Finally, after months (or in some cases, years!) of working your way through the process of separation, dividing your property and debt, and divorce, you take a deep breath, and sigh. But for many, that sigh is not one of relief, but rather one that arises out of a sense of loneliness and uncertainty. You are not sure which ‘friends,’ if any, will be receptive to that invitation to joint you for lunch, or dinner, or even for a shopping excursion. After all, your ‘friends” really had nothing to do with the circumstances of your divorce. So, things should not have changed at all, right?
But things do change, even under the best of circumstances. Those’ friends’ may feel that, by being seen in your local community having that routine lunch with you, they are somehow ‘taking sides,” or being supportive of you, and unsupportive of your former spouse. And they certainly don’t want to do that. After all, they are ‘neutral’ in your issues and the resolution of them. So, your sense of loneliness intensifies, and at times, can seem almost overwhelming. But what are you to do about all of this? How do you adjust your life to reconnect with those whom you have known for years? How do you meet new friends, with interests that you might share with them?
Here are just a few suggestions:
- Look for social, charitable, religious or special interest groups to try our, or to join. Local skiing clubs, bridge groups, adult athletic teams, church groups…anything that might connect you with new friends with a common interest
- Explore travel opportunities, such as cruises with entertainers you would enjoy hearing, or group excursions offered through many churches, social clubs, or the like
- Consider visiting, and if you like, joining a local civic club or organization, such as Lions Club, Kiwanis, Rotary. Such groups not only provide you a vehicle for forming new friendships, but may also provide you with a means of extending your talents to those who really need your support, such as the visually or hearing-impaired within your community.
- Inquire about local organizations who offer many services to the elderly within your community, such as your local Shepherd’s Center. You may be able to only devote a couple of hours per week of your time, but helping to even make a few daily telephone calls to check on senior citizens who live alone and have few or no attentive family members, just to see if they are “all right,” can provide much-needed contact, and a sense of satisfaction that you are doing something worthwhile for others.
- Visit worship services at a church that is new to you, but that seems to offer activities that might appeal to you, such as men’s or women’s groups, Sunday school classes for singles, ‘divorce recovery groups.’ choral groups and the like.
- Pursue a new hobby or develop a new skill or talent. Begin taking guitar lessons (even if you think you are ‘too old” to begin such an endeavor), seek out special interest courses at a local community college…give yourself an opportunity to get ‘really good’ at something new, even if it’s cooking those gourmet meals you enjoy so much.
- Do not be in any hurry to get involved in a committed relationship, or to remarry. You don’t have to be married to develop many meaningful, new relationships.. Simply enjoy your newly independent self.
The old adage, ‘You are going to find exactly what or whom you like, depending on where you are looking for them.’ Choose a church, civic or charitable organization as a means of forging new friendships or relationships. Perhaps bars or nightclubs are not likely to expose you to the quality of new friends you so richly deserve. Look where you think there are those who share your values and interests.