Can’t Stand Solitude

Recently my wife left me after 19 years of marriage. I am 48 years old and I find it hard to go out and socialize. It is killing me slowly, I need someone in my life, I cannot take the solitude anymore.

Help me please,

Bob

Dear Bob,

Change is never easy – even when it’s for the better. Being part of a couple for 19 years and suddenly being single again is going to be a major jolt to your system. Adjusting to your new reality as a single person will create upheaval and take you through a whole range of emotions. Like that train at a fun fair entering a dark tunnel surprising you whether it’s a scary Horror House or some magical world. But which ride are you going to line up for?

You have to find yourself again before entering a new relationship. Otherwise what sort of foundation will it have? You don’t want to be tolerating unacceptable behaviour just so you won’t be left alone. And no one likes being used as a crutch, you won’t be much fun to be around whether you’ll be bitter, taking it out on a new partner, nostalgic or overly clingy.

There is a grieving process that you are going through which is natural – allow yourself this time. It is normal to experience sadness, anger, exhaustion, frustration and confusion. Or to feel anxious about the future. Keep in mind that over time the intensity of these feelings will diminish. Don’t be too hard on yourself, it is ok to be less productive at work or less giving towards others for a while – we are not machines and most people can relate.

When it feels like the rug has been swept out from under your feet, finding ways to centre yourself again will give you clarity, energy and a sharper intuition. Practising yoga, tai chi, meditation – anything that will help you find your balance – will bring you inner peace. Maybe more than ever before, actually. Deciding which paths to follow on your healing process will then become natural and effortless, whether it’s coming across a website or bumping into someone who will give you a contact number for a therapist, a book that might inspire you, a new genre of music or artist you’d stumble on that would bring comfort or new friends to add to your support network.

It is also very important now more than ever to eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep and physical exercise to get those endorphins flowing and move along any heavy stuck energy. These are all things you have control over. With regards to socialising, it doesn’t have to be parties, bars or clubbing. A football match, a gig or concert, joining a club of people who share the same interest, volunteering with an environment group or charity, will get you mixing with others. While staying in, nourishing yourself inwardly for a while when you are feeling vulnerable, is healthy and better than just throwing yourself out there just for the sake of it, do not isolate yourself either. You might also consider giving a pet a loving home who will give you companionship and unconditional love in return.

Yes, change is challenging and we might not be ready for it but by nourishing yourself now, your perception will shift from feeling depleted and miserable to seeing it as an adventure, a journey you’ll embark on with curiosity.