Alone or Single?
Is there a difference? Theo Pauline Nestor’s memoir, How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed, describes her first nights after the sudden parting of her husband. Luckily, a girl friend understood the shock of adjustment and spent those nights with her. But soon, Theo had to adjust to sleeping alone.
The feeling of being alone washed over me and seemed
to permeate every cell of my body.
Feeling utterly alone after my divorce was a shock to my system too. Although I could have seen it coming for years, as soon as I waved goodbye to my soon-to-be-ex for the last time, I faced an uncomfortable void. What was I going to do with myself? The feeling of being alone washed over me and seemed to permeate every cell of my body. That feeling would last for some time.
Our son was grown and out of the house, so my main physical contact was gone. No one to bump into. No one snoring. Literally, no body in my space. I was physically and socially alone in my home.
Like Theo, I relied on my best friend to help me get through the first few days. Best friends can be great talk therapy, but I knew I’d soon have to face the reality of living alone. I learned divorce can be both physically and mentally depleting. I spent the first few months sleeping a lot ... between nightmares that is … alone.
Once the immediate shock of the divorce is past,
a woman is likely to begin redecorating.
In reading many divorce memoirs, I’ve discovered that once the immediate shock of the divorce is past, a woman is likely to begin redecorating. What better way to signal a fresh new start? Out go all traces of the ex. Now there’s room for expression of one’s self. Even though I was renting, and even though my couch was my only new piece of furniture, I transformed my home with new accessories. With each small change, I felt less alone.
Another important step I took in my recovery was joining a singles group at a large church in my area. Following our Sunday morning meetings, the group had lunch together, which filled a big hole in my life. After attending a few meetings, I joined the activity committee and was able to influence the choice of hiking and field trips locations. Soon, I was part of a tribe, doing what I enjoyed, and not so alone.
I experienced a shift in my thinking.
Eventually I experienced a shift in my thinking. I no longer thought of myself as being “alone,” a description that seemed sad, pitiful, and, well, lonely. Instead, I identified as being “single.” Single is a neutral state, neither positive nor negative. I became fine with that.
Along my divorce recovery journey, I discovered other satisfying things to do as a single person. Getting out of one’s comfort zone, although scary at times, can do wonders for self-esteem and a general feeling of well-being. Think of yourself as a single person and try as many of the 30 Things to Do that appeal to you. Or come up with your own. Consider one of my mottos: “You never know ‘til you make your move.” Give it a try!
Linda M. Kurth is a writer and a divorced and remarried Christian. In going through the divorce, she experienced a dichotomy of responses from the Christian community. After sharing some of those experiences in her upcoming memoir, God, the Devil, and Divorce, she's heard many stories of divorced Christians who have struggled with the same issues. This blog invites divorced Christians to tell their stories with the goal of encouraging churches to resist condemnation and become a source of healing and grace.
Do you have a divorce experience to share? Have you been shamed by a church because of your divorce? Or encouraged? There are hurting people who would like to hear your story, who need to know they are not alone, and who need to be encouraged. If you are interested in sharing your story, email Linda for guidelines: Linda@LindaMKurth.com