How to cope with post-separation loneliness

The early days of separation can be hugely challenging. Feelings of loneliness, grief, sadness and anger can feel overwhelming and even around others, you may feel lost and isolated. You will be coming to terms with the breakup of family traditions and holidays; you may feel isolated from certain groups of joint friends; you may be separated from a much-loved pet, and you may also be having to contend with child contact and custody issues.

Do be assured that these feelings are to be expected and are part of the natural grieving process you are going through. Although accepting you will feel lonely and alienated from others is an important part of the healing process, we’ve compiled some advice on coping with those difficult early days.


Time without the children

It is hard to accept that your children will be having experiences that you will not be part of and initially, the hurt of this can feel painfully raw. In the early days, it can help to make the time away from your children all about them. Sort out their clothing, batch cook healthy meals for the freezer, get the admin, chores and cleaning done, so on their return you can focus on enjoying your time with them. Doing this can also help deal with any guilt you may be feeling about the separation.

In time, once your feelings have mellowed, you will see this time as a chance to recharge and an opportunity to focus on things you enjoy like reading, crafting, sport, decorating or meeting friends. Start a positive routine of looking after yourself with good food, exercise, hobbies and activities you enjoy. You could even learn an instrument, a new language or undertake a challenge such as running a marathon.


Learning to live alone

Living alone after time spent cohabiting can feel scary and some may struggle with the adjustment. Try establishing a routine which will keep you on top of chores such as admin and housework. If you are remaining in the family home undertake some deep cleaning and remove anything that evokes sad memories. Changing the décor can also be empowering as you fashion your home to suit your tastes and comfort.

Give yourself time to learn how to be in your house alone – soak in the bath, sort out the garden, read, clear out the wardrobes, write a journal and gradually reclaim the space as your own.


Engage with others

Try to spend some time engaging with and talking to others, even if this is only at work. Ideally make plans to see friends and family but initially, try not to spend lots of time with the happily marrieds. If you need a new friendship group, try volunteering, joining a gym or a community of those involved in one of your interests.

Do not expect people to drop in, invite them over for a meal or a drink, host a bake-off session, start a poker, book or film club. You may also wish to join a support group for separated people with shared experiences to you.

In time, independent living will become more about exploring who you are, what you enjoy and what your goals are, rather than something you must endure. Once you are comfortable with this state you may even see it as a gift of empowerment, peace and renewed self-confidence.


If you are thinking about separation or divorce, we offer an initial no obligation one-hour appointment for just £50 (Incl. VAT), so you can talk through the options specific to your personal circumstances with a qualified family lawyer. To book an appointment, please contact 01444 472700, email or complete the form below.

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