a great many things on your own that you never had to do before. This is especially true if you've had a marital breakup after many years with a spouse. What he or she always took care of, you need to do now by yourself. Some things will come easily and naturally. Other things will take a bit of persistence and maybe some help from time to time. Be patient with yourself.

It is a new way of life - remind yourself of that from time to time. Most people do not find living alone easy at first, but eventually it becomes more doable and less intimidating. Many fear living alone - it's the last thing in the world they wanted to do or imagined having to do. Having friends and family to rely on for a chat or a bit of moral support now and then will go a long way toward reassuring you that you are doing just fine or helping you through if you're not. If you do not have any kind of a support system in family and friends, make some new friends. One way to do this is by joining a support group. You can also frequent bookstores, coffee houses, or any other place where like-minded people converge. The more time you spend around groups of other people, the less time you'll have to dwell on your new solitary lifestyle. Being around other people will undoubtedly be one of the best remedies for the temptation to give in to feelings of sadness and loneliness. Make friends. Enjoy the time spent with them.

Pick up some new interests. Your life may consist of work, eating, and sleeping. You need to expand on that. Perhaps some online classes would help keep your spare time busy, involvement in a church or a volunteer program would interest you, or a return to some sport or exercise routine would be just the ticket. Get out of the house whenever there's an opportunity. If you're invited out, go. If you're debating about a trip, take the trip. If you're considering a visit to some old friends, by all means, go visit. This is to say that falling into a routine of working, eating, and sleeping is not a good thing. The broader your lifestyle, the better you'll do at adjusting to living alone. Life can be very full.

Finally, realize that sometimes living life alone is best for some people. Give this some careful, deep thought. Bolster your strength by eating right, sleeping the right amount of hours for you each night and keeping a regular sleep schedule, getting enough exercise, pampering yourself a little now and then with a trip to the beauty salon or the spa if you can arrange it, keeping a check on any health situations you may have, and generally treating yourself well.

If you have difficulty adjusting to living alone after you've given it a good try, it may be a good idea to try some talking therapy with a good counselor or therapist. That person will pick up on your strengths and weaknesses, show you how to expand on your strengths and how to overcome your weaknesses. He or she can guide you through your vulnerable times and reaffirm your courageous times. The feedback you get through therapy will be invaluable to you in the adjustment to living alone. If you need help coming to terms with this new lifestyle, look for a counselor who will work with you to develop strategies for living alone and making it enjoyable.

More about this author: Dr. G. A. Anderson

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