“I’d always been terrified of this (being alone.) But I would rather never be in a couple, or ever get laid again than be in a toxic relationship.” Anne Lamott in Plan B, Further Thoughts on Faith
If you are in the process of a midlife divorce, you are probably worried about being alone. You may think you never want to be emotionally, physically, financially, sexually involved with anyone ever again for as long as you live! But that feeling passes pretty quickly. After that, you sometimes start being so incredibly lonely that you think you might not make it from one day to the next.
That’s one of the differences of midlife divorce. You are probably facing a whole avalanche of sometimes-lonely changes — all at the same time: your young, skinny body may have left you; your children are probably stretching their wings and needing you less; parents may be sick or dying; then your wasband decides someone else would be a lot more fun to live with, and you think you might actually physically die from the sheer, cold, desperate loneliness.
I know. I’ve been there. But you won’t die. You might want to. You might say to yourself, “this life is not worth the agony and pain.” But here’s a secret: you can learn things in that desperate loneliness that you can’t learn any other way.
You will discover that some relationships are worth having and some are toxic to you. Think about it. Were you lonely in your relationship before your divorce? Was your wasband really good for you? Especially lately? I know after three years of dealing with my wasband having a girlfriend, I finally came to the accurate conclusion that he was not good for me. He was corrupting my life and my character to some extent because I let him. I was afraid to stand up and say “enough is enough” and be willing to be lonely for a while so that I could eventually get to an amazingly better place.
Being alone is terrifying at the beginning. But be patient. You won’t always feel like you’re feeling now. You will grow through it. You will become more beautiful and real and wise because of it. Plus, you will hold on to your own good character, and you will find joy again that you can’t believe.
Don’t be afraid. You are strong. You are good. Your battle with loneliness can be the battle that brings you the most empowering and liberating victories. Staying in a toxic relationship will eventually corrupt you despite your good intentions.
“Don’t be misled, bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15.33 (NIV)