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Overcoming loneliness when you divorce in mid-life

Being alone at any age, particularly if it is not by choice, can be pretty scary. But the loneliness that can envelop you when you get divorced later in life can be truly disorienting and overwhelming. Wasn’t this supposed to be the prime time of your life? A time when you and your spouse could bask in each other’s company as independent empty nesters?

Unfortunately, sometimes things turn out vastly different than we planned or hoped. Through no fault of your own, you are now living life single, at least for the moment. It can be especially tough because you are older. You may not be as resilient and receptive to fresh challenges as you were at, say, 30 or 40.

Although it can be hard at first, this chapter of your life can actually be filled with promise and new adventures – if you’re open to them.

How to cope with being alone

Once the shock of getting divorced has passed, think about what you can do to elevate your spirits and get back into the mainstream of things:

  • Make peace with the realization that others may not grasp what you are experiencing: Unless they have endured something similar, even close friends and family might not identify with your pain. Despite that, they can still be there for you.
  • Get involved: Opportunities to connect with people are out there: Taking a volunteer position, signing up for a class or developing a new hobby are just a few suggestions.
  • Don’t expect too much from yourself right away: You are continuing to adjust. Small first steps are fine.
  • Refresh yourself outdoors: Nature can take your thoughts off the hardships in your life, even briefly. It’s hard to be gloomy amidst lovely flowers, birds, trees and anything else in full spring bloom.

Don’t choose isolation during or after your divorce

Let others help. Asking for support, companionship or advice is a sign of strength, not weakness. Professionals are there for you if you need them – to work through your feelings, assist with the details of your divorce and make sure your future is protected.