FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Learning to Live Alone
Most women will live alone at some point in their lives. This can happen for a number of reasons. Women may choose to remain single, become divorced, or become widowed. These women may or may not establish a new relationship that progresses to the point of living together or marriage. Of course, sometimes women who are divorced, widowed or single live with a person who is not their romantic partner. She may live with a friend, a roommate, or an adult family member. Some women never experience living truly alone, but if we live long enough, the likelihood is that we probably will do so at some point in our lives.
Many women have never lived alone. It is not uncommon that a woman may live at home, then perhaps with a roommate, then quickly marry and live with her spouse and have children, living as part of a family of her own for many years. Such women may find it extremely difficult to adjust to living by themselves. Initially, she may experience feelings of anxiety, insecurity, isolation, and loneliness. In addition, it is hard to move from sharing the responsibilities of life and running a household with a partner to doing all of it by oneself. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, impatient, and perhaps even resentful at times about having to shoulder these tasks solo while seeing others who still have partners to share these burdens.
There are also quite a few women, both younger and older, who have had some experience living on their own, either as singles or between significant relationships. These women have moved through the process of establishing an independent household and learning to meet the practical and emotional challenges of single living. Older women may live alone, but frequently elect to do so within a retirement community or living complex where there is ready companionship just outside the door through common meals and residence activities. There are numerous ways women cope with the difficult and potentially rewarding experience of living alone.
Questions for the group:
- Have you ever lived on your own? Was this your choice or a choice forced upon you by circumstances?
- If you have never lived alone, what do you think the experience would be like for you?
- Have you had any good friends who lived alone and what was your impression of their experience? Was it positive or negative? Or maybe both?
- In your present life, would you want to live alone? Why or why not?
- For those of you who have had this experience, what did you find helped you through the adjustment process? Do you have any suggestions for other first-timers?
- What do you see as the positive aspects and benefits of living by yourself?
All rights reserved © 2020 Beth Firestein, Ph.D. Wise Women Group