Of all the anxieties that are regularly induced by an impending divorce, those centered on loneliness are, in my experience, the most profound.
With this in mind, I recently commissioned a survey that saw our company contact more than 2,000 people who had been divorced for at least three years. My intention was to produce a study that would dispel such concerns with cold, hard facts. While the survey did reveal a number of positive statistics, though, it was within a few select pieces of qualitative feedback that I believe the most important, calming and poignant findings lay.
Here are the three best pieces of advice divorcees had for anyone worried about finding themselves isolated as a result of their divorce:
“The best things in life happen when you’re least expecting them”
As simple as this statement is, it resonated with me. Most of the very best things in my life came about not as a result of concerted and consistent efforts but from simple circumstance and coincidence.
Yes, there are things we need to work for: our job, home and most material items, for example, but the beginnings of relationships – whether romantic or otherwise – just seem to happen. They certainly need to be maintained once established, but those with real long-term potential tend to be easy at first.
So, don’t worry about meeting someone new. Go about your life, enjoy yourself and allow things to find you!
“You need more than a partner to be happy”
I know from personal experience that it’s all too easy to become overly-reliant on your spouse – particularly if you have children. What I also know is that this left me feeling dissatisfied – a feeling I know friends who found themselves in similar situations have shared.
Ultimately, we’re social creatures and we need a broad circle of friends to remain happy as a result. Indeed, it’s certainly noteworthy that there’s no reason someone can’t be happy and single – and this is largely because of the presence of effective support networks comprised of friends and family.
“You can view your anxiety as a reason to be fearful or excited”
This particular piece of advice was truly unique and not only made me rethink the negative emotions associated with divorce, but feelings of anxiety in general.
By simply choosing to reframe our emotions, we can turn those that would otherwise be debilitating into something empowering. The anxiety so often brought on by a divorce can, for example, be seen as excitement for our future lives post-divorce rather than something to fear.
This is a piece of advice has been met with overwhelmingly positive feedback when I shared it with clients; it’s truly enlightening and it goes to show just how powerful positive thought can be.
While it’s far from unusual for divorcees to worry about meeting new people, such concerns are largely irrational.
If you need more convincing, our survey revealed that:
- 84% of respondents stated that they were much happier following divorce than prior to it;
- 73% of respondents were now in long-term relationships; and
- 23% were now co-habiting with their partners.
So, whether you prefer personable advice or cold, hard data, it’s clear that you needn’t fear post-divorce loneliness either way.
Jay Williams is employed by Quickie Divorce, an online services provider dedicated to improving the divorce process in the UK.