questionshow do i alone?


(No sorries, plz. And yes, it's a clean break. No property, no rugrats, no shared credit. I never even changed my name.)


I do believe this is the toughest question I have seen posted here, and unfortunately I do not have a cut and dry answer for you. People handle "alone" differently. Some people immerse themselves in solitude, not engaging in much of any social interaction at all while others go the opposite route and seek out more social interaction to help with that "alone" feeling.

It is unlikely that you being alone came unexpectedly, so let me ask you this: how did you envision your life when you began to see your relationship was coming to an end? Did you have ideas of things you wanted to do?


Have you ever seen this video? It is really a good one.


OK. Our split was like this, too. No rugrats, no arguing over property. Over and done after 9 years of marriage. Just like that. It hurt like hell and I cried a lot.

However, I discovered that my friends are good friends and they helped me. They made me get out of the house. They hung in there with me.

But do you now what else I found? I found that there were many things that I wanted to do, but didn't always get to. I could now get up in the middle of the night and eat ice cream. Yay!! I didn't have to pick up after him anymore. And no more of his, ugh, dirty laundry. And going someplace by myself wasn't always bad. I paid more attention to the people around me and they to me.

@pemberducky: There is also a little book written by Yolanda Nave. It's called Breaking Up. A very good friend gave this to me. See if you can find a copy. It's just a little paperback, only 48 pages. It hits the nail right on the head. If you can't find it, I would be willing to send you my copy.


(Ran out of room.) You'll be okay. It's just hard at first. I'm serious about the little book (you'll get a laugh out of it). PM me if you would like me to send it to you.


"Resist the urge to be alone with your cell phone" good quote from inkycatz video


I'm currently going through the same thing, so I know what you mean. :( In August it will be our 10 yr anniversary, but he moved out in April. We were also DINKS with no shared stuff so that made it easier .

At first it was hard not having him here when I came home from work or when it was time to go to bed, there was no one there (that was the hardest). I'm still sad about the whole thing and I'm still on the fence whether it was the right choice or not. But it does get easier every day, being here alone. It will get easier for you. My friends have been great, they call more and I get to see them more than ever. They have been very supportive as been my family. I hope your friends and family do the same.


Rely on the kindness of your coworkers to drag you out to lunch or wheel you to yours in the kitchen. You don't even have to stalk them; the company directory has all their information already!

It's also festival season! Seafair, Bumbershoot, Geekgirlcon, and PAX are all things that are coming up. There's even a handy list of things going on in July:

Mostly, don't be afraid to ask people to do things. I've found that a great many folks fall into the same ruts or lack of activity just because they don't have the impetus to do it (or do it alone). Also, headphones and public spaces make a nice "alone together" situation.


Excellent and very serious question. Being alone is different in some respects for everyone in that you came to being in a partnership from a family. I am an only child, and I had become accustomed to being alone and making friends and going and doing things outside of family. It was good experience for what was to come. I have been widowed twice; once at the age of 47 with a 13-year old child and spent the next 7 years outside of a relationship but was working, dated, and had a lot of friends from my work, neighborhood, and parents groups. I was so fortunate to meet and marry a wonderful man who had been single for a long time himself. We agreed that we were too old to want or expect to be interested necessarily with what the other person was fascinated with and that we had so much in common that each of us would probably be involved in clubs and activities the other would not want. It worked perfectly................contid


Well, there's a reason the cliche "You learn from your mistakes" is still around. Don't be afraid to fail at something. (Keep the bills paid up, don't fail at that.)

My ex went directly from living w/her parents to moving in w/me. I'd been independent for a few years and knew how to take care of myself, she didn't. She went from being dependent on her parents to being dependent on me and had never been self-sufficient.

Then the marriage ended (clean break like yours) after six combined years of marriage and cohabitation and she was lost. One of the reasons the marriage ended was that I felt like I was doing all the work instead of it being a joint effort. But after she moved out she made the effort to be learn and with a little help from family and friends she made a go of it.

When I spoke with her a few years after that it was like she was a different person, finally self-confident. It made her more attractive as well, though I'd already remarried so I avoided that quagmire.


