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Profound loneliness

AthameAflame posted 12/6/2020 03:29 AM

Hi all,

I barely post anymore, though I do check in to lurk periodically and to offer words when I feel they might help. I need some encouragement tonight.

Dday was 5 years ago. Separation began in March of this year; divorce was final in August.

I have been on a journey of self discovery and self improvement and self love and healing for the past six months or so. Therapy, meditation, better eating and exercise: the whole shebang.

Mentally and physically, Iím better than Iíve been in years. Iím happy with myself. I know my strengths and I work on my weaknesses. For the first time in a long time (maybe ever?) I love me and I enjoy my own company.

I love the financial freedom. I love having all of my free time to myself. Or, well, the parts not taken up by my three kids. Iím killing the single dad life, I think.

And yet lately, especially when I have the house all to myself or when I snuggle down in bed, I feel a profound sadness. Iíve mourned the marriage for the most part. I embrace the emotions as they come, good or bad. I take the Buddhist approach in welcoming them, thanking them for their lesson, and then letting them go.

But my god, I would love to have someone to come home to. I can stand on my own. I like my own company. Iím not rushing into anything if someone does come along. I just miss having a hand to hold and someone to share intimacy of all kinds with. I have an amazing family and group of friends and as active a social life as can be had with a plague afoot, but itís not the same as having a partner in life. Iím working through it, but it hit all of a sudden without warning or a trigger. Being a husband and dad were numbers 1 and 2 on my bucket list.

What helped you push through?

Chrysalis123 posted 12/6/2020 08:53 AM

Aww, I'm sorry. This time of year plus Covid is making this worse for you, I'm sure. In my case it took many years for me to accept my singleness and not mourn losing my spouse. (not losing him...it was losing the idea of being part of a couple)

For a few years whenever I saw a loving older couple I would cry and feel so alone, rejected and abandoned. That passed as I grew to accept and appreciate my new life.

I know it is not helpful, but time is the secret ingredient. Plus all the other great self care things you are doing. I especially like your tip about the Buddhist approach.

crazyblindsided posted 12/6/2020 09:34 AM

(((AthameAflame))) I too love your Buddhist approach.

What helps push me through are my kids, my wonderful friends and family, good health, and my furbabies. When I see happy couples (especially right now during the holidays) I try to tell myself that maybe the couple is new or never experienced betrayal by the one they love. Also,I felt very lonely in my M so I remind myself of that.

skeetermooch posted 12/6/2020 10:07 AM

I think about the fact that most couples I know aren't as happy as they appear. It's the old be careful what you wish for. So, it feels a bit less bad realizing that maybe a fraction of these couples are actually good together. And snoring. While I love snuggling, I don't miss snoring

I guess my take is somewhat negative but it gets me through. I hug my son a ton more now and I shower my dog with affection and that helps too.

Justsomeguy posted 12/6/2020 10:54 AM

Hey bud, I hear you and I cycle through these very same thoughts and feelings. I try to step out of my head and apply something that was said to me and it seems to help. I am not my feelings, I merely experience them. I'm almost 4 years out from Dday#1 and 2.4 years S. I still cycle through the emotions, though not nearly as intensely or for as long.

Hell, I broke down in August and signed up for OLD. Spent nearly 5 minutes doing that. Discovered I was just lonely, not really looking for someone. I've spent 3 months deconstructing things and I e come up with this.

First, I'm not healed yet. Need to work on me more. Next, i am still in transition with my life and I just dont have the time or energy to put into a relationship. I'm pretty broken still...point one.

The pandemic has multiplied the first two by several factors, so I am dealing with an artificially difficult situation. When life gets back to normal, navigating it will be less difficult.

It sounds like you have good supports around you and you have purpose, which is critical, especially for men. It may be that you are just suffering from the fatigue that these challenging times bring. I wish I could fix it for both of us. I can't. So I'll just hold space with you. Cheers and keep moving forward.

AnnieOakley posted 12/6/2020 13:23 PM


You are definitely fresh on this miserable journey during an unprecedented time in our world and nation.

I donít have children but I truly loved being married and part of a couple. So 2020 was going to be my year to find a new relationship! Ha!!!

Iíve maintained my health, exercise, and mental sanity since shutdown in March. Focusing outward on my parents, family, and friends from a safe distance...with very few exceptions.
Staying off of social media to a great degree the last several months except to the positive aspects has helped a lot too.

I can look back on really good times with my ex, even talk out loud to myself about them, shed a few tears maybe and move on.

I opted to decorate for Christmas right after Halloween...I needed the warm glow. Iíve also started taking quiet walks after dark to enjoy the holiday lights, browse window shopping, etc. I make myself hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and marshmallows in the evening. Iím planning to make a Christmas family tradition that I have not done so in years...for myself.

Iím completely healed and engaging with a few men via online, but it seems we are all cautious and deliberate right now. Iím good with that.

I guess for me Iíve tried to maintain the ďbalanceĒ. I realize that can be difficult for men sometimes to acknowledge, but posting here is a good step. Give yourself a break. You deserve it. Make some new memories with your kiddos. I watched Elf the other night...Die Hard is this week!

