Loneliness after breakups

By Leah Sheppard

Loneliness after breakups

Loneliness can come to us in many forms: Being left out of drinks on a Friday night; having nowhere to go and no one to be with on Valentines Day or just sitting at home wishing you could ‘Netflix and chill’ with someone. When we are fresh out of a relationship – even if it was only barely mediocre – you keep thinking that at least there was someone to hang out with on the regular. Instead you’re by yourself, with only your thoughts for company…and it’s surprising how loud and unforgiving your mind can be when you are on your own…


Being ‘alone’ affects us in different ways, and at different times. There are obviously the moments when we recognise our need for some ‘alone time’, usually as a result of a stressful week, annoying housemates, or just wanting some peace and quiet to gather our thoughts. This is the kind they show you on instagram photos or coffee ads, where the model is wrapped up in pastel woollens in her Pinterest-worthy reading nook, with a good book and a cat; Or doing yoga by herself in the middle of the fucking jungle with a triumphant smile on her face.

Unfortunately the kind of ‘alone-time’ we experience after a breakup is anything but peaceful and practical, and is usually the kind you see on an Adele video. It is born out of a feeling of rejection, the heightened awareness that we are all by ourselves, and the fearful thought that we always will be. What makes it even worse are the thoughts that pass through our minds that no one misses us, no one is seeking our company, and the painful realisation that while all you want is for your ex to hold you again like he used to, he never will.

Your mind goes into overdrive thinking of all the wonderful things that you are missing out on, with the many people you could be doing them with. You see all the fun-loving photos on Facebook with #[insertrandomtagabouthowawesometheirlifeisandyoursisnt], and suddenly you become painfully aware of the thousands of couples within a 10km radius that you never seemed to have noticed before…and you aren’t one of them anymore.

While it seems on the face of it that ‘it is just me, and everyone else is out there having fun’ this is more to do with your perception, than with reality. Everyone is facing difficulties, everyone is struggling with their own problems whether they are in a relationship, or not.

It is important to understand that this is a normal part of living; From kids in a playground, to university students and the elderly, everyone experiences loneliness at some point. Right now, yours just happens to be as a result of a breakup. This type of loneliness has deep roots within the evolutionary issue of rejection. Back in the day (i.e. with lions and tigers and bears) feelings of rejection and loneliness were adaptive tools our brains would use to make sure we got our ass back to the pack, lest we be mauled by lions, or die of hypothermia. Nowadays, these things aren’t such threats but our brains haven’t quite figured that out…all it knows is that you are feeling ex-communicated from the group, and you need to get back in it to survive. Traditionally that would mean changing whatever part of us got us kicked out in the first place – (like that birth mark the devil must have given you, or being a witch because you disagreed with your husband…obvs.)

Look, the fact is the things that used to be cause for being isolated are not the same as today. Nevertheless while the world has (mostly) figured out that being a woman doesn’t necessarily make you a tool of the devil, unfortunately our brains are still working in protective mode. This causes us to rally our behaviours, look at what WE did wrong, and why, and do whatever we can not to be alone, even if it isn’t necessarily the right thing for us.

What isn’t apparent to you right now is that this time with yourself is necessary. We forget that the longest relationship we have in this life is with ourselves, and a fast-paced world where our responsibilities pull us in all sorts of different directions, this leaves very little allowance for what we truly need and want. You are just now faced with a different challenge: Learning to love yourself again.
Now is your opportunity, and responsibility, to get to know and love yourself again free from the instruction and judgement of others. Don’t make an already tough time harder; You are enough. Love yourself, and in time you will be stronger to re-join the world again with all the joy and self-assurance and charismatic beauty that you once had.

Remember too that we are never truly alone. There is an entire Universe of light beings and energy that we are each a part of, and can never be separate from. They are able to be with you and surround you at a moments’ notice to give you the warmth and loving embrace that you seek right now. Still yourself somewhere quiet, close your eyes and tell them exactly how you feel in the best way you know how to describe it. Ask them to show you a sign that they have heard you, and then leave it up to them. Before too long, you will notice the heaviness start to lift from you and the joy begin to return. Just have faith and believe that it will.

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