Every week, we answer a question from one of our community members. These questions can be about anything, from love and relationships to career or personal goals. This week we heard from Lydia, who is newly single and is struggling to adjust to being on her own.
Q – Hi! I recently broke up with my boyfriend, and he moved out of our shared apartment. As hard as it is, I know the break up was the right thing for both of us. What’s harder is suddenly finding myself alone; we were together for a long time, and I’m used to being around him all the time, but now I get home from work to an empty flat and it’s getting me down. I feel really lonely and a bit lost without him, and I don’t know how to enjoy my own company. Please can you give me some tips? Thanks, Lydia.
A – Hi, Lydia. Thank you for getting in touch. I’m sorry to hear about your breakup; no matter how logical the decision is to end a relationship, it is still hard on the heart. When we share our lives with somebody else, it can be extremely difficult to adjust to suddenly being without them. You are not alone in your struggle, and it is very common for people to feel lost and unsure of themselves after the end of a long-term relationship. Here are our tips on how to learn to enjoy your own company again.
Take the time to be alone
Many people panic when a relationship ends, the fear of being single propelling them to make irrational decisions and rush into something new before they even have time to recover from their breakup. Jumping into a new relationship without giving yourself the space and time to simply be alone and heal will only end in misery. Take some time to really embrace being on your own, give yourself time to process your feelings and move on from the relationship and your ex. Don’t go looking for love; it will find you when you are ready for it.
Make yourself a priority
When we are in a relationship, especially one that lasts for a number of years, it is very easy to lose our independence and our personal identity. Our lives become so entwined with our partners’ that it’s hard to know who we are without them. We put our partners first to make them happy, and with this we make ourselves less of a priority.
When you suddenly find yourself alone, you have no choice but to focus on yourself, possibly for the first time in years. This may be confusing at first, because you don’t know who you are as a single person, instead of a pair. It’s almost as though you have to get to know yourself again.
This can be daunting at first, but it’s actually a fantastic opportunity. You get to start fresh, and you can almost totally reinvent yourself if you desire. Now is the perfect time to be selfish, and to focus on you, and only you. You are a valuable person on your own, not just as one half of a couple.
Embrace the silence
Coming home to an empty house can feel incredibly lonely at first, but learn to embrace the silence, and it will soon become something you enjoy. Our lives are incredibly busy with work, the commute, seeing family and friends, doing the food shop, etc. We can spend hours talking, so it’s nice to go home at the end of the day and simply enjoy the peace and quiet.
Simply sitting in silence gives you the chance to process the events of the day, and to really think and feel the things you may ignore when you’re busy. This is the perfect time to practice meditation, without anybody there to distract you.
Create a personal haven
When we live with a significant other, we often have to do a lot of compromising about the decoration and furnishings of the house. A benefit of living on your own is that you have complete control over what your home looks like.
Coming home to a place that reminds you of your ex can be depressing, so why not make some changes, and make your home a personal haven. If you have the time and money, you could give the house/apartment a complete makeover with new decorations. Or if not, even just rearranging the furniture will completely change the look of a room, and will make it feel like new. Creating a space that you have designed and is completely your own will make it more appealing to come home to.
Now is the perfect time to test yourself, and to learn something new about your abilities. To love yourself and your own company, you have to really know and accept who you are. Take up a hobby you’ve always wanted to do, or take a class and learn a new skill. Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone, and gets your heart beating. You will surprise yourself, and your confidence will soar. The more confident you feel, the more comfortable you are in your own skin, and the more you embrace and enjoy being your own person.