BearlyBreathing posted 12/6/2020 14:18 PM

I agree with the othersó COVID has definitely amplified the loneliness. We are social creatures and that desire to bond can be strong. Like AnnieOakley, this was going to be my year to dip a toe back in the dating waters. Instead I have doubled down on getting to know myself and heal my inner demons (which were nicely hidden until DDAY and then it was like the flying monkeys were released!). I have learned that I can move through negative emotions pretty quickly and that gratitude really does help to keep me on the positive side.

Net: Keep doing what you are doing. I think what you are feeling is normal and even healthy that you see it and are being curious about it. Be gentle with yourself and your feelings. Understand that amplifiers (Covid, short days, economic uncertainties, etc.) and remember they are temporary. And if you are me, get a couple cats :-)

phmh posted 12/6/2020 14:23 PM

I was single for about 4 years after D-Day/divorce, and remember really wanting a partner. I loved being married and I was great at it! I flung myself into OLD (went on over 60 first dates) and was determined I was going to find someone. But I realized it wasn't making me happy, and so I decided to get off of OLD and make peace with the fact that I was probably going to be single the rest of my life.

And once I did that, I changed - i no longer scanned the room for potential single men, or looked for wedding rings. I just had fun meeting people and realizing what I really did and did not enjoy. (Obviously this was before covid). I had the best summer of my life, and was so happy with the life I'd made for myself.

And then, just as everyone said (though it made me so angry at the time), I met someone when I was least expecting it. Neither of us were looking; we were just living our lives.

Comparison truly is the thief of happiness. My recommendation is to try to truly enjoy the life that you have. Get out there and make friends, do things, etc. Be open to what happens without trying to force anything or giving off signals that you are desperate. My guess is that by detaching from the outcome, you will wind up meeting a great lady that is a good match!

AthameAflame posted 12/6/2020 17:14 PM

Thanks, everyone. I know Iíll be fine and that Iím doing my best. I do believe Iíll find someone eventually, when the time is right. I just wish it would hurry up and be right, but thatís not how it works, is it?

Anyway, off to cook spaghetti and watch ELF. 😉

Outoflove2020 posted 12/6/2020 21:21 PM

ELF has to be one of my favorite holiday movies, always brings a smile to my face, no matter how sad I might be feeling.

One of the things I've been talking a lot about with my therapist is the delineation between what is sadness / grief due to the betrayal and what is sadness / grief due to COVID, not being able to see friends & family in the ways we typically would, and I do think the latter exacerbates the former for sure, so it can seem like it's really still sadness / grief solely due to the betrayal.

As you will see from recent posts, I am struggling with loneliness. What helps me is I think about what I would be doing right now if I'd decided to reconcile with my ex. I would be on edge all the time, paranoid each time he looked at his phone, never feeling entirely comfortable with him, wondering if everything he was saying was a lie, full of anxiety.

Instead, I may be a little sad, a little lonely, but the calmness is so.....calming. The lack of anxiety means I sleep so much better. I also try to shift my mindset from....oh, I'm sad that I don't have a partner with whom to share that to.....man, I can leave the house at 10 and not get back until 5, and not have to worry that I've missed lunch, or have to prepare dinner for the family (which is exactly what I did today).

I've also been making an effort to reach out more, rather than sit and wallow. For example, on Thursday, I realized I hadn't left the house in 3 days and I was feeling very very sorry for myself and very lonely. So I texted a friend, and asked her to hang out. She took me to Costco. I felt SO much better and she was super happy to get out herself. I've been doing zoom calls, FaceTiming, I've joined a bunch of group chats with friends from all over the world where we just talk about random shit. I also find checking in on other people helps me feel less lonely as everyone is dealing with their own crap nowadays, and focusing on someone else really helps me with my own mental health.

From my perspective, you really do seem to be on the right path......but given the current situation, it's kind of a "hurry up and wait" time, so don't be too hard on yourself for wanting things to happen more quickly than they are. I'm trying to learn patience from it, which is not my natural state, so hopefully when the COVID nonsense is in your rear view mirror, you can go out with more freedom and see where the wind takes you!

Chili posted 12/6/2020 23:10 PM

Hey Athame:

I know those quiet moments of sadness for sure. The best way I have to describe it is just kind of...puny.

I'm on my second "going it alone" juncture in my life and even in these wackadoodle times, I'm finding myself embracing it even more than I did all those years ago.

What has helped me push through: things like others have suggested here - all that good self care - from you being a Dad to all the grounding Buddha stuff. (And I'm a dog person myself, so that's been such a comfort).

But here's the mantra I've realized in my head. When I think really really hard about why I've ever wanted a relationship with someone else, it's because I really wanted to share my life with someone. Shared experiences, support, laughter, discoveries, being each other's cheerleaders, affection, a place to truly express myself, catching each other when the tough times come.

And I realized that I can have every single one of those things with my closest friends (and some family) except the physical things. And all this "stuff" I feel like I have to give to someone could maybe be given to a lot of someones.

