It is hard finding yourself alone at any age, especially if the relationship with your loved one was a true partnership with shared interests and plans for the future. It makes it so much harder looking on at couples whose relationships have stood the test of time and who enter middle age with the prospect of retirement together. We look to the future and see ourselves in this place, but in a solitary state and wonder how we will cope on our own. This is difficult to envisage, as we all have our own way of negotiating life’s journey.
Some of us will use this time to travel and have a few adventures if we have the time and money to do so; others will be satisfied to throw themselves into the peak of their career or family life. However, there will be those who find themselves becoming more and more withdrawn and experiencing loneliness and feelings of frustration. Be reassured, it doesn’t have to be like this.
Sadly, it is the way of the world that one of you is more likely to die before the other; thus leaving a huge void for the surviving partner. How long it takes to come to terms with this situation will be different for everyone. When it happened to me I still had two relatively young children to bring up and whilst this seemed a daunting responsibility at the time it meant that I had focus and good reason to want to keep my head above water.
It is hoped that the passage of time, and the support of friends and family will gradually help you to come to terms with your circumstances. As time goes on you will see that you are coping well – and that doesn’t mean you are over your loss, but learning to live with it.
Developing new interests will help you to come to terms with your situation. I went on a creative writing course, which I really enjoyed, and I met some great people who shared my enthusiasm for poetry and literature. It gave me a huge sense of release to go out and mix with entirely new people and at the end of the course I had made some new friends.
There may come a time, regardless of your age, that you feel you would like to start dating. If you’re keen to meet someone who has also lost a life partner, this is a good starting point for the basis of a future friendship. What’s more, it also means that you don’t have to explain away any awkward background history, and you are less likely to experience the emotional baggage, which can become difficult to share with a new partner.
By asking yourself what you want from the next stage of your life will hopefully set you on a path to feeling complete again. If this involves meeting someone new with whom you can share your life, don’t feel guilty. Enjoy it as a sense of fulfilment. This doesn’t mean you have forgotten your partner, as he or she would want you to be happy; it is more a case that you are moving on but cherishing your memories as you go.
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