Adjusting To Living Alone After A Breakup

Living alone after a breakup may be the tonic you need to get you back on your own feet, start feeling better and mending your broken heart.

Regardless of how long a relationship, when one comes to an end it can be a very difficult time, especially when the breakup wasn’t expected or on your terms. It can be particularly hard if you were living together. Adjusting to living alone after a breakup and being partnered with someone you loved and planned a future with, can be exceptionally challenging.

How To Cope With Living Alone After A Breakup
Anna Leni

A major part of breakup recovery is to find a way of being on your own and learning to live with your own company. If you weren’t expecting to break up and the whole turn of events has taken you by surprise, it may take some considerable time to be at peace in your own surroundings.

Why being alone can be the best medicine for a broken heart 

Being alone after a breakup can empower you to feel better about yourself – and given time, bitter feelings about your past relationship can dissipate.

Newly single people can embrace their alone time and use it positively as their medicine or healing time while on the road to recovery. 

Let’s face it, straight after a breakup, why on earth would you want to immediately jump into a new relationship and start worrying about a new partner? Starting a new relationship so soon after a breakup can be seriously hard work!

There will be yet another adjustment period to go through where you may discover new relationship problems that need fixing – annoying habits getting under your skin and new routines to learn etc. – err, no thanks! 

Grab that me-time and make good use of it

Why not give yourself a break and allow yourself some time to rediscover what is important to you. Take time to only worry about yourself and mend your broken heart by filling it with things that you like, rather than what someone else likes.

I know one friend who after a breakup who did just this and made time to put herself first. She realised she didn’t have her own favourite type of coffee because for the past few years she had simply drunk the coffee her ex-partner liked. 

When you living alone after a breakup, there is so much left for you to learn about yourself. You can allow yourself to do this without constantly having to worry about someone else’s needs and demands. You can move forward with life knowing you will only need to satisfy yourself, first and foremost. 

Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to become as strong as you can be on your own two feet?

Empowering yourself

Look ahead, a couple of years down the line when you will be completely over this relationship and the person who broke your heart. You will be so proud of the achievement of allowing yourself time alone to be by yourself, without having anyone else filling up your space. 

Do not for one minute feel you are alone while dealing with your breakup. You should feel confident about your ability to make yourself whole again and having the strength to move on to better things. 

Remember, you don’t need someone else around to mend your broken heart. You have the ability to fix it by yourself. Just give yourself some time and enough breathing space and allow it to happen. Your perseverance will definitely pay off.

It is possible for you to get through this time and there are ways you can be kinder to yourself and ease into single life. Here are a few considerations to help you transition into living alone after a break up:

How To Cope With Living Alone After A Breakup

LIVING ALONE AFTER A BREAKUP

1  Allow time to wallow

If someone has been part of your life for a long time it is hard to imagine your life without them in it. Grieving for the end of a relationship is completely natural and you should give yourself time to do this in the comfort of your home. 

The shock and sadness you are feeling are to be expected and getting through and past this raw stage is important before making any big decisions. 

It is also an important stage in accepting what has happened with many people believing they can win their other half back at this point. But, in reality, it’s unlikely to be for the right reasons for most. Using the time to pass through feelings of anger and sorrow will aid the mourning of the relationship’s demise. Accepting a relationship is over is key to making progress and moving on.

Give yourself plenty of self-care during this phase. You need to take care of yourself, so make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat well and get outdoors regularly for some exercise and sunlight. 

2  Keep busy

Keeping your mind occupied and active can help you keep your thoughts away from what your ex is doing or ponderous ideas about getting back together. Being active is a good way to pass the time and get used to being on your own. 

Make plans with friends and family, take up a new hobby, read or work out – do anything you know will provide a distraction from the past.

Distract your thoughts with some positive music. Listening to music has been linked to changes in the way our brains process thoughts and emotions. Listening to the right music can distract us from negative thoughts and make us far more productive. 

Studies from the University of Birmingham, show music is very effective in raising our efficiency, especially when performing repetitive work. So when you are at work checking emails or crunching numbers, and your mind wanders back to your breakup, adding some distracting music will keep you focussed and make your tasks pass by quicker. 

Playing music that you have no particular strong feeling for, or listening to an easy listening radio station, has been found to work on helping us process unconscious thoughts and emotions.

3  Be practical

If you were living together then there are certain practicalities that may be essential to moving on. Dividing up assets, arranging to sell a property or dividing finances and making arrangements for any children or pets in the relationship may all be issues in need of addressing. 

Try to remain calm and focused on the objective as becoming emotional may hinder any developments you’ve made. When the time is right and if it feels necessary, seek legal advice, especially if things aren’t amicable between you and your ex.

4  Be comfortable with yourself

Some people jump into another relationship just so they aren’t on their own. It is important to be happy in your own skin and so getting to know yourself again is essential. 

Spend some time considering what you want to achieve and what you would enjoy doing on your own. Set yourself some goals – even short term goals, to begin with, helping you get you through the immediate and first few months. Think realistically about how you might achieve them. 

Some things may be easier than others like starting a new class or travelling to a different country. Re-evaluating the direction you want your life to go in could help you to be more comfortable with a future on your own.

