Feeling Alone, Isolated After Divorce
The walls can feel like they are closing in on you. You watch your clothes and other items leave your familial home and enter an empty apartment. The relationships that you once had with friends and family are forever changed. During the hearing, you encounter a judge who you feel, assumes you as an inferior parent to your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Your children later call and ask if it was something that they did that led to this outcome. You only see them every other weekend. In the wake of the union that once was, you wonder what had led to this moment. You feel tired, scared, depressed, angry, and most importantly, alone.
This is a reality for many men out there.
Feeling alone in the divorce process is a common sentiment that many men share after their lives have been torn apart. In adjusting to this new reality, newly-divorced individuals can find themselves feeling like no one could possibly understand what exactly they are feeling.
Many men resort to shutting people out and becoming reclusive. They block out the world and close themselves into a place where they feel safe and where no one can ever hurt them again. This type of behavior cuts off relationships and accomplishes the goal of isolation.
While that goal may seem attractive to some, it can have disastrous consequences for one’s health and well-being. Researchers at Cornell University have examined the health consequences of social disconnectedness and isolation. They found that these behaviors result in a decrease in mental and physical health.
These isolationistic behaviors may cause physical symptoms that are often associated with loneliness. These include higher levels of stress hormones, disrupted sleep patterns, altered immune system, more inflammation, a 29 percent increased risk of heart disease, 32 percent increased risk of a stroke, and a 30 percent increased risk of dying in the next seven years.
There also are many mental health risks that individuals who suffer from loneliness and isolation face. Those who exhibit these behaviors can accelerate their own cognitive decline, especially in older adults. They are highly susceptible to depression and anxiety disorders and can find themselves devolving into suicidal behaviors.
Benefit to the parent
Fixing what’s broken can be a difficult process for individuals who have experienced a divorce and are dealing with feeling alone. It requires admitting that your own behavior is unacceptable and actively choosing to take steps to correct it.
That can include enlisting the help of a professional. Many men look to counseling and therapy, in order to correct some of the unhealthy behaviors associated with loneliness and isolation after a divorce. There also are support groups, that allow individuals to heal among those that understand the pain of divorce and separation. In finding healing through this method, many no longer feel that they are alone in their suffering.
Divorced individuals are not the only ones experiencing this level of loneliness, and that is a sentiment that many individuals fresh off of a divorce do not seem to understand fully. According to Slate, the percentage of American adults who say they are lonely has doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent since the 1980s.
Despite your impulse to deal with the problems that you face after a divorce alone, it’s better to seek the comfort of others. Despite any of the problems you may have dealt with in the ending of your marriage, you still deserve your own social life. You deserve to be normal. You still deserve to have a conversation with someone or make small talk. Many who experience a traumatic event begin to question whether or not they deserve to have their own slice of normalcy.
In breaking out of loneliness and isolation, you, as a person, can be defined by your unwillingness to allow the divorce experience define you. You are committing to finding your own happiness again, that is not defined by trauma, pain, or loneliness. You are committing to being better for yourself.