How I'm Dealing with Being Alone after a Long Marriage


Anna Zannides

“Should a seeker not find a companion who is better or equal, let them resolutely pursue a solitary course.” – The Buddha

Finding yourself alone after being in a long relationship and learning how to deal with loneliness can be challenging. Many people end up staying in less than satisfactory relationships because of their fear of being alone.

I’m sure that was one reason my own marriage lasted so long. I’m dealing with being alone quite well considering I was with someone from the age of 22. The idea of being alone can be terrifying, but a loveless marriage or relationship can leave you more lonely than when you are actually alone.

I’m lucky enough to be one of those people who has always loved my own company. Even as a child I preferred to do my own thing and I absolutely enjoy quiet. Not everyone may be the same way, and it’s okay if you feel uncomfortable being alone at first. Don’t judge yourself for that, just accept yourself as you are – after all, that is all we can do.

I’m continuing to work on myself, but more importantly, I have mindfulness in my life. Part of my practice requires that I accept solitude and that I continue to discover more about myself. I guess my practice is what makes me enjoy the solitude – actually, it’s more than enjoyment. I absolutely need it.

Sometimes being alone is more difficult, like on weekends when everyone else is out and about with their partner. It’s at these times that I find practicing mindfulness helps. I tend to do a formal practice, like self compassion meditation or I just sit with the thoughts. If you sit with the feelings arising and you get emotional, that’s fine. Crying is a healthy expression, not a sign of disaster or weakness.

Being alone is not the same as being lonely. Being alone can be just what is needed if you have the courage to embrace the opportunity to be with yourself. Working on ourselves is the only job we have to do in this life: it’s what brings full self acceptance and self knowledge.

This week I’ve set myself the challenge to go to the movies alone. I used to think it was strange that people would go to the movies alone. But looking back, how judgmental was I? So this week I’m off to see Life, the film based on James Dean, my childhood hero, and I’ll be on my own.

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