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A man experiences loneliness after a loss

February 2, 2017 | By Continue Reading
It’s understandable to feel friendless and lonely after a loss.

QUESTION

Hi,

Came across your blog and realized it is for women. Any recommendations for men?

I am 61, and got divorced five years ago after 27 years of marriage. I found my true soul mate shortly after that. I’ve been told that it was a match made in heaven and I truly believed that. However, she passed away six months ago to cancer. She was diagnosed May 4th and passed July 6th.

It’s just torn me apart. I know this doesn’t seem true but I have no friends whatsoever and my family lives in the UK. I have a 23-year-old-daughter here with me but she has college, work and her social life so I don’t see her very often.

Everyone tells me I need to get over it and move on. Easier said than done. I’m trying to talk to people but feel like no one is interested in anything I have to say. Any suggestions?

Thanks

Ron

ANSWER

Hi Ron,

I’m so sorry for your tragic loss. For the past 30+ years you have been in two close relationships, so it’s not surprising you would feel very lonely after this loss.

Men often aren’t as good as women in maintaining friendships, and many couple friendships are made and nurtured by wives. In your case, I suspect you may have lost friendships with some couples (and individuals) after your divorce, which is quite common for both men and women, as friends take sides.

After a loss, it’s not surprising you feel lonely and friendless. I don’t know whether you work or not but you probably spent much of your discretionary time with your soul mate, especially after she was diagnosed. And as a close as we are to our adult children, they do have lives of their own – as they should.

Even if you aren’t ready to dip your toes into the dating waters, which would be understandable, it’s great you recognize you want to reach out to others. If you are still mourning this loss and feel depressed, your self-esteem may have taken a hit. This can make someone feel like no one is interested in what they have to say.

A few suggestions:

1) Give yourself time to mourn. Grieving never proceeds at the same pace or on the same timeline for different individuals. If you are still feeling “torn apart,” you might want to find out whether there are any bereavement or grief support groups in your area. Attending these meetings might help you achieve some closure after the death and find new friends who understand what you’re going through in the process.

2) Rather than focusing on finding friends, per se, are there any interests you would like to pursue that could bring you in contact with other people, from joining a gym to a community organization to volunteering. It is much easier and quicker to make acquaintances than friends but some of those casual relationships may develop into close friendships over time.

If you have any signs or symptoms of depression, you may want to consult a professional for short-term treatment to help you get over this loss.

Hope this helps a little and thanks for reaching out to me. While the large majority of readers of this blog are women, there are some men lurking and posting here, too! 🙂

Best wishes, Irene


Previously on The Friendship Blog:

In the Huffington Post: 

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Category: Death, HAVING NO FRIENDS

Comments (6)

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  1. Rais ahmed says:

    THE BEST ADVISE GIVEN.

  2. Lynn says:

    Ron, I am sorry for your loss of the love of your life. My husband passed away several years ago , the pain of grief is gone but I still miss him everyday and aways will. Grief takes time, and your on your own time table and no one else’s. People that have not gone through it do not understand that and will say dumb things trying to snap you out of it. As far as loneliness I never felt loneliness until I lost my husband. The days that I got busy the loneliness lessened. The best thing I can suggest is to find things your enjoy and get involved, there you might meet some great people. Join a grief support group, there you can find people who understand what you are going through. It is a painful journey Ron , I wish peace in the coming days.

  3. Amy F says:

    People who tell you to get over it have no concept about the grieving process. I recommend a grief support group, You will find others going through what you are, and also a safe place to talk about your grief. Often times after group two or more members will go for coffee to continue talking and get to know each other better, Not sure about the U.K., but in the USA groups can be found through social service agencies, hospices, churches and other community venues. They’re usually free,

  4. Vickie says:

    Hi Ron, I wanted to tell you that as lonely as you are feeling right now you aren’t destined to live your life as you are feeling now. I understand the loneliness that can envelop you. I have suffered the loss of a Child and it can be overwhelming. It has taken some time but I am in a place where I have hope again.Consider a local grief group. Volunteering. Most of All remember grief takes time. Online support groups are available.Take Care.

  5. Ben says:

    Winston Churchill said it best. “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”

  6. Sandra says:

    Hi Ron, I’m going to piggy back Irene’s suggestion about exploring your interests in the community as a way of meeting new people and dealing with your grief.

    Is there a senior center in your community? We’ve got two where I live, and I learned about them when my mother was alive and I wanted her to have more social contact. I was surprised to learn that “senior centers” aren’t as stodgy as the term sounds. There are a lot of activities, vibrant people to meet, lunch programs, and field trips going on all the time. Good exercise programs too. Many senior centers offer grief and loss support groups — and so do many hospitals.

    After my mother died, I ended up returning to one of the senior centers for yoga classes with my mother-in-law. Not surprisingly, I have met the nicest people, and discovered other programs that are either free or reasonable cost. That might be a starting point for you.

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