Lately, it's like a big mental roadblock just tumbled.

I decided to start looking at my "being alone" as a gigantic new phase of options and possibilities open to me. Besides my obligations, I can do whatever the hell I want to do. And being in a relationship is no guarantee that we won't be alone in our golden years for any number of reasons. I envision me surrounding myself with a community of sorts. I haven't quite defined it, but I don't plan on being lonely ever again if I get to be the one to write the narrative.

I miss the physical touch too - body work pre-Covid helped a lot with that. The warmth of the dog at night does as well. Honestly physical intimacy is not on my radar right now, but I also trust that I'll figure it out as I go.

And remember - you get to define what kind of relationship you want in the future. As long as you're both on the same page, there's a whole lot of options between ONS and husband.

Hang in there - it actually sounds like you're doing amazingly well.

josiep posted 12/7/2020 08:14 AM

Get a dog.

I'm not being flip, I mean it. You're still having to recover from the addiction (for lack of a better word to explain it) of being in a relationship. That's where incomplete people feel complete. I could have written what you did verbatim - I loved being married, I was the perfect wife. But I did a lot of thinking this past weekend and had what I think are some insights into these feelings. A partner is not essential to our well-being or happiness. History is full of people who lived without a partner and had wonderful and fulfilling lives. So why do some of us feel this way?

Think of it like a boat. Owning a boat and having fun on the lake every weekend is wonderful and I'm often envious of the people who get to do that. But having a boat isn't essential to living a great and fulfilling life. Same with a partner. It simply adds another dimension to the you who is already whole.

So really, adopt or foster a dog or cat or both for the holidays and see if that doesn't help. They snuggle in bed with you, they're happy when you come home, they'll gladly share a meal with you, they'll listen to your stories (and probably about as well as that partner did). And the simple act of taking care of them, walking them, feeding them, etc. is so good for the soul, gives us a sense of purpose. And in no time, you'll wonder what you were ever thinking when you felt that not having a partner meant being lonely or unfulfilled or not complete. God/the Universe doesn't make half people.

Try it and prove me wrong. :)

[This message edited by josiep at 8:18 AM, December 7th (Monday)]

DevastatedDee posted 12/7/2020 13:17 PM

I have to echo the dog stuff. I mean, I have 6, so maybe don't go that far, LOL. Two are from breeders and the rest are rescues, mostly taken in after I left my XWH. They take up a lot of my time and give me back more love than I could ever deserve. The bed is all manner of warm and cuddly and I never feel alone.

I have my moments where I miss having a partner and I have my moments where I am so happy not to have a partner. There are positives to both. Sometimes I wish I was binge-watching a TV show with a partner while simultaneously being over the top thrilled about being able to watch whatever I want without anyone else's input. I wish I had someone else to help me with household stuff and then I'm thrilled that all this household stuff is of my choosing. I've worked from home most of this year and it's kinda nice to be able to look as crappy and comfortable as I want without caring what anyone thinks or trying to sexy up my slob clothes, ha ha. I miss regular sex and that just is what it is, but that's not a sufficient reason to have another adult living in my house.

I guess the price of being happily single is having those moments of wishing you had a partner and the price of being happily married is not having the freedom to do whatever you want without compromise.

marriageredux959 posted 12/7/2020 20:59 PM

I am sorry. <3

But, to be uncharacteristically brief (for me) if realistic and responsible,

I'm down with The Fur Baby Solution.

You need a dog. Or a cat. Or maybe both.

You need a source of unconditional love- but more importantly, you need someone to love.

You need someone to receive your love, your attention, and give you straightforward appreciation for it.

Yes, you have three kids into which you are obviously investing and investing well. Good for you! But miniature humans are complicated and have lots of moving parts. Beyond that they are complicated and are busy about their own biological directive of growing up.

You need a dog and/or a cat with a rock solid, unfussy temperament.


Karmafan posted 12/18/2020 11:37 AM

I feel your pain. I have been divorced four years and broke up with my long term SO in the summer. Deep down, I know that I need this time alone, to lick my wounds, to get reacquainted with myself, to focus on my needs, and I intend to see it through, but boy, it is hard! Like you, I have three young children and they are benefiting no end from having me fully engaged and whole. Solitude is hard but itís reforming as well, because it allows you to break through that co-dependency mindset that has brought us here in the first place. Every day I think of re-joining a dating app, to numb the pain, the hollowness, but then I remember why I am doing this and I push through. Because I want to get to a place of self-love, where a relationship feels like a choice and not a last chance saloon.

AnnieOakley posted 12/18/2020 11:55 AM

Boom 💥 Karmafan!

Every day I think of re-joining a dating app, to numb the pain, the hollowness, but then I remember why I am doing this and I push through. Because I want to get to a place of self-love, where a relationship feels like a choice and not a last chance saloon.

You just made the quote thread in F&G. ^^^^ is when you will know you are ready.

[This message edited by AnnieOakley at 12:26 PM, December 18th (Friday)]

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