Many times after ending a relationship, we go through internal mourning. A breakup is always painful, whether it is breaking up with a partner, losing a family member, or a friendship. Separations are part of our daily lives, yet we are rarely prepared for them. Separation is difficult, especially if we make our life completely dependent on other people, which does not guarantee happiness and success in our own life.
This article does not focus on the separation itself but on coping with feelings of loneliness after a separation. If a relationship – for whatever reason – comes to an end, being alone is particularly difficult.
In general, major changes in daily life cause stress and grief. The pain of losing a loved one makes being alone even more heartbreaking.
What can I do to feel less lonely after a breakup?
1. Be patient and understanding with yourself and your emotional world
It is important to understand where your (excessive) feeling of loneliness comes from. Could it be that you have over-defined your personality through your relationship with another person? Do you not know how to be with yourself? Did the well-being of your partner/friend matter more to you than your own? It may be that you have changed in the course of a relationship without realizing it, and after the breakup, you hardly recognize yourself. So now you are faced with the difficult task of being away from the other person who was part of your life, disconnecting and redefining yourself as an independent person.
This task is also a great opportunity for you. Instead of trying to be the best possible partner, friend, or sibling for another person, you can now be the best possible person for yourself. You must learn to redirect your energy. It is not that easy, but a good start can be, for example, consciously “giving yourself” something you have always wanted or wanted to do. Give yourself something good; in other words, “treat yourself.”
2. Start a new routine
Nothing is as it was. After a separation, part of the daily structure is usually broken. This can be a bit disorienting and is normal at first. Human beings generally function with certain structures and routines in everyday life, so we don’t like sudden changes for which we need to be sufficiently prepared.
Small rituals in your daily life can help you find a new routine. These can be:
- Wake up and go to sleep regularly at the same time.
- Try to exercise at least once a week. Go to the gym or exercise at home (there are excellent apps and YouTube videos for home workouts).
- A daily evening meditation can help you sleep more restfully.
- A weekly planner where you can record your daily tasks and goals, as well as your achievements and rewards.
- A playlist of your favorite music you can listen to on your way to school, college, or work.
- Every day is a new beginning: adapting to a new daily rhythm doesn’t happen overnight. It is a task you must practice every day.
3. “Feel the grief” Don’t fight the pain; accept it
Anguish and feelings of hopelessness and loneliness are important components of the separation process. So try to consciously feel all the emotions of the separation phase instead of suppressing them. Recognize the thoughts and feelings as part of you and part of this important phase of your life. This is your pain, and you can use it to get to know yourself better. The more aware you are of your own emotions, the more you will be able to perceive how negative thoughts and feelings diminish over time. It is good to feel, but it is also good to show what you feel; being angry or sad or wanting to cry is valid because something important to you ended. It is best to think of this as “healing grief” and not “separation grief,” as we must begin eliminating the negative association with this process.
4. Be patient
Everyone suffers through the end of a relationship or friendship for different periods of time. Some go straight to Tinder after a few days as singles; others focus on themselves for a few years before letting someone new into their lives. And both are fine. No rule says how long to grieve after a relationship or friendship ends. All processes are different for different people, so you can take as much time as you need to get used to this new state.
However, if you notice that even though time goes by, it is hard for you to get out of this state, it is hard for you to cope with very painful grief, which continues to affect your daily life, do not isolate yourself or avoid others. Try to seek help from those close to you or professional help.
5. Distract yourself
To avoid falling into a state of helplessness, sometimes you have to force yourself to be active. Loneliness and helplessness are passive feelings that are sometimes difficult to get out of. On the other hand, active stimuli or a new challenge that you enjoy can help. Here are some examples that will distract you from bad times:
- Learn a new language
- Take up a new hobby: sports, music, or crafts.
- Refurnish or redecorate your home if you previously shared it with your ex.
- Plan a trip. Dare to travel alone.
- Practice self-love: give yourself wellness days, mindfulness exercises, and feel-good rituals.
Keep in mind that distraction brings quick and visible results, no matter how small. Don’t get discouraged, and persevere with it. Don’t forget that being alone provides many opportunities as well, and even being alone, we can work on our well-being. So being alone does not mean being lonely, but it can mean freedom. A freedom to do everything you want and a freedom to let go of everything you don’t want. Use your time alone to focus on yourself, try new things, and get to know yourself.