Suddenly Single

If your relationship has ended either because of a breakup or death, I know a bit about how you feel. My first marriage ended in divorce, and my second, in death. It’s tough either way and takes time to fully accept what has happened and to heal. The time of recovery is different for each of us and it just takes the time it takes, regardless if people act surprised that you are still grieving, or if you feel you are taking too long. The only way out is through with any loss. It isn’t fun to feel pain, to cry, to want to hide out or talk incessantly about the one we’ve lost. The recovery can be challenging and it takes courage, and only we can do this work. What are the rewards of going through the grief process rather than escaping into work, shopping, food or alcohol, other relationships or distractions? The rewards are feeling more at peace, feeling a new life beginning, feeling able to change and become more of who we are.

As we recover and feel more healed, we may be faced with being suddenly single and not knowing how to go about it. Two years after my husband’s death I am realizing I haven’t been single since college and have only lived alone for a few months before this. What a huge learning curve to not be in a relationship and to be on my own completely and totally. It is both exciting, and at times, terrifying. What I’m realizing is that I don’t have to be in any hurry, can take my time and feel my way ahead. I’ve done a little dating and realized that mostly I’m not ready and need to drop back and regroup. Also, dating too soon can be a distraction from the grief work I need to do. It’s tempting to want a way out of my pain and tears but doing this too soon just bottles up my feelings and then I have a meltdown at some point.

So, if you are suddenly single, take a breath and know that things will get better; you will recover from your loss, and you will be happy. In fact you can start feeling happier by doing the things you love right now, being with people you love and staying busy in a healthy way. You’ll know if it is a distraction or part of feeling better. Being suddenly single isn’t what I thought would happen to me, but it has, and I am looking at the gifts it is bringing: more time to develop my purpose, feeling stronger, more capable, confident and successful on my own.


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​© 2017 by Susan Allison Ph.D

Dr. Susan Allison, Self Help Author, Therapist, Counselor, and Radio Show Host.