Ask a counsellor: 'How do I start a new life after divorce?'

17th Apr 18 | Lifestyle

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her advice to a woman who is feeling lonely after the break up of her marriage.

Sad woman

The problem…

“I’ve been divorced for two years and I haven’t had another relationship since I separated from my husband; as much as I’d love another partner, it just doesn’t seem to happen for me.

“When my partner walked out, it was a huge shock and I still can’t forgive him for what he’s done. Most of my friends are in relationships of their own, so going out with them isn’t always possible and I feel so depressed at the thought of spending my life alone again. Even though my children and grandchildren visit, I still can’t help feeling like nobody wants me.

“I’m not a bad person and I’m not bad looking either, but I’m 49 and feel that I am on the road to being sad and lonely for the rest of my life.”

Fiona says…

“Please don’t give up like this. I know it must be difficult to stay positive when you feel this way, but if you present yourself as a sad and miserable person, you’re not going to be attractive to others.

It's been one week and the overwhelming urge to scream is still lurking inside. Being suppressed daily by the life of a single working mum but rearing it's ugly head in the long ass lonley evenings. Nothing but the feeling of complete pointlessness. No point cooking for one, no point watching the same TV you once enjoyed as a couple, no point washing my hair; who do I have to impress? When the kids are in bed and I've clocked off from my day shift of being ‘Mum’, there is nothing but the sense of being completely worthless #divorce #separated #alone #lonely #mentalhealth #anxiety #depression #darkness #single #singlemum #singleparent #gettingthroughthenights #bookskeepingmesane #bookworm #bookmad #harrypotterquotes #gettinglostimbooks #words #mustremebertoturnthelighton

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“It is hard to make a new relationship happen, but sometimes the harder you try, the more difficult it becomes – especially if prospective partners see you as too keen or even desperate. Rather than concentrate on starting a new relationship, make sure you’ve got things in place in order to move on first.

“Start by getting the basics in order; put away photographs and file papers so they’re not a constant reminder of the past. Make sure your finances are completely independent too, and change your online passwords to phrases your ex doesn’t know and can’t guess – you don’t want him monitoring what you’re up to.

“Why not change and update your image? The way you look – your hair, clothes and make-up – can be a fun way to reflect the new you and your new life. Take a few risks! I don’t mean put yourself in danger, but take a holiday somewhere on your own or with a group of people you don’t know, to somewhere different and surprising.

“Now is the time to try something new, so open yourself up to adventures you might not have even considered before. Start new hobbies, join a gym or just go out walking. All this change and activity will keep you busy and give you lots to talk about in the future with possible dates. More importantly, it will help you to start believing in yourself.

Divorce can rock your confidence (Thinkstock/PA)

“At the moment, you’re still sad and afraid, but you’re also still quite young (potentially less than half way through your life) so you need to rethink your attitude. However resentful you may feel about your ex, you need to forgive him and move on, because carrying bitterness will only serve to poison you and damage your future relationships, too.

“Appreciate who you are, and forgive yourself – especially if you think you’re in any way to blame for the breakdown of your marriage. When you’re ready to meet someone new, make sure your friends and family know that you’re open to the idea of new relationships – they may know someone who might be interested in meeting you, but haven’t been sure about suggesting it in the past.

Yaasss! #MondayMantra 🤟🏻✌🏻

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“Don’t be put off by the idea of online dating, either. Thousands of people are meeting up this way. While rejection can be hard at first, try and be lighthearted about it – you’ll be rejecting people too!

“You may not immediately meet the person who’s right for you, but getting out there will help to combat the loneliness you feel. Don’t be too hard on people you meet though, give them a chance, as they may be nervous on a first date and only blossom as they get to know you.

“Finally, do talk to someone – reach out to old friends and acquaintances, as I’m sure there is someone you could talk to and share your feelings with. Remember friendship is a two-way process and people like to feel that they are needed. They may all think you’re happy as you are, so find someone you trust and share your feelings.”

If you have a problem and you’d like Fiona’s advice, email help@askfiona.net

© Press Association 2018

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