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Please tell me how to cope or be happy being single(24 Posts)
Others will probably come along with great advice but I think the fact that you are on your guard against getting depressed will help you. I would seriously consider counselling again - there is a world of difference between an indifferent counsellor and one who you really click with and will work well with you.
Maybe in the short term you could think of it as having (say) a year's break from relationships? That way you are not stressing that you'll never be in one again, it's more that you are taking a conscious decision to spend the next year focusing on your daughter completely.
It's a small suggestion but how about writing a list of all the benefits of being single and in control of your own life? Some of those might be about being away from your ex and stuff he did, which is fine, but there might also be things that are enjoyable in themselves about not having to accommodate anyone else.
I can only speak from my own experience. I used to be depressive but never really got so badly depressed after my daughter was born, partly because a child is a changing thing, ie., you will only have them seven months old for a month and it would be a shame not to enjoy their every stage. There is company and affection in a child (I don't mean treating them as an adult or demanding affection). And there is bliss in not having their father around!
It's just the transition from being part of a couple to be alone that is the hardest. After a bit, you get comfortable with being alone and doing your own thing. You just have to get over the hump.
It does get easier, I concentrated on DS and have an amazing relationship with him now thanks to spending the best part of a decade being such a close team! I had a couple of boyfriends in that time, but was a bit of an emotional wreck from making bad choices so did a bit of counseling too! My motto became "better to get dusty on the shelf than find myself stitting in the wrong cupboard". It is tough not having the companionship, but not unbearable if you remind yourself of the bad things that went with it. Get a dog - far more reliable company.
I eventually met DH on a dating website - but despite being incredibly happy I do sometimes find myself missing those days when it was just DS and I! The grass is always greener!
It will get easier, you need time to get back to being you. Good luck
I think it is a good idea to do what you can to enjoy being single with your DC and then be in a position to regard a relationship, when it comes, as a bonus.
I'd second the advice on perhaps trying another counsellor. If you do, call a few and chat to them and be sure to go for one that you click with.
The best recommendation I was ever given at a very troubled time was to do what makes you happy. Are there any hobbies or activities that you really enjoy that will help you to have fun perhaps and keep you busy. This may be challenging with a young DC but is essential I think. I would advocate ensuring that you focus on you as well as the DC and take things one step at a time rather than thinking too far ahead which can be a bit daunting.
I'd echo the suggestion about hobbies and activities. Also challenges. If part of the reason you have rushed into bad relationships is not simply a desire for closeness but lack of self-confidence then I think having goals and setting yourself challenges can be a good way to boost that confidence and enjoy independence. Some of the stress of being a single parent especially can stem from being mired in the day-to-day. Having a few future goals forces you to lift your head, think ahead and have something to look forward to. Doesn't have to be anything grand. Since being single I've travelled a lot and joined a music group but, in the early days, my challenges were things like working the lawnmower and rewiring a light switch!
Once you're happy in your skin, others will respond to that.
I've just come out of a long relationship. I do miss the closeness and intimacy but have decided that this year is just for me. I'm considering some very simple plastic surgery - it's something for me and will boost my confidence.
I'm going to concentrate on myself and my 2 DS and relocate back to my home town, buy myself a new house, get settled and happy in my own skin.
I'm seeing a counsellor too. It's hard at times but I'm trying to be positive!
+1 for both the 'do what makes you happy' and 'challenge yourself' theories.
My situation is different in that my LTR ended without DC, but other than that I recognise a lot of your post, and also will echo what someone else said about that it's a really, really good thing that you recognise your depressive tendencies and triggers - awareness of your own mental health is a fantastic thing. Maybe the right kind of counselling would help with that further as well.
For me 'do what makes you happy' stretches from the biggest things in my life (I absolutely love my job! and given that I'm only providing for myself, see no reason to spend the majority of my waking hours doing something I don't thoroughly enjoy), to the smallest things - cooking my favourite foods just for myself, having my cupboards organised just how I want etc. That kind of thing is especially helpful with managing my own mental health - because there are so many little things in my life that make me happy, every time I feel a depressive twinge, it's more easily staved off.
Early on, during a low time, I made a list of '50 things I'm proud/glad I've done'. Some were big, some were small. It was a big confidence boost. I then wrote a list of 50 things I wanted to do in the future.....5 years on, even though I've crossed off well over half that list, it's still about 50 things long because I keep adding things to it!!!
I really relate to your post. It's sad when we need others to bring us the love and confidence we are unwilling to give ourselves.
What is working for me is taking on challenges that scare the shit out of me, but that are also things that I really want but didn't dare try for a long time. (for me, that's taking a writing class to get over my writer's block, and applying for jobs abroad, to get out of the rut of my comfortable-but-deathly-boring job and location. For you, it will be whatever it is you feel "not good enough" to go out and grab for yourself.)
It makes me feel much happier to be tackling these fears, and working towards personal goals. Just the fact that I'm taking small steps like sending applications is already making me feel more stable and confident, like "myself", ie. a whole person in my own right. It's allowing me to walk away from an on-again, off-again relationship that was making me uncomfortable but that I was clinging on to for want of anything else.
That "anything else" has to be provided by you, not by others, as you have put your finger on. So my advice is: find what you're afraid of trying, and do it.
Therapy recommendation: see if you can find compassion-focused therapy. Fill up that empty well of self-love.
CBT is great to give you tools in the present, but if you can find some compassion-focussed therapy too, I think it would help repair past damage.
Also second the dog recommendation!
