Many of you reading this will be commencing the challenging and overwhelming journey into 'singledom' mid-life/later in life.
This can only be described as an 'emotional roller coaster ride and the time when you need to start getting used to living outside 'the habit' that your life has been for the last 20,30 plus years. Divorce, separation, or the bereavement of a loved one after many years together will leave you grieving and feeling the immense loss. (Divorce is known to be the second most stressful and traumatic situation we can endure in life, which is second to the death of a loved one).
In my experience of mentoring males (widowed) and females (widows), the minimum length of time to recover from the loss of a loved one is two years, and in many cases can take up to five years to heal and feel you have been respectful in your mind to your deceased partner. This process is unique to everyone, but I do not recommend dating before two years have passed.
Where divorce or separation is concerned - time will heal, and it really does. You need to go through the five stages of grief (see separate blog), and as each week goes by, you actually start to think to yourself .....WOW, this week, I don't feel such deep pain. The fog lifts slowly but surely and once the shock has settled in, you take time to think about YOU. try to remember your uniqueness and what makes you the fabulous person you forgot you were!
Over time this may have faded into significance in your family life. Now is the time to reflect and dig it back up, remember the little things that make you shine and the person you were before being the other half of a couple and possibly parenthood.
As the weeks pass by, you should make yourself busy, keep your mind occupied with other things and do one thing special for yourself every day. Something you failed to do during your relationship;
Switch on the radio or tell Alexa to play some of your favourite tunes. They could be from the 70s or 80s and always make you happy. Music is very uplifting, and it can improve your mood and reduce stress; turn it up and have a boogie (my favourite tune to lift my spirits is always - it’s raining men by the weather girls, it does it for me all the time 😊)
Pick up the phone and call a friend you have lost touch with (maybe your partner did not get on with them). Talking to old friends is nostalgic and will boost your mental health. (Remember the BT advert “It’s good to talk” ….)
Break out of the old routine and do one thing differently every day (drive home a different way from the same road for 20 or 30 years, change your morning routine, and catch the bus instead of driving.
Try stretching or yoga for 10 minutes in the morning. This is amazing for your body and mind, and 10 minutes is easily achievable. (I practice 10-minute yoga every day, my body is less achy, and if I miss it, I feel I have cheated myself).
Take time each morning, with a cuppa, to write down one thing that becoming single has freed you up to do and what it has liberated you from
Make some plans; decide what your next step will be. Possibly enrolling at the University Of The Third Age, joining a group or various groups to try out new things or revive old interests and hobbies. Change your wardrobe, buy some clothes that are out of your comfort zone, and volunteer for a worthy cause (this helps to counteract any effects of stress, anger and anxiety).
When a reasonable length of time has passed, and you feel you have allowed yourself to mourn the end of a relationship, it is time to move on and do not dwell on things you cannot control. This is easier said than done, but if you take a step-by-step approach and remain consistent, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel, be ready to turn over a new leaf, and head towards a new and possibly even better chapter in your life.
Next week; Date preparation
Dating mid-life/later in life comes with its own challenges. The rules have changed…BIG TIME!