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Single parent and feel very lonely

(11 Posts)
Serendipity30 Fri 26-Aug-11 23:10:28

Hello this is only my second post so go easy on me please , i was wondering if there are other people who can relate. i have been a lone parent of dd ever since she was born. i used to have a few really good friends and i was very happy with that but due to various reasons these friendships have become distant although still in touch. i have tried over the years to make friends with other mums at dd's school and although they are friendly, things never progress further than that. my main support system is my mum and although she helps when she can she works full time and our relationship is strained and volatile at times due to family issues in the past. i don't seem to be very good at sustaining friendships and i am now thinking there is something wrong with me. i think i am a friendly person , but i can also be quite introverted. I did not mind being a lone parents until very recently as i was previously in a very toxic relationship and it was pure relief to get out of it, but i feel like i have lost self confidence over the years, help!! :-(

noraa Fri 26-Aug-11 23:22:33

there is nothing wrong with you.
it feels the same for many lone parents.
being a lone parent is a lonely job.
maybe you have nothing left common with those friends who became distant now.
try to socialize, you may meet new people, form new friendships.

pickgo Sat 27-Aug-11 09:29:03

Think of it like a job!: you do need to plan, make the effort and spend the money (babysitters etc) to see people and put yourself in a situation where you can make friends - otherwise I think you can end up going a bit strange grin

Seriously, if you are feeling lonely that is telling you you need to make creating more of a social life for yourself a higher priority. Don't start thinking there's something wrong with you! You just need to make the effort to do stuff that will force you to mix and friends will follow.... a course? a group of some sort? an activity? a campaign? some voluntary work? a local mn meetup?

Come back and tell us what you have planned to do!

snowbootslikemyboots Sat 27-Aug-11 10:43:30

I feel the same too! I get that i need to make a effort to meet new people but i dont know where to start, the only thing i could think of was a parent and toddler group but to be frank, they were all twats there! lol so shall be watching this thread closely to see what is suggested.

gillybean2 Sat 27-Aug-11 12:13:49

iaintfromkansas I can relate as I could of written much of your post. I too have been single since ds was born. After several years I found a new partner through an online site, but the relationship was toxic and he was emotionally abusive, and despite being a strong person it left me without any self confidence and not wanting to be in a relationship again. I stayed far longer than I should of because I felt I had to be with someone and someone was better than no-one. But actually being on your own and in control of your own life is better than being with the wrong person who makes your life worse by being with them. So try to remember that when you feel low or lonely; that you might be sad and lonely now, but you are better off than you were then and you have a chance for happiness now when there was little chance of that with him.

I also found that the few friends I had seemed more to be fair weather friends and the few I have left aren't in touch very often. I tried for ages to keep these friendships up as I felt I'd have no-one otherwise. But we have grown apart and I have now let them drift a bit and am far more choosy as it felt as if I was the one trying to keep it going a lot of the time and that can knock your self confidence too.

When you are already low it can feel as if it's you that is the problem, but it isn't.

I finally decided it was better to cut ties than to be unhappy and feeling to blame for these friendships drifting and that there was something the matter with me when people weren't in touch. People's lives, priorities and commitments change and basically they are more wrapped up in their own lives and worries/issues and don't have time more than anything else. It's nothing to do with you.

Despite my best efforts, while I know many of the other parents at ds's school and have tried very hard, none have turned into friendships. Though there are a few I do feel I could call on if I needed help and I think they would help if they could.

It's all very well saying get a babysitter and make an effort to go out, but when you can't afford to go out, let alone pay a babysitter, it's not that easy. One friend offered to babysit so I could go out. I said that was great but that it meant I wouldn't have anyone to go out with and I really wasn't up for turing up to a bar or pub on my own! Though I have gone to the cinema on my own occassionally. Not sure I'm going to meet many potential friends there though!

I now realise that many people don't actually have that many really close friends and I'm not the odd one out at all. The difference is that they have a partner for company and share their dc with. It's the not having anyone to call or talk to that is the hardest for me as a lone parents.

It has also taken several years but I am now getting my self confidence back. Time really is a great healer and one day you will start to realise that the corner has been turned and you are finding yourself again.
Give yourself time and try not to force things until you are ready.

Ds is a bit older now and I am finding it easier to leave him on his own for an hour or so in the day while I go shopping or for a walk. Evenings are still an issue though and I don't feel comfortable leaving him to go out for an evening.

I joined a lone parent group in our area a few years ago and have found what I hope is a couple of good friends through that. I did dispair at one point even with that, but stuck with it for ds as much as anything as he had company, friends and oportunities through that, and I'm now finding benefits for myself too. And if nothing else it gets me out the house for an evening once a month and there's no issue of can ds come along too.

