10 Tops Tips For Living Alone Unexpectedly . More and more women are living on their own and there are all sorts of reasons why this is happening. Long gone, thankfully, are the days when women lived at home with their parents until a knight in shining armor came along and rescued them from the disgrace of being a life long spinster! However making the choice of living alone is quite different from finding yourself living alone unexpectedly whether because of death or divorce. It is women in that situation that this post is written for.
Firstly I should say that I am not a trained counselor, I simply just have the experience of finding myself alone mid life, I didn’t expect it and I wasn’t prepared for it. Eighteen years on I can look back and wish I had know these 10 tops tips for living alone unexpectedly then.
1 Get yourself to a counselor. Ask women who have been in the same situation as you find yourself in for recommendations. If that isn’t possible ask at your medical center, they are sure to have a list. The patience of friends can be exhausted quite quickly by you having to talk about your situation over and over again. And you will need to go over all the details very many times, it’s the way your brain makes sense of a senseless situation. A counselor will know this and will let you talk and guide you in the right direction for your recovery from the shock.
2 Get yourself the right counselor. Don’t be afraid to change counselor if you find you can’t relate to them or your instincts tell you that what they are advising isn’t right for you. This doesn’t mean they are a bad counselor it just means they aren’t the right one for you. The first two people I saw were highly recommended to me, but they just didn’t suit me. The third counselor was a wonderful woman who guided me through the maze of being alone unexpectedly.
3 Establish a routine. It is so easy to hide under the duvet and tell the world to go away, but that is no solution and won’t help you one jot! Make yourself get out of bed, showered, dressed and eat breakfast by eight o’clock. You’ll find the day progresses much better than if you lie in bed going over and over events in your mind.
4 Get yourself a good attorney. If you have owned property jointly with the other person, have shared bank accounts or shared debts then get a good attorney as soon as possible. In fact this should have been top tip #1, but I didn’t want to depress you more than you probably are feeling already! Whether by death or divorce untangling joint ownership, money and debt needs professional help.
5 Get a dog or cat. A dog or cat can be great company and are always sympathetic listeners. They never suggest anything is your fault, they never tell you they are fed up hearing about your woes, they will love you to the moon and back and they will make you get up to feed them and in the case of a dog walk them. Really they help you with top tip #3. Also a dog is a great way of meeting new people and making friends.
6 Cut loose so called friends. I’ll be honest with you on this one, some of the people who you think are friends will disappear quicker than an ice cube left in the sunshine! It may be that they are don’t know what to say to you, but generally it will be because they are worried you will start looking at their husband/boyfriend./partner as a replacement for what you have lost. They would never admit it, but that is what they will be thinking! You really don’t need people that shallow in your life so don’t give them a second thought.
7 Keep in touch with your real friends. Your real friends are those who ring you up and call round to make sure you are ok. However if you keep saying no to their invites out for coffee, cinema or a meal they will eventually stop asking. So ignore how sad you are feeling and say yes to at least some of the invites. Return phone messages and invite those really good friends round a for a meal and to meet your new companion – see top tip #5!
8 Get to know your loneliness triggers. For me it was between 7 – 9 at night, don’t ask me why, it just was the time when I felt particularly sad and down. I found the best way was to set myself tasks to do during those two hours that kept me busy. I’ve never had such a clean house, ironed clothes and tidy cupboards! After a couple of months of doing this I decided to sign up for an online course and use my evenings to learn new craft skills – my house cleaning returned to normal levels!
9 Become security aware. I am not trying to frighten you, but you may not have given your safety a thought when you had a partner, but now you do need to be aware of your home and self security. If you are alone due to divorce and you are uneasy about your ex then get locks changed. Check that your doors etc. have good quality locks fitted. Keep emergency numbers handy and if you have friendly neighbors then keep their names on speed dial. Be aware of your surroundings if you are out after dark and arrange to ring friends to let them know you have got home safely. All common sense, but you may not have considered such things for some years.
10 Keep a notebook. Buy a pretty notebook and every night before you sleep write down three good things that have happened that day. It might be that someone was kind to you, you saw birds splashing in a fountain on your way to work and the first flowers of spring appeared in your garden. On a bad day it might be that the day was coming to an end, that you were still surviving and that tomorrow was bound to be a better day. Believe me that doing this can help. It was something that my counselor (#3 -the one I got on with!) suggested and she was so right when she said it would help.
I hope you found this helpful. My heart goes out to you if you find yourself in this situation, but believe me that things will get better and you will smile and laugh again. Take care and treat yourself kindly.