Living life single can be a lonely affair. Even those who are confirmed bachelors or bachelorettes sometimes find themselves wishing for a partner. And for those who are either divorced or widowed, going it alone can be doubly hard. Either your former relationship failed or your spouse passed away. In the case of widowhood, there is the double pain of being alone and not having any choice in the matter.
Grief and loneliness can reduce each day to mere “marking time.” You may feel as if you’ve lost your zest for life and will never feel whole again. If that is the case, you may find both comfort and new hope in a grief counseling group. It’s very encouraging to listen to others’ stories and realize you aren’t alone in your situation. There are others who also go home each night to a quiet, single life. There are others who long for the companionship they once knew in their marriages. Often one of the deepest needs for those left alone is merely a return to “normalcy,” whatever that was in your past relationship.
Grieving the Past
It takes time to heal from a loss. You will remember the good times and wish to return to them. You’ll want to erase the problems that brought you to the decision to divorce or you’ll mourn the death of the person you wanted to be with forever. It’s a positive thing to honestly look at the feelings of sadness, guilt and even anger that can fill your heart as you move toward healing. You may feel that no one could ever replace your partner and that is probably true. You’ll need to arrive emotionally at a place which allows you to begin exploring new relationships without the feeling of betrayal of the past and with the knowledge that you have love to give to someone new. It takes time.
Take It Slow
Once you feel ready to begin dating or spending time with others, it is still wise to proceed very slowly and cautiously. The need to enjoy the companionship of another may be very strong, but the risks of making a poor decision are too great to move quickly. While a new person will not replace the past one, nor should they, you will still need to be sure the new relationship has all the qualities you hold dear. You need to know this new person has the character traits you value, has a similar belief system, similar interests and an honorable lifestyle. What “baggage” comes with this new partner that could impact your life should you decide to become one? There are family considerations, financial, social and emotional issues to discuss. All of these questions can only be answered adequately over a period of time as you get to know one another.
Honor the Past, Live the Present
There will come a day when you feel whole again. You may decide that you want to remain single or you may decide that you’re willing to look once again for companionship. When that day comes, you’ll be ready for a fresh start. You’ll not strive to find a replacement for your past partner, but instead you’ll be free to respond to a new personality and all that comes with a new relationship. You’ll find joy in learning to know another person intimately. You’ll be able to honor your past marriage, but be free to move ahead. You won’t be making comparisons, you’ll be enjoying a new life with new hopes and dreams and challenges. And you’ll do it together.