How I Dealt With Being Alone: A Case Study
Sarah, 32, was shocked to find herself divorced when all her friends were beginning to get married. Having been in a relationship most of her adult life, it took her a while to adjust to her new single status.
“I met my husband in my last year of university and we began dating straight away. I had only split up with my ex-boyfriend the week before and it was like he came along just when I needed him. To be honest, I had always jumped from relationship to relationship and had never been single for more than a few weeks since I was about sixteen.
“Our relationship was very intense and as he was studying for a PHD and a few years older than me I thought he was very mature. Unfortunately, after marrying him, I realised that he wasn’t mature but controlling and overbearing.”
For Better or Worse“By the time I came to this conclusion though we had already said our vows, bought a house and moved to the country. It seemed too late to leave the marriage and I didn’t know what I would do with myself anyway. He had pretty much made all the decisions since I graduated and I wasn’t even sure what I actually wanted any more."
She says that sadly, it was the death of a friend that gave her the drive to take control of her life and finally leave her husband.
“I realised that I wasn’t living my life and you never know how long you’ve got left. There were so many things I wanted to do but I had put all my dreams aside and knew I couldn’t do it forever.”
Getting Divorced“My husband never expected me to divorce him and I’m not sure who was more shocked, him, me or my friends and family. I suddenly felt like I had this new strength and the initial stages were like a whirlwind of freedom. I was making my own decisions, taking my life back and beginning to plan my own future.
“Like most things though, the euphoria didn’t last and I came crashing down when I was finally living on my own. I felt so many emotions I didn’t know how to deal with it. I was angry at him for restricting me for so many years and angry at myself for letting him. I was scared of being alone and felt a great grief for the loss of my marriage – even though I didn’t want it anymore.”
Being free“I wallowed in my emotions for a few months until I slowly started letting go and moving forward. When I was ready to emerge though I suddenly realised that all my friends were doing the opposite and just starting to settle down. I enrolled on a local art course, joined a salsa class and made a huge effort to meet new people and try new things. I still saw my friends but knew I had to take responsibility for my own happiness. I have even been on holiday alone which was a major thing for me. It felt very liberating and I didn’t have to think about anyone else but me.
“I haven’t been on any dates yet. I wanted to concentrate on myself first. I am thinking about it now though but the biggest difference is that while I would quite like a man in my life, I know I don’t need one.”