One of the most common feelings we experience during and after divorce is loneliness. I hear from women all the time asking me, how to cope with feeling lonely after divorce. Sadly, most of them are dating and trying to remarry soon to fix that. My opinion is, I don’t think that will work.
I lie awake, lonely as a solitary bird on the roof. – Psalm 102:7 NLT
Alone or Lonely?
Being alone does not equal being lonely. Being alone is a physical concept. You can physically move into another room where there are people to not be alone. While feeling lonely is an emotional concept. You can feel loneliness in a room full of people or when you’re alone, it just depends on how you’re feeling at that moment. Having the right kind of people in your life can change those feelings but it’s not always dependent on people.
By definition, being emotionally lonely is the feeling of exclusion, without having companions – being solitary – not being accepted or feeling acceptable, not being understood or cared about, isolation, separation from and abandonment, and unwanted or unloved by others. Divorce can feel very lonely as all of those feelings are true. But so can marriage (or remarriage).
While married, I felt extremely lonely. I can still feel alone surrounded by people depending on where I am or who I’m with. But I can also be in a room all by myself and not feel lonely at all. I control how I’m feeling by how connected I am.
Often these feelings are present in our life when we lack connected intimacy with others and especially with God. God is love and He created intimacy. He is the One who connects us all. But first, we need to be connected to Him. He is the one who has given us the desire for intimate connections so we seek Him to be there for us and connect us to others.
For those who don’t know, intimacy is not just sex or sexual relations. Intimacy is a feeling of closeness to someone else. We can have intimacy in same-sex friendships, with family members, and with our children, all with our clothes on. These feelings can and should happen with multiple people in our life, not just with a husband.
(This is not a marriage blog but I’ll still say that while legally married – this includes separated – to someone, intimacy should only come from family or same-sex relationships. There is a fine line that is often crossed when opposite-sex friends are sharing intimate details, love, or alone time, close together.)
While married of course our closest, most open, loving relationship should and would be with our husband. It’s almost impossible to have a close intimate relationship with a toxic person. And after divorce, we have to mourn the loss of that (if we had it). But that doesn’t mean that we still won’t have intimate relationships where we feel connected with people even if they are not in the room.
This may seem very hard especially if your only close relationship was with your husband until now. You might feel like you’re alone. But remember that feelings are fleeting or they can be incorrect sometimes. We often get deceived like that.
Reclaim Your Feelings
Feelings are not always based on actual circumstances. And even when knowing another person really cares about and loves us, we could even be self-inflicting these lonely feelings onto ourselves.
Some of the reasons we do this can be divorce shame, anxiety, lack of healthy boundaries which leads to resentment or other dysfunction, or we could have a sin problem. These things can cause a wall between ourselves and others which may lead us to believe that we are alone in this world.
As you work on your divorce healing, as you focus on your relationship with God, and as you learn to have healthy relationships, then move on to more intimate relationships, without the need for a dating partner or a new spouse, you will feel less lonely even if you are alone.
That’s why I believe it’s important to work through the phases of divorce recovery and learn to heal your heart so you’re not taking that “feeling lonely” baggage into your next marriage. It won’t go away if you get remarried if you don’t work on figuring out why you feel lonely. And no one person, besides God can fill that void for you so expecting it to go away can actually ruin your next marriage.
God Hears Prayers & Answers Needs
While Jesus was here on earth, He offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the One who could rescue Him from death. And God heard His prayers because of His deep reverence for God. – Hebrews 5:7 NLT
For a time, Jesus felt abandoned by The Father. But it was all a part of God’s ultimate plan. God was right there in control the whole time, but Jesus still cried out to God. In the same way, God wants you to seek Him for all of your needs, including your need for connection and community.
Just like for His son, God is with all of His children through this painful divorce season and all the seasons of life. He wants you to feel secure in Him. Because He will never leave or abandon you. Feeling loved and cared for by God can help you to cope with feelings of loneliness no matter who is next to you.
Not only does He wants to provide that but He wants you to ask Him to bring the right kind of people in your life that you can be intimately connected with. He wants you to seek Him and ask for what you need in prayer. He always keeps His promises to fill our every need.
Pray, seek, and He will show you where the doors will be opened.
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8 NLT
While you wait for Him to answer your prayers, stay busy serving others. It’s often tough to keep looking at our own circumstances and wallow in our loneliness (feelings) while we’re helping those in need.
How are you coping with feelings of loneliness?
Many days growing and learning in Him,