5  Feel lonely

Living alone after a breakup means feelings of loneliness are completely natural and valid. With some self-reflection try and understand your feelings and again, allow yourself the time and space to process difficult emotions. Those feelings may come after the initial break up and can completely catch you off guard after a period of feeling okay. Practising meditation and mindfulness may also help.

It could take a while to accept things have changed and at first, there may be a lot of day to day activities that need to be sorted out – like moving somewhere new for example. 

Once things have died down loneliness may set in, so stay busy making plans and keep in touch with people who can help you. Being alone is still positive though – it enables you to be calm and reset your mind and body for all the good things to come.

6  Stay single

It may be tempting to put yourself back on the dating market but in the early days, it is likely to be for all the wrong reasons. 

Getting back at your ex and stopping yourself feeling lonely could be key drivers for hooking up with a new partner. However, it isn’t for someone else to fix you and make you happy. 

You need to be happy with yourself first and foremost and that won’t happen overnight. Taking time to live independently and focus on a new start, however hard it may be, is the best way to getting back on track.

7  Love yourself

Unwantingly being at the end of a relationship break up is really hard and it is undoubtedly easy to blame yourself. Recognising you aren’t at fault, that it always takes two to tango in a relationship and learning to love yourself should be a firm priority when adjusting to life alone. 

Self-care and self-preservation are now what matters the most. It may have been many years since you only thought of yourself so take the time now to really focus and take care of yourself and your future.

Spending time alone after a breakup can be a great way to get to know yourself, giving you the much-needed space to establish your next steps while making you, your well-being and your future a priority. 

So, don’t feel bad about putting yourself first when you are going through the difficult time of a breakup. It will take time to reconcile your feelings and move on, but living alone provides a valuable opportunity to figure everything out on your own terms.

8 Listen to sad songs

Listening to sad songs can actually make us feel happier! Following a breakup, you may dread a favourite tune playing on the radio that reminds you of your ex and brings painful memories flooding back.

However, listening to sad songs can actually help you heal because it can regulate negative emotion and moods as well as bring on feelings of consolation. So playing sad songs and allowing yourself a good cry can bring you some relief.

You can, in fact, make yourself feel better for feeling worse! According to Taruffi & Koelsch, a Berlin-based research team, they found listening to typically sad music was correlated to positive feelings of happiness, calmness and peace.

Their research team asked 772 participants across the world to describe the songs they liked to listen to following the break-up of a relationship. They said in an interview with The Huffington Post: “The most frequent emotion evoked was nostalgia, which is a bittersweet emotion – it’s more complex and it’s partly positive. This helps explain why sad music is appealing and pleasurable for people.”

9 Reconnect with nature

Getting outside regularly for some fresh air, sunshine and looking at greenery can give your flagging emotions a much-needed health boost. 

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute discovered that reconnecting with nature or adding a natural element to your life could help boost mood and improve focus.

Listening to the sounds of nature such as birdsong, the wind in the trees and babbling water can be as effective as using white noise to mask intelligible speech and switch off the nagging voice in your head. 

The sounds and benefits of being around nature can also enhance cognitive functioning, improve your ability to concentrate, and increase your feelings of happiness, well-being and contentedness. 

If you find it difficult to escape to more natural surroundings, then you could try listening to recordings of nature sounds easily found on most music download services. 

10 Find yourself

While in a relationship there is every chance of losing a piece of yourself. Everyone makes some personal sacrifices to make a relationship work, so being single following a breakup will allow you to rediscover all those lost parts of yourself – it can actually be quite good fun!

You can look at this as a distinct advantage of being single and living alone. Think about what you gave up to be in your relationship. Now is your chance to lovingly gift these things back to yourself. 

Maybe you gave up a treasured hobby or having a long soak in a bubble bath while reading the latest blockbuster chick-lit book until your skin became pruned because your partner didn’t like sitting alone while watching TV.

Did you stop going to your favourite wine bar with friends after work because your ex was teetotal and didn’t like the smell of alcohol on your breath? Or maybe you gave up your social life for your relationship.

Did you switch from cooking with garlic and spices because your ex didn’t like spicy food? Or give up going abroad for your holidays because your partner couldn’t stand the heat? 

There are so many personal things making you unique and special. You just need to give yourself the chance to find them once again and get those happy feelings back. 

It may be being in a relationship denied you the chance to discover new things about yourself. Now is your opportunity to find new things to enjoy or to answer those questions that kept popping into your mind, but in the past, you were unable to take action to answer them. 

After a breakup, living alone is time for you to rediscover yourself. It will be good for you to slowly develop a mindful view of life so your mind can stay calm and at peace with the world and people around you. 

No matter what life throws at you, being centred, mindful and contented while listening to your thoughts and taking your own guidance over matters that directly affect you, will help you to understand what makes YOU happy.

LIVING ALONE AFTER A BREAKUP

Written by
Michelle Newbold

Michelle is a freelance writer and single mum to a teenage home-educated son. Writing has always been a passion and allows her to strike a good work-life balance and harness emotional wellbeing as a single adult.

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