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Reframing living alone after divorce

Living alone after a divorce or breakup is a transformative experience. It can bring both challenges and opportunities as you transition to living by yourself for the first time in years, or potentially ever.

Reframing living alone

Adapting to a new lifestyle and redefining yourself outside of a marriage or long-term partnership can be an opportunity to build a fulfilling life on your own terms.

7 Benefits to living alone after divorce

  1. Rediscovering yourself: Without the compromises that come with living with others, you can rediscover what you enjoy and want from life.
  2. Self-reliance: Being able to count on yourself for to make decisions, solve problems and complete necessary tasks boosts your independence.
  3. Freedom to personalise your home: Create your own personal haven by designing and organising your home to reflect you.
  4. Control over your schedule: Manage your time entirely on your own terms, allowing you to establish routines that best suit your lifestyle.
  5. Opportunity for quiet and reflection: Benefit from the peace that living alone provides, giving you ample time for reflection, creativity, and rest.
  6. Increased focus on personal goals: Fewer distractions means you can focus more on personal goals and projects.
  7. Strengthened relationships: As interactions become more meaningful and intentional, living alone can lead to stronger relationships with friends and family.

Although the benefits are many, it can take time to truly feel comfortable with your new living arrangement. Here are some other factors to consider when moving into a home by yourself after separation.

Regaining Space

One of the most noticeable changes when starting to live alone is the new-found personal space and this can impact people differently.

For some, too much space and time to think can be the downside of living alone particularly if separation has forced this new living arrangement on you or it’s happened before you felt ready.

For others, having your own space can be profoundly positive. Not only does it give you the chance to make a fresh start, but it means you can create a lifestyle and home that are tailor-made for you, your needs, and tastes.

Scroll down for ‘9 tips for living alone after divorce’.

Addressing loneliness

Loneliness is a common concern among those newly living alone, especially if you have lived with your partner and children 100 per cent of the time before or are less accustomed to your own company.

Time can certainly help, but it’s a good idea to assess whether it’s occasional loneliness or a more prolonged sense of isolation that you’re feeling.

Acknowledging the way you feel will help you to work out how best to approach this new era.

Read our guide to overcoming loneliness after divorce.

Empty nest

If you’re a parent and you’ve agreed to divide childcare with your ex you’re likely to spend longer periods of time without your children than ever before.

There is no doubt it can take time to get used to this. You may even feel struck by a sense of empty nest syndrome, the grief felt by parents whose children have left home. And the contrast between solo-parenting and then being alone when your children are with their other parent can be stark.

But gradually you’ll find your rhythm and perhaps even unexpected benefits to your new living arrangements.

Tackling life admin and finances

Living alone after divorce or a break up often means taking on new responsibilities and roles that were previously handled by your other half.  It can feel like you’re on a crash course, particularly if you’re used to sharing the burden.

But the flip side is you have gained increased control over your life. You get to call all the shots now and can channel your resources and energy into the things that matter most to you.

And the good news is you don’t have to do it entirely alone if you don’t want to. Make the most of financial wellness and advisory resources and services created by financial experts to support you as you find your feet.

Developing the knowledge and skills to handle your matters more confidently will build self-sufficiency, helping you to move forward with renewed independence.

Stepping outside your comfort zone

Leaving the familiarity and comfort of the place you’ve called home can be very unsettling. But stepping quite literally out of your comfort zone can also be hugely empowering.

Living alone allows you the chance to learn more about yourself and understand just what you’re capable of. You get to live life at your own pace with the freedom that only comes from not having to worry about other people’s reactions.

Enhancing your sense of security

For some, living alone makes them feel less safe but taking practical steps can help combat this.

Home security features like high-quality locks, doorbell cameras, alarms, and outdoor lighting can help you feel more secure and comfortable in your new environment meaning you can begin to focus on this next phase of your life.

Create supportive habits

Creating routines that support you where you’re at in life can help move you forward.

Match your habits to your goals and needs, for instance you might focus on sleep, nutrition, exercise, work, self-care, spending time with others, or making time for the things you enjoy most.

Consistent habits can provide structure and a sense of normality and the accumulative effect of forming healthy habits also means you enjoy the benefits even on days when you feel less motivated to take care of yourself.

Embracing your freedom

The plus side of living alone is often a sense of liberation, especially if you were in an unhappy relationship beforehand. You can now live life entirely on your terms.

Seize the opportunity to shape the life you want free from the constraints of your past.

It’s not all about grand plans either, joy can be found in simple pleasures, like watching whatever you want, when you want, eating whatever takes your fancy, and organising your space exactly how you want to.

9 Tips for living alone after divorce

  1. Introduce background sounds: If your home feels too quiet, create background noise like the radio, podcasts, or even an open window.
  2. Create a welcoming return: When you go out, leave your home in a way that will feel welcoming so you can look forward to your return.
  3. Maintain your space: Being the only one who will make your bed or do the dishes may get tiring, but keeping on top of things will help you enjoy your home more.
  4. Personalise your home: Create a home that truly reflects you, your tastes, and interests. Display things that are meaningful to you like keepsakes and photos.
  5. Get to know your neighbours: There can be comfort in knowing others that live their lives alongside you, so get to know your neighbors.
  6. Share your space: Sharing your new home with friends and family will help create a sense of home and some new happy memories.
  7. Take a break outdoors: If it all feels a bit too much, get outdoors, go somewhere you like, and spend time around others.
  8. Prioritise quality company: Avoid scenarios that emphasise any sense of loneliness. Instead, prioritise quality company with people who fill your cup.
  9. Embrace new experiences: Say yes to invitations and trying new things.

While the transition to living alone after a divorce can be challenging, it also holds the promise of a more fulfilling and self-directed life.

You don’t need to have all the answers right away. Take this time to rediscover yourself, set new goals, and build a life that truly reflects your values.

Related links

Should I stay friends with my ex?

A beginner’s guide to trial separation

Blended families and stepparents: A beginners guide

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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