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Dear Wendy

How to have a life after divorce

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  • #852045 Reply

    My wife and I are going through a divorce which will be official on October 10th. I’ll spare you the gory details, but she was caught with a boyfriend and that’s what led us to this point.

    Prior to meeting my wife, I was very career-focused. Didn’t make friends, didn’t do anything social. I worked, all day, every day, sometimes through the night. So, I have no social circle (friends, associates outside of the office, etc).

    I really do not want to live a life like that at 40, anymore. I want to be out in my community and doing things that are fun and making friends, but I don’t know how to do that.

    I looked at local cooking classes; art clubs; activities and events (I live in a very activity-rich city), but have found that all of them are geared toward couples and I would stick out like a sore thumb. I tried to dine at my favorite restaurants by myself, but consistently received looks from the other tables of “is he really here by himself?”

    I have started volunteering at the VA and other places around my home town and that has given me some joy, but I’d like to be able to do things that are fun as well.

    I’m not a “jump right into another relationship” person. I’m not looking to date anyone right now, because I’m still hurting pretty bad and I really just am not ready to “couple up” with someone else.

    So, my question: How do I get out there; be a part of the community; enjoy my life; find activities; and enjoy restaurants again as a single man when it seems that the whole city has become a couples-based location with no real room for single people anymore?

    #852047 Reply

    Have you checked out MeetUp? They have a lot of events and activities.


    #852049 Reply

    At restaurants, sit at the bar. No one thinks twice about a single person sitting at the bar, trust me. You can eat the same food, chat with the bartender, chat with other people at the bar.

    #852051 Reply

    Honestly, I’ve not heard of it yet, but I’ll definitely check it out and see what it’s all about. Thank you for the suggestion!

    #852052 Reply

    Thank you for that. I’m going to try sitting at the bar and see if I can still have a great experience like I used to at these places.

    #852053 Reply

    You do have to be willing to talk to people and be social. Have a friendly, open expression. Say hello to the bartender and get their name. Be a regular if possible. Tip well, say please and thank you. It’s good if other patrons see you being friendly with and known to the bartender. It makes you more approachable. If sports is on TV, you can cheer or groan or comment, and that could build rapport with people around you.

    #852054 Reply

    I’ve never been divorced, but I was single in a brand new city several years ago. Here’s what I did to make friends and build a sense of community for myself:

    -MeetUp. They have some groups specifically dedicated to singles who are looking to make new friends. They also offer groups that won’t necessarily, but I suppose could, cater to couples (hiking groups, running groups, book clubs, dining groups, etc.).
    -My gym. Mine is small (14-person max) group classes and there’s a pretty strong sense of community. If you’re into fitness/building a healthy lifestyle, I think there are more intimate gyms like mine out there that are also trying to build a positive and community-based place to work out.
    -Volunteering. I like animals, so I am a rescue/shelter volunteer.
    -Befriend your neighbors. I’m in an apartment building, so this is easy. I see them all the time and I have a dog, so I’m outside fairly often. I started with small chit-chat, but have now made several neighbor friends I’ll occasionally grab a meal or drink with.
    -Alumni associations. I’ve met some people from my alma mater this way. Mine has a wide array of activities planned to suit different interests, but you’ll automatically have something in common with other attendees. (Same is true for other associations.)
    -BumbleBFF. Possibly my weirdest suggestion, but I actually made a good friend simply by being curious about Bumble’s BFF feature. Ha!

    I think the looks you think you’re receiving when you’re out in public are mostly (if not all) in your head. I think doing certain activities solo takes some getting used to, but have never batted an eye when I see it. Agreed that sitting at the bar is a good move for dinner at restaurants, though. You can bring a book, too.

    ETA: Ask people out on friend-dates. My experience has been that many adults — single AND coupled up — can be lonely. Many also desire a stronger community, closer relationships, etc, but a lot of people simply won’t make the first move by suggesting some kind of activity. I’ve become fairly comfortable initiating friend-dates since moving here.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by CopaCopa.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by CopaCopa.
    #852059 Reply

    I don’t know if I’ll ever be a “friend date” guy, but I will definitely look into the MeetUp App. In fact, I just signed up for it.

    It also hadn’t occurred to me to look into my Alumni Association, but that’s a very good idea and I think I’ll do that.

    #852061 Reply
    Dear WendyDear Wendy

    Here’s a post I wrote about how to make friends as an adult that has some tips you might find helpful:

    #852062 Reply

    I use the term “friend-date” loosely; it doesn’t have to be a one-on-one with some random dude you’re acquainted with and hoping to know better. My point is that it helps to be an organizer rather than hoping a fun invite will be extended to you, because having genuine friendships does eventually require more than bar chats with strangers.

    #852064 Reply

    For me, I also wanted to make make new friends. Being Atheist and only having extremely religious friends, I found local Atheist groups through Meetup and Facebook.Now I am in several spinoff groups.

    So I would say I agree with the Meetup groups and find pages that have similar groups.

    #852081 Reply

    Also, this ….

    “the whole city has become a couples-based location with no real room for single people anymore”

    … is flat-out not true. You see what you believe. That’s your thought, which you’re projecting out onto what you see. There are tons of single people everywhere — tons. Notice them.

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