'I'd echo the suggestion about hobbies and activities. Also challenges.' Me too. See this as an opportunity to get out there and do all the things that were difficult when you were with your ex. Sitting at home in front of the TV all the time, with no change to your routine, nothing to look forward to, is depressing for anyone.
When I split with my ex I started going to the cinema on my own to watch all the movies he would never have come to (horror!). I'd go on a sunday or Monday night when it wasn't too busy with dating couples, and although I felt a bit anxious the first time about looking like a no-mates loser, actually it was fine. And I was not the only single person there, either. It was great, good movie, no one talking or snoring or fidgeting next to me, could nosh on a hot dog, relax, really enjoyed it.
I also booked myself on a Singles activity holiday abroad and had a wonderful week doing all sorts of exciting things ex wouldn't have done if you paid him a million quid. Quad biking, canoeing, mountain hike, boat trip, canyon walk, you name it. Lovely group of 6, all about the same age, not a 'hook-up' sort of holiday, all of us single and perfectly normal, and the chance to get off by myself as well as do the group stuff. But it was great to have a group to eat with and go out in the evenings, or just hang out with by the pool. :-)
These are probably not your things. But they were mine, and they were a terrific boost to my confidence and in helping me realise that I can go do whatever I want on my own. Find your things - and go do them.
I second what hot has said and do something that you are afraid of. There's something very satisfying about conquering your fears.
I got out of a bad marriage and was single for 5 years, and I'm so glad I gave myself the time to heal and work out for myself what was and was not acceptable in a relationship. I loved being single in the end and learned a subject I'd wanted to learn my whole life but was too frightened to, it took me 4 years but I'm almost at the end of it now and it feels so amazing.
I did find another relationship and it's great, but at the same time, I will never be scared to be alone again. Good luck OP
Get busy. The more you do, the better you'll feel.
You don't enjoy your career but can't leave it now - ok, but can you do some training or education in another field that you would enjoy? An evening class, if you can get childcare sorted? If you look at it as purely an exercise - after all, you don't NEED it, you already have a job - you can just enjoy yourself, and it will do wonders for your confidence. Try new things.
And make NEW habits so you don't miss the old routines...take a different route to work, stop at a different shop, get out on the weekend with your child and set new traditions/favourite places! (I'm not presently single, but I went through a bad breakup and 'miserable singleness' in my thirties, and this is what I learned in the aftermath.)
Tell your friends you need company, don't assume they will know. You don't want to drag them down or bore them with tales of misery and woe - but it is fine to say "hey, I really could use some company this weekend, can we go for a run/get a coffee/watch telly together on Friday night".
I am in no way an expert - but I think as PP said you need to fill up your self-love. I used to "need" affirmation from someone else - almost desperate at times to get my confidence/feelings of self-worth boosted by someone else - as I have had issues with self-esteem. That period of my life also found me accepting sub-standard me. I didn't feel I deserved/would ever be worthy of anything better.
If you can work on your own self-worth/self esteem maybe that would be the key to being happier on your own?
You are worthy of being loved. But I feel that you kind of have to love yourself first IYSWIM.
I have recently started counselling. I just found myself googling tbh and made sure I found someone that was a psychotherapist - not just a "counsellor".
Tell friends when you fancy some company
A dog? (Or cat?)
Sport, badminton or tennis is great for all abilities and for casual friendly company. There are various drop in sessions about.
Don't be shy to make a few mistakes when trying to make friends or arrange things - it won't always work out but you need to try.
I also agree with brd - let your friends need you may need a bit off support - and also let them know/be prepared to accept that support does not need to be say, a whole evening. Be honest - say that maybe an hour's chat/coffee (round yours if you have childcare issues) every so often would really pick you up.
Totally agree with the 'keeping busy' suggestions.
When my relationship of nearly 10 years ended over a year ago I used this book to help structure my new life:
You have to be into list writing and goals, but its worked for me.
Essentially you look back at your achievements over the last year - I had an exceptionally crap year and thought I'd achieved nothing, but the process helped me see how well I'd coped with the crap.
Then you write down what you want your focus to be in the coming year - I wanted to be more fun and meet more people and get involved in new things and start looking and feeling better. So my goals for the year reflected that. Then you write a new list each month focussed on those things.
Sounds a bit long winded, and the initial part does take a while, but its been brilliant for me in keeping me focussed on getting the life I want and not just getting consumed by the day to day dross of living. I'm genuinely moving towards the life I want by continually taking small steps towards it
Some great advice here, I'd just add that while being on your guard against depression is good, don't let that tip over into feeling it's inevitable, because it isn't. You're probably a very different person now to how you were last time you were depressed. Think about all the things that are different and all the things you have achieved and been through - big and small, features of your external life and traits within yourself, who you knew then and who you know now, basic differences in how you live, even new habits or habits you have dropped.
I would suggest making a list of all the things that make you happy and all the things you would like to change. This includes ironing as well as relationships!
I do this occasionally with the dc and it helps us find a way and not get trapped into same old shit, different day. You may smile at our family meetings but to see the dc taking it in turns to run the meeting and help their spare time take shape is invaluable and prepares them for life outside the home one day.
Jobs- keep your cv updated and network, go on linkedin in, take up a new hobby like geo caching for a weekend. I fill the weekends with sight seeing, new and old hobbies, and normal stuff.
It is hard without a partner but it is also hard with one, if your time is already full and happy. This is when the right man slots in and adds value, not creates a vacuum. Its not all roses but its a good life in the end.
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