Someone here suggested spice group years ago, and one day - when I have enough child free time and money to join, I'm planning on giving that a go. At the moment it is beyond my budget.

In the mean time I keep in touch but don't chase up friends. I offer to meet up and do things, but make my own plans which they can choose to join in with or not, rather than relying on them.

MN is a great way of finding help and support and people to talk too if you feel low or unable to cope. Or just to distract yourself of an evening - there's threads here for all sorts of interests and hobbies so there may be something you find interests you too.

Hopefully you'll find that in time you'll be ready to move on and you will regain that confidence to get out there and find people who are more like you and to find clubs or groups which fit in with your life and maybe you'll start to make friends through your common interests or shared experiences that way.

I'm starting to get there now, and I'm sure you will too.

pickgo Sat 27-Aug-11 12:55:02

Oh come on - £20? for a babysitter? Once a fortnight/month? Bet you'd find that if it were for Dcs.

Wel it's for you, to help keep you on an even keel and thus benefiting DCs in long run.

You have to start seeing your needs as equal with your DCs more when you're a lp imo. You are a symbiotic group more iyswim and if you're happy they will be too. So spend that bit of money on doing something for yourself.

Meglet Sat 27-Aug-11 13:06:48

It is lonely. I have 2 small dc's and work p/t, but I can't socialise with work as I have kids to get home for. And I hardly get to see my 'mummy friends' as they go to toddler groups in the week while I'm at work sad.

What about the gym? Can you get to any classes while your DS is at school? Or does your local college have any classes in the daytime?

pickgo is right about you making sure you take care of yourself. If you are wary of using a random babysitter why not see if a local nursery has any staff who also do babysitting on the side?

gillybean2 Sat 27-Aug-11 13:13:06

With all due respect pickgo it's not always that easy. When I was on IS there were many weeks where I didn't have £20 for food, let alone for luxuries like a babysitter or going out.

When I started working part time I wasn't very much better off financially after factoring in the travel & parking costs. I was classed to be living in fuel poverty as more than 10% of my income was spent on that.
But I was better off enough to mean I could afford the bills when they arrived rather than worrying constantly, ds could sleep in his own room in the winter as I could afford to heat both rooms rather than just one room, I could afford to keep my car on the road, and that I could budget £35 a week for food pretty reliably assuming nothing broke or needed fixing. If I had £20 spare it would mean I could pay for either a babysitter OR to go out, not both. And yes I would far rather (and did) spend it taking ds to soft play, or pizza hut, or out for the day which we could both enjoy...

Unless you've been there you won't understand how hard it is. And when you have been there it can take a very long time before you feel comfortable spending money on yourself and purely yourself again.

pickgo Sat 27-Aug-11 13:36:11

I know I know GillyB. I have been there and perhaps needed that reminder. I use to have to do everything for 4 on £95 a week (incl shortfall on mortgage!)

So sorry didn't mean to be flippant or twerpy ignorant. My apologies.

(Just, if you ever have got a wee bit please see yourself as entitled to occasional treats too). Fingers crossed for a giant lottery win to all those in that very difficult boat. I know it takes true daily heroics to get through it.

In the absence of lottery wins though, could you try a mn meetup? Take a picnic and the kids? At least you've something in common. Or try to just get involved in anything local?

Serendipity30 Sat 27-Aug-11 13:53:46

Hi everyone, thank you so much for all your replys i am just happy to see im not alone(ironic i know) you have given me allot to think about and act upon, most of my friends are fair weather friends,and only seem to be available when they need emotional support from me , and i rarely see them. I think pickgo is right i need to make an effort to meet knew people but it is really hard because of childcare, and like i said my confidence is as flat as a pancake. Money is really tight as i am also a full time student in my final year. i did try to make friends at uni, but as they are mostly in their late teens and early twenties we have little in common and they dont really want to be friends with older single mum. gillybean 2 you sound like me and its great to hear that things have improved for you it gives me hope. I think i am also conscious of being a single parent so invest everything into making sure that my dd does not miss out. I would like to be friends with other mums, as sometimes i question whether i am making the right decisions for dd and have no one to bounce off ideas, but being on mumsnet is really helpful. i have to say though i really make an effort to be busy during the day, but evenings and weekends are really low points for me. thanks again everyone :-)

Serendipity30 Sat 27-Aug-11 13:56:51

meglet sorry i didn't make it clear in my initial post, my dd is in primary school, and i am anxious about where i leave her , thanks for your ideas. lol hopefully that lottery win will happen soon

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