“I Feel Lost and Friendless After My Divorce”

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    April 24, 2024 at 8:04 am #1128896

    From a LW:

    “I was divorced about a year and a half ago, lost a few friends in the process leading up to it. I’m an introvert and had a very small circle of friends to start off with. My marriage was not a good one, I became a very anxious person before of his possessive and controlling nature and then he ended up leaving me for a younger women after I supported him for about 4 years of unemployment.

    After we separated, I moved to a new city to start fresh and it was pretty good at first, felt like I was getting my old self back. But now I just feel like most people who I thought were my friends actually just like the convenience of me more than me. The one set of friends don’t really interact with me much anymore since their oldest son moved back into their home and can now babysit, house sit and dog sit when they are away, which now seems like the only reason they used to have me around. My other friend who I’m close to, never visits me, it’s always me visiting them. Even when I didn’t have a car for a short period, there was never any offer of visiting me, just asking me to visit them.

    I just seem to be a convenience to everyone and when they find something better or someone else, I’m irrelevant.

    I feel like I don’t belong anywhere and now I’ve just been isolating myself more and more from everyone because of that. I have had thoughts of suicide but I adopted an older dog from a rescue and I don’t want him to go back to the shelter so, at this point in time, I think he might be the only reason I haven’t attempted anything.

    I hope you can give me some advice. I am going to speak to someone about all this soon.”

    April 24, 2024 at 11:36 am #1128906

    You’re doing some things right, so give yourself credit. You moved away, adopted a dog, and are seeking counseling. I recognize your feelings, having had some similar to yours. For me, reframing some of these (toxic) thoughts can help. Instead of “they are only friendly because they need me for xxx” perhaps you can think “I feel they are insensitive and inattentive because they are not fully aware of how it makes me feel.” Your therapist can guide you, so please follow up and go. Lastly, but most importantly IMO, is your spiritual life. People will disappoint you over and over, but He never will. That relationship is the one that will sustain you for life including helping you to avoid the wrong people. Then you can relax and trust the reliable ones.

    April 24, 2024 at 3:48 pm #1128907

    Dear Lost, take courage. Think of how much you’ve accomplished since you were that person supporting someone who just wanted to control you. Leaving him is an achievement. Moving to a new city is an achievement. You can reframe people treating you unkindly as thoughtlessness, but you don’t have to keep going back for more of the same treatment. Can I just ask, are you in the habit of believing you need to work or offer something to people in order to be worthy of their care, affection, or love? If you are, you may well be attracted to/attractive to “use-y” people. Some people are takers, others are givers, and a taker will run a giver into the ground without a second thought. The fact that the dogsitting family have been use-y reflects badly on them. Finding some therapy would be amazing. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help you to change unhelpful thinking habits (and may be available online free or cheaply). Humanistic person-centred therapy, with the unconditional positive regard, that you are worthy human being no matter what, could be valuable. If you can, seek out activities in the community that you find value in. Keep walking that dog, and letting him love you. I lost 95% of my friends plus extended family after my divorce, but almost a decade later, I have a few new friends, people I can count on, and I know my life would have gone another way if I had stayed married.

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    April 25, 2024 at 10:54 am #1128918

    Please set up an appointment with a mental health professional to talk about how you feel and your suicidal ideations, LW! Talk therapy can be safe space for you to unpack your emotions around your divorce, move, and friendships and a resource for learning how to flip the script with those negative thoughts. It will also provide a forum to discuss the possibility of something like medication for your depression.

    I’ve never been divorced, but creeping up on a decade ago, I moved to a new city on the heels of a breakup that absolutely gutted me. I loved that life had given me an opportunity for the freshest of fresh starts in a city I was very excited about living in. But, as it sounds like you are learning, blowing up your life and starting over again with a blank slate can be a lonely experience. You don’t mention how old you are, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed the shift in people’s responsibilities and priorities that affect friendships.

    If it’s helpful, here are my general tips for trying to find your people as an adult, particularly when you’re new to town:
    – Build a routine that you like
    – Reach out to old acquaintances and friends of friends
    – Whatever your interests are, find groups for them… this is where you’re most likely to find your people. For me, that looked like small group fitness classes, book clubs, alumni association events, volunteering at animal shelters, and finding “new in town” meetup groups. I also went to a DW meetup when I was brand new to town!
    – Try to plan one thing every weekend to look forward to, even if that one thing is alone.
    – If friendships aren’t serving you, don’t be afraid to scale back or move on.
    – If you vibe with someone, you can ask them on a “friend date” and it’s not weird. You might even find someone like me who was once a transplant and knows what it’s like so goes out of her way to try to include anyone she learns is new in town.

    When I got a dog a few years into living in my city, I actually started meeting a lot of people. There was park near me where I’d go after work with my then-puppy, lots of neighborhood dog owners did the same, and I’d see the same faces there regularly. I even met and had a fling with a handsome neighbor after meeting because we both had dogs! (He turned out to be a dud, but that is beside the point.)

    Good luck. I do think things will get better for you, LW.

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