Imagine being happier after a breakup – or even a divorce – than you were before! It may sound unbelievable, but it is possible. These five tips on how to be alone and happy after your relationship ends will give you a strong foundation of peace, joy, and freedom.
I wrote this article for a reader who said:
“I am struggling with the idea of being alone in life,” said Catherine on How to End a Relationship When You Don’t Want to Be Alone. “My relationship ended years ago but the divorce just came through. My two kids are grown. They live in different cities and have their own lives and children. My mother has gone on to be with the Lord, my father is wonderful but very old. My siblings live in other parts of the country. I’m dating a man casually but it’s not serious. I’m scared I’ll never be happy alone.”
Navigating life alone is scary, especially if you’ve been in a relationship or marriage for years. Or decades! Even if your relationship was difficult or unhealthy, it’s hard to face life on your own.
Being alone is one thing…and learning how to be happy and alone is a whole different beast.
Give yourself time to adjust to this new season of your life. Read through the Blossom Tips below, and tell me in the comments section which one might work for you.
5 Ways to Be Happily Alone When a Relationship Ends
My “She Blossoms” articles — especially the ones on starting over after a breakup or divorce — are broken up into five different categories. This holistic approach allows me to write about the whole woman: Spirit, Heart, Soul, Body, and Brain. And, the separate Blossom Tips help you identify which works best for you.
1. Be honest about your loneliness and unhappiness
It took a lot of courage for Catherine to share her thoughts on my article. Below are more of her comments – she opened her heart and soul. And that is one of the best ways to cope with being alone when a relationship ends: be honest and real about how you feel. Not just with yourself, not just anonymously on a blog post, but with people you trust.
The truth isn’t just that you’re learning how to live single after a relationship ends. The truth is that your breakup triggered other, deeper fears and griefs. It’s forcing you to see yourself and your life differently, and that is scary. Yes, you miss your boyfriend or husband and the breakup wasn’t easy…but how are you dealing with the feelings of rejection, abandonment, and fear that you’re unlovable and unworthy?
2. Sit still
“People see me as outgoing, busy all the time,” says Catherine. “That’s because when I sit still I get scared and realize I am alone and not happy. I’m not that interested in the man I’m dating but I tell myself this relationship is better than being by myself.
I put on a brave face around family and friends so no one worries about me. I act like all is well because I don’t them to be concerned. They have always known me as the strong one, but inside my heart aches and my mind races and I am scared.”
I know other women who can’t sit still, who are so busy they don’t have time to think. Perhaps they’re running from themselves, from their fears and grief. They don’t know how to be alone and happy — even if they’re married or in a good relationship — because they don’t want to face their fears and griefs.
3. Take time to actually be alone
I spent last Christmas alone. My husband went to visit his parents; it’s a 14 hour drive through the Rocky Mountains. We’ve safely made the trip a dozen times, but driving on snow-packed roads with cliffs on either side always made me anxious. This time, the highway was closed for hours because of accidents and blizzards and icy road conditions….so I decided not to go. My husband wanted to see his parents and didn’t feel the same fear I did. I would spend the week by myself at home.
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My week alone at Christmas was one of the best times of my life. I approached the holiday with a curious perspective: “Can I be alone and happy over the most traditional holiday season of the year?” I was a little worried and sad about not having a family Christmas…but I didn’t feed that perspective. I came through it with a deeper understanding of myself and a stronger relationship with God. Because of that experience, I know I can be alone and happy even if my relationship ends.
4. Step out and challenge your faith
“I know the Lord will provide and be with me during all of this,” says Catherine, “but it is still very scary. I struggle with what my life may end up like. I’m scared I’ll never learn how to be alone and happy. After my relationship ended I felt much worse. I’m better now but not at my best yet.”
The only way to learn how to be alone and happy after your relationship ends is to practice being alone and happy! You can search for other people’s tips on new beginnings when you don’t want to be alone, but the truth is that you have to be your own resource. You have to discover your own way, create your own path, and find your way home. This means taking risks and stepping out in faith in ways that are meaningful to you, that will help you learn and grow.
5. Learn how to be happy even when life is hard
“I’m alone in life,” says Catherine. “Who do I put down as my emergency contact? What do I do when I have to take time off work because I’m sick and there isn’t a second income to pay the bills? Who will I go on vacations with? I will eat alone, watch television alone, go to the movies alone.”
Those are tough questions, and I don’t know the answers. There are no easy solutions. If my marriage ended, I’d have nobody to put as my emergency contact either. I’d ask a friend, I guess, because I have no close family. If I had to take time off work and didn’t have a second income, I’d find a way to deal with it when the time came.
Life will always be hard in different ways, and we’ll always face difficult questions. If we’re not learning how to be alone and happy after a relationship ends (which is a lifelong struggle), then we’ll be learning how to do X, Y or Z when we’re in a relationship. The key to a good life is learning how to be happy whether we’re alone or not. It’s not about being alone and happy after your relationship ends…it’s about being alone and happy period. No matter who or what is in your life.
Take a deep breath. Know that God has gone before you, and He will be with you no matter what you’re facing. Take one step at a time. If you believe in Jesus, then He’ll never stop strengthening you. God is blessing you and the Holy Spirit is working for you. Trust. Take heart. Go forward in faith.
Still struggling? Read When You Miss Him Like Crazy.
What do you think about my tips on being alone and happy after your relationship ends? Your thoughts – big and little – are welcome below. I read every comment, but don’t worry: I won’t give advice or tell you what to do. It’s your turn to talk.
Are you unhappy in your relationship? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage and FREE relationship advice from Mort Fertel, founder of the Marriage Fitness Program.