While wallowing in the misery of rejection, get off the couch and go walk. Join a gym. Go find something to volunteer with. Find something that fills up the empty time that you tried to ignore while you were lonely but not alone.

Avoid the urge to date, to cry on a shoulder or to drink for the good times. Take the time to feel.

There is life after abandonment/divorce.


......We were only together for 10 years prior to his becoming ill, disabled, and finally passing away. Being alone now is totally different from the prior to marriage, the between marriage, and the nursing home years due to life circumstances and changes in wants and needs over time. At this point, I am very comfortable in my own skin and would not consider another serious relationship due to the probability of being a caretaker again (no, not being selfish, but I just don't think I could do it again - physically or mentally). The one important thing that runs through all of my life events is being a people-person and genuinely enjoying the company of others. I still am very happy to try new things and socialize with friends with whom I have a common interest. But, the very first thing once must do IMO is to become comfortable with who and what you are and that translates to feeling it is OK to be alone....


.....and that you have interests and the ability to have your own fun not predicated on another person. Once you get over that hurdle, you will really be ready to move on. I don't say don't go out, don't date, don't have fun, but take your time with any serious commitments. I do know the pain, and I am so sorry that you are going through this, but go through it you must in order to emerge a healed, healthy, person who can then make serious decisions on the rest of your life. I do so wish you well. You sound like a very strong woman, and I am confident that you will get through this, but anyone who thinks it is easy is nuts.


I have a best friend who fills in most of the blanks. Like me, he's single with no interest in traditional married life. We spend our weekends together eating out, going to movies, and hanging at my place watching TV. We vacation together several times a year. He takes care of the "guy stuff" at my house, and I make him home-cooked meals. For example, my cooler was making a weird noise this weekend, so he came over this morning while I was at work to look at it, and while he was there he cut the grass and cleaned up the yard. I picked up Subway and went home for lunch and we just shared a meal. He doesn't have a washer and dryer, so he'll be doing laundry at my place for the next couple of hours before heading home while I am here at work. We spend our weekday evenings mostly by ourselves. Everyone thinks we're a couple, and I suppose in many ways we are, but there's never been anything sexual or romantic. We are best friends who happen to be of opposite genders.


I had a break where I had to relearn it too. It basically just took time and me finding a way to be alone among people to work up to being among people (bars with wifi and libraries helped me most). Living alone and finding hobbies was really rewarding to me too since I found a sort of peace with who I am. Being a human is hard.


Having gone through a similar situation about 5 years ago, I would mirror much of what has been said. I will say it benefits you greatly to accept the time alone as a growing opportunity. It's not that you shouldn't go hang out with people and/or talk about your feelings with people, but I would suggest embracing being by yourself. Initially I tried filling the "+1" void by going out a bunch and calling my friends all the time, but I realized after a couple weeks that I needed to learn what it was like to just be around me. Go watch movies by yourself, cook yourself nice dinners. I learned a lot about myself I may not have without that experience.


Things you can do alone:
-Decorate the house the way YOU want it to be. Change it at will.
-Buy yourself special treats and never have them disappear.
-Watch whatever you like on TV.
-Plan your vacations the way you want them. No compromises.
-Spend as much time with your family and friends as you want.
-Volunteer, join a gym, do whatever you enjoy-- your time is completely your own now.
-Get the pet you always wanted, raise it the way you want it to be raised, spend as much time with it as you like.
-Eat what you like. Have spaghetti five nights in a row if you want. Eat at midnight.

You're going to do a lot of the same things as a single you did as a couple, but you will do them on your schedule, in your style, how you want to do them without having to make accommodations for your "other half".


@tarasadies: man. ask a tough question, get a tough question right back! you're correct; i wasn't blindsided by this. i'm not sure what i saw for myself as all this was going down. i'm still so new to this city; it's been a little challenging to imagine what being here alone looks like. i like it here, but it's all so unfamiliar. i think that is good, though. whole new start.

@katblue: i like your response a whole lot. much hope. and i found that book! (perks of our corporate overlord...) but thanks for the offer to send it; that was really awesome & decent of you. i look forward to reading it.

@lmensor: hate to hear you're muddling through this stuff as well. solidarity! i'm glad you have so many loving people. i've got a solid support system, too. (albeit 1200 miles away. but i know they're there.)


