I’m now officially moved into my little flat. Although all of my things are here, it still doesn’t quite feel like home yet.
I did not want to leave my house on the other side of town. I loved that place. I’d worked so hard to make that house a home, and I was very settled there. When I’m going through a tough time I have a tendency to retreat into my shell. I’m a real homebody and my home is my sanctuary. The thought of leaving the house that was so familiar and comfortable was almost too much to bear.
Not to mention the fact that that house was the home that I’d shared with Ross. Living there after he left me was a double-edged sword. On the one hand it was incredibly difficult. Every nook and cranny of the place reminded me of him. There were memories seeped into the very walls, and sometimes it felt as though I was living in a haunted house. There was actually one particularly low night when I contemplated trashing the place, so angry was I at the demise of my treasured relationship. On the other hand, living in the house made me feel somehow closer to Ross. Even though he wasn’t physically there, most of his things were. When I missed him I could go to the closet, open it and inhale the scent of his shirts. I could go and sit in the room where he keeps his comic books and just soak in the him-ness of the place. I feel a bit pathetic admitting to that, but it’s the truth.
So you can see why leaving was so very difficult. I had taken such pains to make that place a home, and when I’d moved in it was with the intention that I would live there for many, many years. It was heartbreaking to have to dismantle the sanctuary I’d build for Ross and I, knowing that I was heading out into the world on my own.
This week has marked a lot of firsts for me. This was the first time I’ve ever moved to a new place without Ross helping to settle me in. Each time I’ve travelled to a new home, whether it was to my new college room or the share house I lived in, it was Ross’s car that took me there. This also marks the first time that I’ve lived entirely on my own. I’ve always lived with family, or housemates or Ross. It’s daunting to live completely on your own, but it’s a bit exciting too.
For the first few days I was on a complete high. The idea of being able to set up my new flat exactly how I wanted was intoxicating. I let my imagination run wild. In a fit of inspiration, I leaped out of bed at two in the morning on my first night here to shift the furniture in my bedroom. I loved the fact that I could do that without any fear of waking anyone up, or upsetting anybody. I didn’t have to check with anyone before I claimed a cupboard or drawer. I could burn candles and incense whenever I liked. At mealtimes I was free to choose any new recipe I dared to try. I set the table with my best china and drank $4 wine out of the crystal goblets I got for my 21st. I was like a little kid who had been left alone in the house while her parents were away for the evening. There was a pure, childish joy in being alone. My introverted, homebody self was in heaven.
But on the fourth day it came crashing down around me. The novelty wore off and I was hit by a wave of homesickness and longing for Ross. The idea of being alone, all by myself for weeks, months or years was so overwhelming. The indefinite number of solo nights stretched out before me like a desert, and I had a massive panic attack while curled up on the floor of my perfectly-decorated lounge room.
When I calmed down, I realised that things aren’t that bad. Sure, I’m going to be alone a lot more than I’m used to. But I can handle that. As I mentioned before, I’m a pretty introverted person and I like my own company. This experience will strengthen me and give me a chance to explore some of my interests. I can indulge my whims and revel in being selfish for a while. I don’t have to answer to anybody, and I can just focus on healing myself and doing the things that make me feel good. This seems like a perfect opportunity to build a better relationship with myself. Best of all, there’s no need to be lonely. I’ve got my family just around the corner, and my friends are just a phone call away. I’m going to have to reconnect with some people that I’ve neglected, and foster my precious friendships. But I’ll find a way to make this work. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to do this. Eventually, I just might love living alone.
You are a brave lady.
I moved into a share house when I split up with my husband. I could not get my head around living alone. I was very lucky – I had a good housemate and we had a lovely house. The best house I’ve ever lived in, in fact. Then after a year she moved out with her boyfriend and I moved into a flat alone. I was ready. It has been good. I have enjoyed having my own space; it is the first time I have ever lived alone. Soon, I am moving in with my boyfriend (we have been dating for just over a year)…
The living alone thing won’t be forever, just remember that. Things can and do change. Sounds cliched but they will happen when you least expect.
You are doing all of the right things. It is absolutely normal to feel shitty and wail into your pillow on a fairly regular basis but it passes and you learn you can cope with the down times.
People say that we don’t need a relationship to be happy, but I believe most people want to be in one, that too is fairly normal and to say otherwise is denying a big part of our tendency to want to be with people.
The difference is what compromises we will make to be in a relationship – some people would rather be in ANY relationship rather than none.
So go easy on yourself when you are lonely.
Again, sounds cliched but it is true – you will be ok, and things will get better xx
Thank you so much for this comment. I’ve had so many fantastic women share stories with me about how they’ve overcome loneliness and gotten through difficult breakups. Each of them has buoyed me up and helped me beyond measure. Thank you so much for your kind words of support.
I’m finding living alone a mixture of fantastic and awful. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to deal with the awful times, and the only thing that really works is just trying to be kind to myself, and not pushing myself to feel ‘better’ too quickly. I’m just plodding along, trying to see the good things and weathering the bad things.
As for another relationship, I just don’t know. I’ll never say never, but I think it will be a very long time before I’d want to be with anyone else. I thought that I’d found my soulmate, and I’m really rocked by the idea that I have to get over him. I can’t imagine ever finding anyone that would be as special to me as Ross was, and still is. He played a massive role in my life, and the idea of being with somebody else terrifies me. But, never say never. Who knows? Six months or a year from now I could be singing a very different tune.
Thanks so much for your support. I really appreciate it.
Soon you’ll give your own touch to the place and it won’t be a stranger’s appartment anymore. I’m sure that won’t take long either with your vibrant and creative personality. 🙂 Being alone takes some getting used to for sure.. then again if you can’t keep yourself amused how the hell are you going to keep someone else amused. Hehe. 😀 Definitely agree that this is a time to grow!
Thanks so much. I’m having a lot of fun decorating the place, and it’s slowly beginning to feel like home. It’s going to take a while before I feel comfortable on my own, but I’m getting there, slowly.
Living by yourself after a break-up is hard – I’ve been there. And you’ll still get those occasional nights of panic attacks and loneliness. But it does get better. And living on your own with the freedom to fully explore all of your interests and whims is its own sort of awesomeness. It will make you a stronger person, and help you know yourself.
Thanks so much. I’m kind of looking forward to having a chance to explore myself a bit more and really indulge my passions and interests. I feel as though that just might be the path to healing and happiness.
I’m in the same type of situation… only I’m about 2 months into it. It’s still tough going. One day at a time, right?
Exactly. When the going gets tough, I take a leaf out of Dory’s book and just keep repeating to myself “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!”
Best wishes to you sweetheart. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you along.
Likewise 🙂 We single girls need to be supportive of each other. We can do this! We don’t NEED to be in a relationship to be happy. This is a perfect opportunity to really learn who we are as individuals!
Absolutely! I’m planning on writing quite a bit about my journey too.