Newly single: the in-between
When you find yourself newly single after a long time there is an adjustment period that we often don’t talk about. How should we cope with the period between the breakup and the glow-up?
You are used to cuddling and having someone to tell your stories. It’s been years since you’ve gone to a function on your own, or not ‘had to’ check in with someone during your day. Your whole life was shared, and now all of that partnership is over and done with.
Even worse, outside of the partnership, every conversation feels like a land mine – ‘You need to move on’, ‘You should get yourself back out there’, ‘They weren’t that great anyway’ and you don’t know how to tell them you haven’t gotten to the point of envisioning a life without the other person, let alone the idea of being single and happy.
So, what now? What can you expect and how do you get used to your newly single status?
A range of emotion
You might be floored by some unexpected emotions. Jealousy that people have places to go on the weekend, sadness that your matching t-shirts got separated, anger that you didn’t get to sleep on the other side of the bed until now, and so on. We think big things will be the ones that finish us but the small things make up how we spend the day. Brace yourself and allow yourself to mourn it all.
Lack of Access & Redistribution
Yes, you are losing your partner, but you are also losing access to them and beloved parts of their lives. Things you took for granted such as passwords to their Showmax or invites to their friends’ epic parties are no longer open to you. You also can’t call them at any hour of the day just to share a quick story or get them to help you out of a jam… All that’s gone with them.
Think back to what you did before them – who did you call to share stories, which friend could you rely on to take you places, etc. Redistribute the things you need and the energy you have to the people who are still in your life.
Self-Doubt & Going backwards
The glow up will come in time and it will be glow-rious! In the meantime, you’ll find yourself fighting feelings of self-doubt that might lead to some grey area decisions like sex with your ex. Understandably, when we are emotionally in flux, we look for the familiar places where we feel the safest, or where we last felt loved. The upside of this is temporary security – but the downside can be worse than what caused the breakup.
We all have to go through our motions, even if that means going back to move forward; just be aware of the consequences.
Loneliness, Validation & Moving sideways
You may not be tempted to lean on your ex physically or emotionally, but loneliness and the need for external validation is an almost compulsory post-breakup setting. It’s what people mean when they say, ‘looking for love in all the wrong places.’ We want to be reassured – made to feel attractive/desirable/worthy. We want someone to think we are funny and smart. If you are lucky, one flirtation, or a few, will help restore your confidence and make you feel more yourself. If you aren’t lucky, this need will make you settle for a situation you would never have chosen if you weren’t vulnerable. Luckily, after you read this, you’ll know how to recognize and avoid these situations, and face what you’re feeling.
You, yourself, and you
If you cringe when you think about singlehood, it isn’t because you aren’t strong or capable. It’s just that some people just thrive better in committed relationships, or find dating cumbersome.
It’s okay that you aren’t excited about being single, and it’s okay that you want to skip it all together. But, it is not okay that you cannot be on your own. Learning to be at peace in your singlehood is essential – it’ll keep you content until you meet your next person, instead of settling for shenanigans because you want someone to hold.
Through it all, hang in there, and move at your pace. Good luck!
How do you deal with loneliness?