- Gender and Relationships»
- Separation & Divorce
How To Live Alone After Divorce
Divorce; At a 62% rate, it's too common not to prepare yourself for one. I should know. I've done it twice.
There are many things to get used to once you've found yourself divorced but the one thing that stands out above others is living alone again. Statistically men don't handle living alone well, sometimes grabbing onto whoever comes along the first time, maybe accounting for some of that divorce rate. And after they divorce are usually quicker to rebound for the same reason. Women on the other hand, are caregivers by nature, so they are more resilient far more capable living alone (the divorce settlement doesn't hurt either) and will fare better without a new partner right away.
If you never liked living alone, psyche yourself into it this time because living alone after you've lived with someone else for a long time is different and can actually be better. You're a little more experienced in the kitchen now, can change a diaper or two, can handle your liquor better because that first marriage had you drinking way too much and any mistakes you made to get you divorced, you know not to repeat them or at least know how not to get caught.
There are so many great reasons to living alone. You can throw out the garbage when it starts smelling putrid instead of when the bag is full. You can go shopping when there's only one onion left in the fridge and when you go, you can choose to go any day, any time and even grab a gas station sandwich if you feel like it. No more curfews for you! Now you can go out without worrying you'll get a text or call or snippy remark when you get home. Only your dog may have peed in your shoes out of spite. You don't have to shower every day and get yourself that cologne your wife was always complaining about that you loved. So what if you smell like your grandfather? He was cool.
You can call all your friends over to play poker, with cigars, chips and lots of dipping sauces. Who needs a coaster? You can rest the drinks on the floor. You can turn in that car and get back that X-Terra you know you loved. Once an SUV man, always an SUV man. And when it's late and you're hungry, walk into the kitchen and eat out of the fridge, drink from the milk container, bring back those ribs and eat them in bed. You can wipe your hands on your tee shirt and throw it on the floor when you're done. No one is going to scream at you or call you a slob. There's nothing like eating a pint of chocolate ice cream in bed at 3am with your dog staring at you with love in her eyes. Life is good.
Kick off your shoes, put your feet up on the table, sing that song out loud you know he hates, walk around naked and fart without excusing yourself. Yes, you're living alone and it's going to be awesome.
Here are some tips that may help:
1. Surround yourself with your own friends. Unless you remained amicable with your ex, which if you share custody of children, is always a good thing, you don't need to hang out with your ex's friends.
2. Get a pet. Pets make great company. If you work long hours, you may do better with a cat. But if not, dogs are the best. Consider adopting an older one that is already trained so you won't have to clean up after him like a puppy. Birds can be messy but cheap to keep and wonderful to listen to. Even if you decide to get fish, get one. Caring for something else other than just yourself will be a good way to transition into your new lifestyle.
3. Invest in cable. One of my mistakes was not getting cable, trying to be frugal. But I missed out on the "background noise" I had gotten used to while I was married. The television was always turned on and I never realized that until I lived in total silence for a few weeks. But try not to watch the old shows you watched together. Find your own channel, even if it's the retro channel filled with shows you watched as a kid.
4. Buy plants. It's true that plants help you live longer. Surround yourself with plants that don't need sunlight like Ferns and Aloe Vera, which only need to be watered every 3 weeks and are great in a medical emergency like a burn or cut. Once a week splurge and buy some flowers to put in your favorite vase, set it in the center of the table where you eat your dinner.
5. Buy candles. My favorite way to relax is a hot, bubbly bath with classical music playing and lots of candles in the bathroom. No worrying about burning anything if you keep them around the tub. All your senses will be on, especially if the candles are scented. Do this at least once a week or on those days you feel stressed. It's a great way to recharge. If you don't have a bathtub, the scented candles are very meditational.
6. Invest in your health. A body has to be healthy in order for it to be happy. And if the body is happy, so is the mind. You don't need pills or alcohol to get you through this. Eat less processed foods and make vegetables and fruits a priority when you go shopping. Proteins should only incorporate 25% of your daily meal. Drink plenty of water and exercise at least 3 times a week. Whether it's a gym or taking a walk after dinner with your new pet, burn that energy and sadness away. Plus you get to meet new people.
7. Find a hobby. Maybe your wife didn't want you playing soccer with the boys or your husband didn't think that art class was money well spent. Now is the time to do whatever you want. Go out, find something you enjoy and just do it. The one great thing about living alone is you account for yourself. There is no spouse to oversee, judge or criticize you anymore or watch your every move.
9. New surroundings. Maybe you worked together. If you have a degree, you can find work anywhere. You may want to move out of the area altogether and start fresh in a place with little to remind you of your ex. If that doesn't bother you, then change your surroundings, paint your walls, re-arrange furniture, etc. Make it a whole new scene and buy things you always wanted but weren't "allowed" to. Hello, man cave!
10. Food Shopping for one was the biggest challenge for me. But I finally figured it out. Tupperware. Lots of tupperware and ziploc baggies. Buy the foods that have no expiration date like cans of soup and beans and stock up. Buy meats, fish, etc, cut or slice them, take a few you need for the week and store in tupperware, freezing the rest. Same with veggies. make your plates for the week, store in frig so when you come home, all you have to do is heat or cook and serve. The easier you make it, the less stress you will have.
The trick to living alone is simple. Make it fun. It's not bad, just different than what you've gotten used to. Here is your second chance to live your life YOUR way. Enjoy it!