By Donna Kane, MA
Many people say that it’s a couple’s world and indeed, it may seem that way when you have been widowed or divorced. Even individuals who have never married or who choose to be single sometimes feel very alone. For those who are newly single the perception of a “couple’s world” is especially daunting as people who are divorced or widowed have to learn to embrace a new identity and navigate in a new social environment.
After spending decades as a couple, many people face overwhelming feelings of loneliness and isolation when they find themselves suddenly single. Often when they are ready to join in social activities, they do not know where to turn, and even when they do get out, some find that re-engagement accentuates their loss. It’s also common to hear from adults who have never married or those ready to try dating again that “all the good ones are gone.”
No matter the path you took to singlehood, the challenge you are faced with is: “How do I make a life for myself?” “How do I move forward with my life and find some happiness and serenity?” It may seem like it’s a couple’s world, but look around, and you will find many single people busy leading fulfilling lives.
There is some good news for those ready to re-engage in social activities and even start dating. Now, more than ever, there are activities to accommodate all types of people and interests. Travel companies are catering to singles; there are book clubs, outdoor activities, Mah Jong and bridge groups for singles. And for those thinking about dating again there are more adult singles than ever before. There are over 35 million single adults over the age of 25 in the United States. How can all the “good ones” be taken?
I would like to suggest that there may even be “better ones” out there. Many people who have experienced the pain of a loss find that they have grown personally and spiritually, so that they may, in fact, be better prepared for a healthy relationship.
If you find that you are isolating yourself and having more bad days than good ones, it may be helpful to speak with a therapist or find a support group to get moving in a healthier direction. JCS offers brief consultations and individual counseling, community bereavement groups, and other support groups for people who are looking for a safe, supportive environment to discuss their concerns. A support group can also be a great way to meet like-minded individuals.
It is essential to develop a positive support system of friends and family who will be there for you to share the good times and the bad times, people who will be there when you need emotional and physical support. Everyone needs a safety net. There are many avenues of social interaction and support available when a person feels ready to re-engage. Being alone, either by choice or by chance, does not always mean you have to be lonely.
By Donna Kane, MA, Access Services, Jewish Community Services, Baltimore, MD
To learn more about how JCS can help you solve life’s puzzles please visit our home page or call 410-466-9200.