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My Narcissistic Ex-Husband

Reflections on loving and living with a Narcissist.  Let our experts guide you toward the healing power of moving on and allowing yourself some time in the spotlight.  Get advice on healing from his behavior and finding yourself again.

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Loneliness is one of the side effects of divorce, and it can be devastating. You might be the one that feels loneliest in your empty bed at night or the one that feels most alone when you are in a crowd of people—it doesn’t matter. Loneliness can be debilitating, and it can be the thing that hangs with you the longest after your divorce. It doesn’t matter who you are, how you process things, or how many friends you have, if you’ve been divorced you’ve experienced loneliness.

It may be tempting to get sucked into that vortex of eternal darkness, where you keep telling yourself you’ll always be lonely and you’ll never feel part of anything again. But don’t let yourself go there. Loneliness is a natural response to what you are going through, and you will get through it.

It just takes time. In the meantime, here are some coping strategies.

Wait It Out

It may take a couple of years, or it may take several, but eventually that post-divorce loneliness is going to be gone. It will diminish over time.

There’s no set time, however. Just because it took your cousins ten years, doesn’t mean it will take that long for you. Just because your neighbor was back to normal in four years, doesn’t mean that you will be. Everyone is different; everyone has a unique experience.

When you are feeling lonely, remind yourself that it’s normal, and it will pass. Concentrate on the good things.

Stop Worrying about the Future

Do you worry that you will always be alone? Or that you’ll be doing the same things, feeling the same way, and dealing with the same loneliness when you’re 80?

Stop it.

Think back to when you were 17, and try to remember the things you were worried about as you contemplated the future. More than likely, those things never happened. Or if they did, they didn’t happen the way you thought they would. In the same way, your future is a mystery. It holds many things, both good and challenging. It’s unlikely that nothing will change. 

Rather than worrying, why not make a bucket list? Write down ten things you’d like to do and then work toward accomplishing them.

Learn to Enjoy Being Alone

This is easier for some people than others. Introverts generally have an easier time because they need alone time anyway. 

There are benefits to being alone, and you can learn to look at it as a positive thing rather than a negative one. Being alone allows you to get to know yourself. When we’re around others, we tend to become at least a little different. When we’re alone, there are no filters. Use your alone time to figure out what you really like, what you really want to watch on TV, what you really want to wear. 

Take yourself to dinner, or a movie, or the library. Learn to revel in your freedom, to hear your inner voice in the silence, and to enjoy your own company.

Take Chances

You know, you can go out to dinner with someone without it being a potential relationship. Remember the days when you dated just because it was fun? The next time someone (who isn't a potential ax murderer) asks you out, why not go? 

It doesn’t have to be something serious; it doesn’t have to turn into something serious later on—you can do it just for fun. If he pressures you for sex and you aren’t agreeable to it, then cross him off the list and move on. That’s what dating is about—having a good time, getting to know people, and enjoying your life.

Deal with What Makes You Afraid

Sometimes we are not as lonely as we think. Sometimes we are afraid. What if the toilet clogs up, what if the electrical system catches fire, or what if someone tries to break in?

The best way to deal with those things is to, first, figure out what you are most afraid of. Then make a list of these fears, and any potential solutions or comforts you can use to combat them. Then do what you need to do to overcome your fears.

  • Take a self-defense class
  • Get AAA membership, so you can easily get help if something happens while you are on the road
  • Many home improvement centers offer simple repair classes on weekends. Check with yours and learn how to do basic home repairs.
  • Take a class in personal finance if you need to learn how to handle money better

Whatever you need to do to conquer your fears and insecurities, it can be done. There are all kinds of ways. 

Take Control of Your Life

This is your life. You’re moving on. The only person that can hold you back from the things you want is yourself. 

That feeling of loneliness is temporary. Learn to fight it. Call a friend to talk or hit a last-minute movie. Get out of the house or invite someone over. Remind yourself that it’s normal, and it’s temporary.

If you need to talk about it, there are others who have dealt with the same thing. Join First Wives World and you’ll always have somewhere to turn when you need someone to talk to.

Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User : Gisela Giardino

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8 comments

  • Comment Link Andrew howden Sunday, 25 September 2016 11:20 posted by Andrew howden

    It doesn't have to be a woman,as this thread is going.its hard for men just to walk into a restaurant or cinema.

  • Comment Link Celesse Thursday, 01 September 2016 09:18 posted by Celesse

    After my x left the house, I did feel so alone. But when I thought about WHY I was missing "him," even though he had done me SO wrong, I realized that I did not even KNOW him. All those years, and I truly can say that I do not know a real person in him. Then I read about narcissists and found that they have a "false self" and empty personality. They feed off other people's reactions to them, whether positive or negative, in order to feel control and like they exist. Then I realized that I might be lonely now, but I was also in a lonely marriage! For years! Because he really was not a person! I also found that I need to look at myself too, and why I allowed myself to live like that. I had to learn about codependency and it is still hard to not feel attracted to people who are toxic to me!

  • Comment Link Donna kay Tuesday, 26 April 2016 07:19 posted by Donna kay

    Merry Christmas, I am wondering if you are the lady that married Jack W. H. I am Donna his adopted daughter. If this is you please contact me. Not too many people have the name Merry Christmas in real life. dkzoerner (at) gmail. com. I would love to talk to you agine!

  • Comment Link Merry Christmas Sunday, 29 November 2015 05:33 posted by Merry Christmas

    I have no emergency contact.
    I don't have children.
    Parents are gone.
    Brother has a serious disease, and lives in another state.
    Yeah.
    I'm alone.
    Totally, completely, and utterly alone.

  • Comment Link mollie Thursday, 02 July 2015 00:42 posted by mollie

    thanks for this website, my pain, is unbearable my fear is insurmountable i feel like the walking dead,
    tears falling down my cheeks, and if a smile is on my face, the tears are still falling down inside my heart..
    thanks for listening..hooray for all those who made the journey

  • Comment Link Sherree Saturday, 11 April 2015 08:47 posted by Sherree

    After being with someone for more than half your life it's beyond just not having a person around it's the not having the connection you could be in another country but you still have it, it's the feeling of security that there's someone for you. But what I found out was I was there for him through thick and thin but he wasn't. Make good friends, treasure your kids, men those with narcissist tendencies are fickle with them you are alone you just didn't realise it.

  • Comment Link GoingForHappiness Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:25 posted by GoingForHappiness

    I think thee worst part of my separation and divorce was the loneliness. When you're a bit older, you just don't necessarily feel like going out to bars and socializing. It's hard. I remember having a really tough time of it. I think I feel a bit better now, but with two narcs under my belt, I think I need to start focusing on how to stop attracting and being attracted to them. Thanks for this!

  • Comment Link Bouquet Saturday, 31 January 2015 11:04 posted by Bouquet

    This is so true. I think I am so scared of loneliness I am two years into separation with a few goes at reconsilliation only to be thrown on the scrap heap each time. Life is tough sometimes. I feel really low right now. I see everyone else's life moving along and I am going backwards. I hope for some light in my life right now.