I remember how I felt the first holiday after my divorce. My children were 5 and 6. Their Dad had remarried and they were expecting a child. I could not stand the idea of being excluded from a family circle.
I love the holiday season and still do. Even though the marriage was not a proper match, at least I had a feeling of belonging. I anticipated the pain of feeling disconnected.
What to do?
Step 1- Acceptance
Rather than grab onto the next guy who came along I knew I needed to create a new ritual. I would have Xmas eve with my kids. My own family was far away and was never much on tradition. In fact, I was the one who made the celebrations. I lived in a small apartment so that would not work. Okay – it is what it is.
Step 2 – Being creative
I planned to leave town on Christmas day and travel to a friend in California. This turned out to be fabulous. Although there was a sadness in my heart, meeting new people and having fun was a great antidote. There was even a man who crushed on me.
The following years that I was single I spent Xmas day working in a homeless kitchen, inviting a group of single people over for a “bring a dish” celebration. You don’t ever have to be alone.
Step 3 – Learn Contentment
I made a list of things I was afraid of doing alone and each year picked one item to conquer. I began to not fear being alone. In fact, I realized that being with the wrong partner can be lonelier than being alone.
Step 4 – Refocusing
Through my own experiences I realized that being single and being coupled both have their share of struggles and sadness. Wherever you go there you are. I developed a connection with spiritual not religious seekers.
The grass is only different not better on the other side.
Step 5 – Don’t Live Up to Other People’s Expectations
Of course my family wanted me to marry again. Their perception was I could only be complete if I was part of a couple. Develop your own unique self. Having fun is much more fulfilling than sitting on the pity pot.
I used my new lifestyle to grow as a person. I returned to college, chose a place to live where there were other single people, used alone time to be of service to others.
Many years later I look back at the challenges of that holiday time as a catalyst for finding the joy in being single.
I challenge you to do the same. It is possible.