Lately I’ve been getting lonely during my solo weekends and it bugs me. It leaves me prone to self-pity. It makes me think about how much I wish I had a person to talk to, either a friend or more. Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of friends, but I don’t have that one that is the person I call when I need to talk, someone I could talk to every single night to rehash the small and the large. It is one of the hardest things about splitting up.
The thing is, though, that I haven’t had that person in a long time. Much longer than the year that I’ve been on my own. For the first half of my relationship with my ex, he was that person for me. And after that it tapered off slowly until I had very little opportunity to let him into my life anymore.
Which made me wonder why I feel the loneliness so much more acutely now even though I’ve been without a person for a few years. Why didn’t I feel it when I was married but didn’t have a confidant? And why did it take so many months after the split for this feeling to kick in?
Ultimately I think it comes down to the way one feeling can take over and consume you. For the last year or two of my marriage I was consumed with frustration and anger and rejection. Those feelings are so much stronger than loneliness, they run hot and loud. Loneliness, though, tends to be a quieter emotion, one that you find when everything else fades away.
And it was something similar after ending things. I was finding so much freedom and release from so much negativity that I was able to let those feelings just take over for a while. Now as things become routine, as my busy months settle down into more free time, my brain has some room to stretch out and think and loneliness comes creeping in.
This isn’t an emotion I’m unfamiliar with, but it has been a while since it’s hit me this way. On the plus side, my days with the kids are busy and full and I rarely have time to consider my lot before I collapse for the night. But days alone are a different story. The last time loneliness was my companion it was much more constant, it was in my mind every day. It lasted a couple years and ended when I met my former husband. I had work, but no real social life. I lived alone much of that time and had few friends. I was mostly in places where I didn’t have anything approaching a community or a social circle.
It’s so much better now. A couple of days of loneliness at a time is manageable and it gives me the chance to stop and think about how good I have it. It lets me think about how much I prefer this quiet loneliness to all that loud frustration and anger that consumed me for so long. I get to take breaks from it. I often find my spare time littered with dates and outings and activities and errands, sometimes I have to force myself to take a break and find some time to decompress. But sometimes it goes the other way and the days just open up in front of me looking empty and quiet and that’s when that annoying loneliness creeps in.
For now I’m just going to work on balancing the busy with the quiet and not fight the loneliness too hard. I am prone to it, fighting it will only leave me exhausted. I’m just going to let it have its day, let it give me a bit of the blues from time to time, and then let it pass.