@pemberducky: Aw, little ducky. You made me sad.


give it time and get a dog + netflix account.


@klozitshoper: interesting; i hadn't thought about the sibling/family aspect. you're right (at least, in my case): i've always had houses of people. heck, even between living with the fam & marriage, i had a house full of fellas.
it must have been unbelievably difficult to experience that loss (and all that comes with it) while raising a teen.
what you've said about being extroverted - or at least a willingness to try new things - this resonates with me. i worry about becoming a turtle.
thanks so much for sharing all this. much to contemplate here.

@elforman: boy, i'm prolly an awful lot like her. maybe. it's weird. i can do strangely independent handy things like change the oil in my car. on the other hand, i can't feed myself properly. so adaption will be key.
i wonder how long it took for her to adjust, evolve and grow.


@orangebug: "Find something that fills up the empty time that you tried to ignore while you were lonely but not alone." - Dang, you're good.

@moondrake: you are a lucky, lucky soul.

@bund9032: you have touched on a major thing. something i hadn't realized until recently is that i never made a point to go do XYZ if other people (husband, friends, etc) weren't also engaged in the same activity. the alone-social dynamic is completely foreign to me. and that's okay, i think. just will require learning new behaviors.
thanks for sharing.

@shrdlu: little ducky requests no sad. please. everything is alright.

@goatcrapp: you're damn right about the dog. it's gonna happen.


Surround yourself with friends and stay busy


okay. now staff ppl:

@agingdragqueen: humaning is a pain. i am glad you made peace with you. 'cause you're pretty awesome.
@gatzby: i am terrified of asking people to do things. will not be easy.
@inkycatz: oh, that video. it makes me just want to weep. speaks volumes about my coping abilities, no doubt.

I'm caught up! Yusss.


Here's one more piece of advice: If you start feeling depressed, that's normal. But if it gets to the point where you find yourself avoiding friends and procrastinating over the simplest of tasks (like those pasky bills again), then please seek professional help.

Many people still have a stigma against any kind of psychological or psychiatric help, but don't let that deter you. If you have a broken leg you'd see an orthopedist and if you have a cavity you'd see a dentist. Severe depression is a medical condition that does not always have to be treated by drugs, and it's always good to have a neutral party to help you work out your issues.


@pemberducky: i specifically say dog, too because cat's aren't great for learning how to be alone. They just make you feel more alone, in fact.. then you have to get more cats to compensate, and before you know it you have 16, and you smell funny.

:) in all seriousness - dogs open up all sorts of new social opportunities, which are also low pressure since hey.. you're just out with the dog :)


@pemberducky: There are low pressure invitation situations!

Facebook and G+ invites. General emails. Tweets.

Granted, nobody ever responds to mine and I end up drinking alone, but hey, at least I tried!


@goatcrapp: ROFLOL. That's a good point about the social opportunities. Dog owners are all part of one big club and we love to talk about your dog and ours. There was a thread not long ago on whether or not you knew your neighbors. It seemed that the people most likely to be friendly with their neighbors were those who walked their dogs. I can't get through a half hour walk with my dog without getting stopped at least three times and sometimes a dozen by people wanting to pet him or ask questions about him or take his picture. I swear he must be the most photographed dog in in the city, he gets his picture taken at least once a day. He's enormous, so he attracts an unusual amount of attention. But any kind of friendly dog will make you human acquaintances which can grow into real friendships if you nurture them. The more exotic or cute your dog the better he'll be at bridging social gaps for you.


@moondrake: Well now I just want to see a picture of your dog.


I've also recently lost one of the most emotionally significant relationships I've had yet. Thinking about the loss of +1, can feel like -2.

The first month it felt impossible to move forward, but you learn that there are people in your life who will help you get moving, whether it be talking you through emotions, getting your mind off of things, or dragging you through daily tasks. I recast my empathy net. It can take 20 people to "replace" the one, but they are there and want to help you through these hard times. It gets easier not just because your feelings change, but because you start remembering that Suzy likes movies, and John likes to hang out downtown, and it just becomes easy again. There are other people who want to share in this life with you. Something @psaux said to me is, "Don't be alone, and have fun not being alone."


