As it turns out, one of the side effects of divorce is sudden and undeniable singlehood. As a 32-year-old woman who spent the past 7 years in a relationship and has considered myself—for the most part—a serial monogamist, the thought of being single again was terrifying for a few reasons. First, being lonely sucks. Second, dating culture in 2017 was totally foreign to me. Third, it sounded like SO MUCH WORK.
I like to think that over the last several months, I’ve come to terms with each of these things in my own special way, but that’s not to say it isn’t an ongoing struggle. Some days I love being single, and others I wish I wasn’t, but the good news is I no longer wish I had my old life back. That feels like a step in the right direction!
I decided I want to write about the ups and downs of single life because it seems like a topic not many people are willing to discuss. In the age of social media, the only things we tend to talk about publicly are the good things that happen to us. And don’t get me wrong—I’m guilty of this too—but for some reason I feel compelled to talk about the bad shit. Nobody’s life is perfect. Mine certainly isn’t. So here’s a little dose of honesty from me to you…
Being lonely sucks.
This is not a shocking or controversial revelation. Most people don’t like being lonely. I consider myself a lucky divorcée, though, because my divorce wasn’t a situation where one day we were together and the next we weren’t. Loneliness crept into my life long before my marriage was over. And probably before it even began, if I’m being 100% honest. So I had quite a while to come to terms with feeling alone.
Being in a relationship with someone who struggles with depression can be tough. It’s lonely and isolating for both people, especially when neither person is well equipped to navigate the situation. Add to that my anxiety and constant need to control and fix everything, I’d say our relationship never really stood a fighting chance without some serious therapeutic and medical intervention. The good news? I think we’ve both spent a lot of time addressing these issues on our own terms. The bad news is it was too little, too late on his part to keep our marriage together. And that’s okay. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think this divorce was a “blessing in disguise” as they say.*
So yeah, I felt alone at times when we were dating, but I REALLY felt alone after we got married and he was traveling all the time. Then, just 18 months into that situation, we separated. And that was a whole new level of loneliness. It was loneliness compounded by debilitating hopelessness. But throughout that separation, I took full advantage of therapy, antidepressants and wine. So much boxed wine, you guys. And over time, I actually learned to love and embrace being alone. I even took a solo hiking trip to Colorado last fall because I’m a badass independent woman. And as it turns out, I wasn’t ever actually alone. I had my dogs, my friends, my family, my passions, my work and a thousand other things to occupy space in my life. So when I finally decided that divorce was my only option, I was mentally and emotionally prepared for the loneliness of singlehood, and it was so much less scary.
Nine months into officially living alone again, I admit there are still lonely days, but I truly have the most incredible support system, so the negative feelings don’t stick around too long. Plus, Cyrus and Bill are always there to remind me I’m not alone. Sure, this mostly involves Bill begging for food and Cyrus farting at me, but I’ll take it.
Next time, I’m gonna talk at you about what it’s like to date in 2017. Buckle up, buttercup—it’s gonna get weird.
*Serious question from an atheist who loves words but is sick of using bullshit phrases rooted in Christianity: Is there a colloquialism that means the same thing but doesn’t reference god?