How to Be Alone

February 28, 2012

in Life Lessons

being aloneBeing alone.

Lately I have been contemplating what being alone felt like post separation and how it has taken shape in my life today. This has been on my mind because I have entered a period where there will be a lot of alone time. The Boyfriend and I are typically on the same weekend visitation schedule with our kids, but with his travel commitments with work, we are now off schedule until April. This means two weekends without the kids and without the guy.

I can’t wait.

Not because our relationship is shaky and I want a break, but rather because I enjoy being alone. I plan to see a movie, work on a house project, read, write, and enjoy the silence. I like having “solo date nights,” taking myself out for a dinner and movie.

But it has not always been something I embraced fully. Post separation was difficult when the children were visiting their dad. There were weekends I felt too lonely to be in the house. I spent the time running errands and keeping myself busy. What I learned over time is that when I could truly sit alone and appreciate the solitude was when I was ready to open up to another; to be available to share my space with someone.

I believe this is a struggle many people have following a break-up or divorce. This fear often causes a need for a constant stream of relationships. And, sadly, the fear of being alone is sometimes the only glue that binds a couple together.

How can one learn to be happy alone?

I found the most beautiful description recently. It is a poem by Tanya Davis, which was filmed by Andrea Dorfman. The following is what resonated for me from the poem How to Be Alone.

When you begin to learn to be alone:

  • Be patient.
  • Wait for it.
  • Start simple.

Starting simple could be a visit to the library or eating lunch out alone.

Work towards being comfortable alone:

  • Eating dinner out.
  • Going to a movie.
  • Taking yourself dancing.
  • Visiting an unfamiliar city.

As Tanya accurately states “society is afraid of alone” and  “lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless.” Embracing being alone is about loving oneself. It is worth the effort because everyone will be alone at times in life. It is not always easy, especially during challenging periods, to embrace solitude. It will be rewarding though, to work towards embracing solitude. In the difficult times just remember:

“If your heart is bleeding, make the best of it.”

~Tanya Davis

Here is the video of Tanya. I hope it resonates for you as it did for me.

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musharaf February 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

very nice

Naked Girl in a Dress February 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Thank you Musharaf. I appreciate the visit.

Jonah Gibson February 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I was 34 when I first got married. I was used to being alone, and I liked myself. It took me a long time to learn to be with someone. Opposite problem, I guess.
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Naked Girl in a Dress February 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm

That’s interesting, but yes, I could see that would require an adjustment when you are used to being alone.

thinkellen February 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm

This is so true! Relaxing and recharging for me is absolutely crucial. Not only does it leave me feeling refreshed and de-stressed, but it also makes me that much more excited to see the people I’ve been missing! You get an extra dose of appreciation for the people in your life. :)

Naked Girl in a Dress February 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I agree. I am more excited to see people when I have had that break to simply enjoy the solitude.

Brett Minor February 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm

When my wife and I were teetering on the brink of divorce (we did eventually), she was contemplating whether she wanted to stick around or not. I finally realized what the issue was asked her. Was she only sticking around because being alone seemed scary? She admitted that was the problem. After her numerous affairs, draining our bank account and countless other discretions, she stayed because it was better than being lonely.

As you mentioned, it was the only thing holding us together. Since I had learned about her secret life and she couldn’t get away with it anymore she had no choice, but to work on fixing the damage or leave. She had no intention of repairing things between us. Tearfully, she decided to set out on her own. Within two weeks she was living with another man.

I feel so sorry for her. She stops looking as soon as she finds companionship and doesn’t strive for that real connection.
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Naked Girl in a Dress February 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm

The fear of being alone can be all-consuming for some. Thanks for sharing this Brett.

Lee February 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm

What a wonderful post…and being alone is almost an art form. It is so hard to do when you have been part of a couple and had kids, and then the kids go away for the weekends…it’s so lonely…and then you need that break…I think it’s the hardest adjustment of divorce.
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Naked Girl in a Dress February 29, 2012 at 6:44 am

I agree Lee. I was not used to having an empty house…the kids were always with me! It one of the many things I am proud to have accomplished post-separation: reveling in solitude and going out solo.

Ben February 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm

I really love that Tanya Davis poem. I’m actually someone who feels more comfortable in solitude than with other people (at first: once I’m used to their rhythms and quirks it helps a lot) but until a few years ago I never really fully embraced being alone.

This reminds me of a quote: “A bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without offering companionship.”
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Naked Girl in a Dress February 29, 2012 at 6:44 am

Thanks for visiting Ben! I love the quote you shared! I too would rather be alone than with a bore.

iampisspot February 29, 2012 at 5:52 am

Great post!

I also struggled with being alone after a break-up. I hadn’t actually spent any time alone for such a long time, and it was an extremely frightening experience for me. Eventually, I got used to it, and now, I revel in it – I really like spending time with myself! I remember the first time I took myself out for dinner, it was really strange, but at the same time, I felt so calm and happy – knowing I was being kind to myself.
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Naked Girl in a Dress February 29, 2012 at 6:46 am

I am glad you were able to overcome the struggle to be alone as well. It feels so good to get to that place–have that comfort level.

Amy February 29, 2012 at 8:12 am

I love being alone. And my husband works from home. And I haven’t killed him yet. That is quite an accomplishment!
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Naked Girl in a Dress February 29, 2012 at 9:00 am

That is an accomplishment and a testament to your relationship with him. I really don’t think you could complain about the lack of alone time with him working home since you lured him into living with you and subsequently marrying you. He would be living with that little old lady right now if you hadn’t paid her off.

That said, I think he is lucky it worked out the way it did. :)

Random Girl February 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

Great post Kelly! When I first separated from the hubs, I thought I would be ok because I spent most of my time alone when I was with him. But it wasn’t the same. The weekends when I didn’t have my daughter were the absolute worst. I decided to stay busy, got involved in volunteering when I didn’t have her, and eventually fell into a comfort level of just being with myself. I now look forward to spending my time in a quiet house, taking a nap in the afternoon when I feel like, and going out to do things I enjoy just because I can. It takes a while…
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Naked Girl in a Dress February 29, 2012 at 11:24 am

Thanks! It does take a while to find that comfort in being alone, especially if you are used to having kids around all the time. It’s a nice feeling now, to be comfortable.

Jewels February 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I am often worried that I am too used to being alone to now be in a relationship. I fear getting serious and living with a guy because I am so used to my own space, schedule, time, etc. I can’t imagine living without it. I love that video (have seen it before) and think it is essential to being a complete and happy person so make sure you take time for yourself. :)

Chris March 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm

This is so timely for me. I too was married for a long time and felt alone within it .. but now I am separated and am truly alone. While I am going out of my way to make new friends and contacts, it’s taken me more than six months to realise that being alone – single – is ok, and that I don’t need to validate myself by my attachment to someone in a relationship.

Now my life is gathering pace as I learn to do more awesome things and enjoy the opportunites being alone can bring. For me – at this point in my life – I’ll be honest and say this video brought tears, it is so poignant and relevant to my life at the moment. It is simply inspiring. Thank you Kelly so much for posting this, I am sure I will watch it many times!
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