Eventually you'll be ready to stop thinking about that other person. Don't spend too much time feeling the imprint that person has left in the sand, look at everything else you have on the beach, and slowly that imprint will change, and you'll have new ones to explore. A wonderful characteristic of life is that nothing is permanent. Pain and suffering are only temporary.

I also became more impulsive to try and remember what it is that I wanted to do. I talked to an old guy at a diner for no reason, and picked up a hitchhiker. It gave me a sense of agency.

You can also come to DW chat to talk about your feelings!


@pemberducky: I know, but it was a weak moment on my part. You should treasure it; I have very few of them. Ask around. My husband died of a heart attack in 2001 at 52; no one can predict how things will turn out.

Here's some suggestions that I haven't seen yet.

Talk to random strangers, even if it's only to say "beautiful day, isn't it?" Find new places to eat. Play tourist. You said you hadn't been in SEA long; go to the local hotels, and pick up some tourist brochures from the lobby. It's a rich and interesting city (with too many danged people for my tastes, but that's just me). I stayed in a hotel years ago that still had cubbyholes for mail, and keys. You were expected to leave your key at the desk when you went out (I'm sure that's changed).

Take a different path to work, or going home.

It's almost time for the hydroplane races to start. NASCAR on the water: What's not to like?


@inkycatz: Nice video! Way to find a video that says all the things.


I transferred for work about every 2 years until family issues brought me back to the homefront, so I made alone an art. The best initial "alone" adjustment coping mechanism I had was a desk blotter sized calendar hung on the wall where I could see and write on it every day. First month or two of crappy new alone, I would write everything from the "must do's", like pay bills and go to work, to the mundane "only if I really have to" like laundry and dusting. Any day with nothing on it...I found something outside my shell to do. Otherwise, I would never go out in the world. Easiest way I found to do that...pick something you like to (or always wanted to learn how to) do, and find the place other people do that. Instant people with a similar interest, wanting to do something sometime. After a couple months, the calendar filled up with independent human type and social things and I had to find time to be alone and unproductive in my pajamas, or to dust. I still hate doing that.


@inkycatz: Ah, you are brave to ask a proud mommy for a picture of her baby.

My current favorite:

A good perspective shot. Bob (the aforementioned best friend) is 6'1":

His shoulders come to my waist and he can kiss me on the face or drink out of the kitchen faucet with all four feet on the floor. Up until kids are 4 or 5, he is taller at the shoulder than they are, and parent love to take pictures of their kids next to him.


@moondrake: WOW that is a huge (yet freaking adorable) dog! I'd stop and take a picture too!


you can walk around the house nude


@publicart: "I've also recently lost one of the most emotionally significant relationships I've had yet. Thinking about the loss of +1, can feel like -2." true. and so deep. you're smart. yes, i'll be hanging in DW chat. maybe more active now!

dunno if i spend a lot of time (yet) thinking about him. i guess i spend a little time thinking about how things were when they were good. but not too much. and it's not particularly upsetting. just...wistful? anyway, thanks for your insight. good things.

@shrdlu: very well. i have put said moment in the leetle cubbyhole in my brain. :)
52. i am sorry.
playing tourist is a great idea. i haven't really had an opportunity to do that yet. and yeah, those races look NUTS! excellent idear.

@gwendyw: goodness, every two years? that's a lotta schlepping.
love the calendar strategy. especially appealing because there's a system there; some stability. i need that.


@moondrake: omg! <3
was going to adopt a dane, but plans got all screwy.
i even asked woot to help name the (completely nonexistent) dawg! as you can imagine, everyone was quite helpful.


@pemberducky: Ah, well that's good! I was just going off of my own feelings, of course. Can't wait to see more of you, possibly the chattier version of yourself in the IRC!


@moondrake: Oh, my! Simba looks like he posed for the first shot! Glamour Shots for Pets, perhaps?

