Loneliness & Divorce – Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

It is unsurprising that many people divorcing experience feelings of loneliness. For some, this may be a feeling they have felt long before their separation from their partner, and may have been one of the causes for the breakdown of their relationship. Whilst others may stay longer in an unhappy marriage or relationship for fear of the loneliness that a separation might bring.

Loneliness can be a distressing and isolating feeling, and it is possible to feel alone even when you remain in a relationship. There may be circumstances where your other half works away from home often and is not physically present to share the happiness, but also the strains and the burdens of everyday life. On the other hand, it may be that when you and your partner are in the home together, it feels as though there is great distance between you and there may be a lack of emotional availability that leaves you with a feeling of loneliness – unable to confide and communicate with your partner and creating greater barriers between you.

At the same time, separating and divorcing is a big life change that may bring with it a different form of loneliness. You would have spent a number of years with your former partner and created many positive memories and familiar routines and traditions. With separation and divorce, that person is no longer there to share, to build with and to turn to in difficult moments. There is often a feeling of loss or grief due to the changing circumstances. Extended family members on your former spouse’s side may no longer be present in your life in the same way that they used to be, you may have had to move home or to a different neighbourhood. It can be daunting and unfamiliar, leaving behind some of the close social networks or mutual friendship groups that were once integral to everyday life. Children are also likely to share their time between parents and therefore it is common that parents see less of their children than they otherwise would if the marriage had continued.

Although it can be difficult to adapt to the changed circumstances, being alone can be an important time for personal growth and self-reflection. It helps to speak to friends, family members, a counsellor or therapist to help process the end of the relationship and develop the acceptance that it has come to a close. It helps also to immerse yourself in re-discovering the things or activities you really enjoy and making a conscious decision to prioritise your wellbeing in creating your new life. Be open to allowing others to support you and asking for help when needed. Keeping active also helps in managing stress and anxiety and re-focusing the mind towards more positive thoughts. It is assuring to know that in many cases, the feelings of loneliness are temporary and does not have to define the rest of post-separation life. Looking ahead, there can be great things that arise such as the building of confidence, self-esteem, independence and new opportunities to flourish.

For further information and advice, please contact any of our top London divorce lawyers and family mediators on E: hello@flip.co.uk or T: 020 7420 5000.