@pemberducky: I don't have an answer for you, I am going through much the opposite situation as I retired last week and am now at home all day with my husband who works from home. However, this crowd is a great resource for advice, as I'm sure you know. I can only speak to things that have worked for friends who have been through similar situations to yours. Rely on the folks who care about you. Get to know yourself again. As @elforman suggested, seek professional help if you think you might need it. I volunteer in mental health programs and know so many people who avoid seeking help because of the stigma against it. Don't buy into that stigma. And as you took away from @bund9032's comments, go do XYZ if you've been putting it off because your husband wasn't interested. So many of us don't do things we're interested in because a partner isn't interested. Go for it and good luck!


Seattle is a big place. I understand that it's hard, but GET OUT! There are plenty of things to do. Do them by yourself, or with a co-worker. Do them with a friend. Staying busy/active with whatever you choose is the key. As for the pet, +100 for a shelter dog. :) ♥


Been through my fair share of breakups, never been married though.

Stay busy, but don't let work become your life.

Oh, and say Yes. If someone asks you out for social drinks, movies, bowling, underwater basket weaving - resist every urge to say no and just say Yes. Goes a long way.


@pemberducky: Maybe now is a good time to pursue that again. I don't know if your current circumstances permit it, but there are a lot of giant breed dogs in rescue these days with so many people losing their homes. It's not easy to find an apartment that will take a 150lb dog. Simba is a rescue, my 10th giant breed. 6 Danes (Warlok, Majik, Voodoo, Merlin, Topaz, Simba), 3 Irish Wolfhounds (Mischief, Lucy and Gus) and a Borzoi (Sydney). Simba fills in a lot of the parts of my life that would otherwise be vacant.

He's overjoyed when I come home.
He's glad of every minute he can spend with me.
He likes to dance, or go for long walks, or hang out at the park.
He is always happy when I put food on the table.
He loves spending time with my friends.
He's someone to talk to when it's too quiet in the house.
He's a broad shoulder to cry on.
He adores me and isn't embarrassed to show it.
He loves public displays of affection.
He is a heartbeat and a warm presence in the darkness.


@pemberducky: Been through 2 divorces & have been widowed. The divorces were good - meaning needed. Wasn't difficult for me to be alone. Being widowed was difficult. This was the person I intended to spend the rest of my life with. My love. We were so alike, enjoyed the same things, had the same sense of humor. He was the only person I could be alone with. Meaning, he was secure w/i himself. Didn't demand my time or attention & vice versa.

Now I'm going to go against what most others have said - only become active, date, socialize, etc. if that's really YOU. Some people prefer to be alone. I'm one of them. If you are of that bent, you'll go nuts running around & mixing w/others. It's not always the best answer for everyone.

If you are a social person, then you've been given a lot of really good advice! If you're more of a loner, then revel in the beauty of doing everything you want, when you want. Being alone, is NOT bad, just different from your past 6 years. You may love it!


Don't know if you are going to scroll down this deep, but here goes.

This is so hard, in that it is something that you never thought would happen. We always know that some bad things will happen to us. We may get fired from a job. We probably have to deal with the death of our parents. But we never really expect to have to get divorced. And even though there aren't any kids and some of your friends will say "hey, it isn't a big deal", don't believe it. It is a big deal.

The part that hurt the most for me (especially since I did not see it coming, at all) was the loss of my best friend. It takes quite a long time to replace that. I'm going to take a bit of a different tack than most people.

It's OK to be sad. You have suffered an incredible loss. You still probably don't have the complete measure of it. Give yourself time to find your footing again. You may need to avoid some situations, just to not be a buzzkill.


@moondrake: And in his eyes, you can do no wrong.


(from above)
I sent my regrets to one of my best friend's wedding, which came right in the middle of the divorce proceedings. Lucky for me, he was a good enough of a friend to understand why. I simply would have been crappy company and everybody that knew about what happened would have been asking about it, with the "and how are you doing?" questions. I didn't want to detract from his day.

Yes, I understand being alone after being with somebody is very frightening. I remember absolutely hating coming home to an empty house: it both scared and depressed. Maybe get a pet (if it really fits with your lifestyle, but be honest).

Sometimes it's OK to be alone. Don't let anybody tell you differently.

Lastly, now is a good time to evaluate your life. Maybe with some professional guidance. It really may help you understand what happened, and why. And how to move forward.


@pemberducky: I would suggest a dog, or you could pm me.., :)
Really friends and companions are good. The best means to balance an injustice is being well.
All the best, rk.