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Thread: Practical strategies to cope with being alone?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Practical strategies to cope with being alone?

    After the fizzling-out of my most recent romance I was thinking about strategies for coping with being alone in the long term.

    Now, I am not just talking about feeling lonesome. I am talking about the emotional, mental, logistical, financial, etc. issues that come with being alone/living alone for the long term.

    Yesterday I was eating a big bite of baked salmon when it, just for a second, got caught in my throat. I could not inhale or exhale. I managed to cough it up. But had I begun to really choke, I could have died as there is no one to help me.

    I welcome suggestions from you all about how to deal with the emotional, mental, logistical, financial, etc. issues of being alone long term.

    As always: Snark is welcome, but I do want real ideas too!
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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    Even those of us with significant others imagine a time when our partner will no longer be there. I think about it a lot when I am trying to do something physical that my small hands just can't quite maneuver or when I wake up in the middle of the night and DH is not in the bed. I am thinking co-housing is a good way to have support when one is on their own but would like to feel not so alone. I am watching my MIL handle a life alone after sixty years with a mate now passed. It is just part of life for most of us to be alone at some point.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    Even those of us with significant others imagine a time when our partner will no longer be there. I think about it a lot when I am trying to do something physical that my small hands just can't quite maneuver or when I wake up in the middle of the night and DH is not in the bed. I am thinking co-housing is a good way to have support when one is on their own but would like to feel not so alone. I am watching my MIL handle a life alone after sixty years with a mate now passed. It is just part of life for most of us to be alone at some point.
    This is so true.

    Also, it is good for our mental health to develop and keep up certain skills that our SOs, if we had them, might be doing. I used to be very independant when single and gradually have allowed DH to take on tasks I would ordinarily do. My skills have atrophied in certain areas.

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    There might be a nugget of insight in this 1,260 year-old poem of Li Po.

    DRINKING ALONE WITH THE MOON
    From a pot of wine among the flowers
    I drank alone. There was no one with me --
    Till, raising my cup, I asked the bright moon
    To bring me my shadow and make us three.
    Alas, the moon was unable to drink,
    And my shadow tagged me vacantly;
    But still for a while I had these friends
    To cheer me through the end of spring...
    I sang. The moon encouraged me.
    I danced. My shadow tumbled after.
    As long as I knew, we were boon companions.
    And then I was drunk, and we lost one another.
    ... Shall goodwill ever be secure?
    I watch the long road of the River of Stars.

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    Unless someone is glued to your side 24/7 you could still choke on something and die. Is the other person never supposed to go to work, or the corner store, or anywhere else without you?

    Once you hit a certain age (60 in my state) you can move into an elderly housing complex with some support services.

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    If i remember correctly, this won't work for you. But I believe I am never alone. I believe God wants the same thing with us that he wanted with Adam and Eve. To walk with us in the garden. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." I also have a church family that will be there if at some point my family isn't.

  7. #7
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Loneness and solitude are different. Choking is a real wakeup call that I have faced as is tripping down my stairs. It seems to come down to facing one's fears and organizing solutions. A friend, counsellor at a shelter, once advised that she would rathe be alone than in a bad relationship.

    What do I do? Senior groups are so depressing at times that I avoid them.

    I live in a neighbourhood that includes all generations and greet them every day as I walk my dog. I see life expressed in so many ways. I get greetings waved from cars and doorways as I walk by. I know that each person I greet with warmth, I am giving her/him the gift of worth and validation that I am needing.

    I am responsible for my mental health so - need to be outdoors daily, talk to someone every day, join a creative group, maintain my home in a desirable condition, plan my day or week, schedule time daily for metaphysical meditation and always watch my thinking. If the dark seems to be knocking at my mental door, I consciously count my blessings and things for which I am grateful and dismiss the invader. 'Pity parties' do try to invade periodically but I am getting much better at detecting and rejecting them.

    Probably the most challenging is finding and acknowledging one's own worth and value. i realized fairly recently that another person never could do this for me. It is my responsibility, always has been. My response is that life is a precious gift - am I sharing my gift or hoarding it?
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    Even those of us with significant others imagine a time when our partner will no longer be there. I think about it a lot when I am trying to do something physical that my small hands just can't quite maneuver .....
    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    This is so true.

    Also, it is good for our mental health to develop and keep up certain skills that our SO’s, if we had them, might be doing. I used to be very independant when single and gradually have allowed DH to take on tasks I would ordinarily do. My skills have atrophied in certain areas.
    I agree with both of the above. I have dogs for company and church for community. We own and operate a farm so I am sure I could continue with that as a single person. I think the main thing about being alone long term is to focus on things outside of yourself, be thankful for the material and non-material things you have and for me it is trust that God has everything worked out for me well ahead of anything that I may experience.

  9. #9
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    After the fizzling-out of my most recent romance I was thinking about strategies for coping with being alone in the long term.
    When my first wife and I divorced, one idea I had to be okay with was the possibility that I would never again be married or in a committed long-term relationship. That didn't preclude any relationship and there was no guarantee that a LTR would end up being that long-term. But I had to be okay with that.

    I was. So, too (unbeknownst to me) was my current wife. She divorced her first husband when their kid was two and set in for almost two decades of single-parenthood. She dated here and there but no relationship lasted longer than 6-7 months until I appeared. My longest relationship before DW was three years.

    Both of us kept busy with life. We both had careers which engaged us -- and sometimes demanded quite a lot of us. We both had friends and family with whom we could share dinners and holidays and movies and who could help out if we needed to move furniture or we needed a ride home from the repair shop. We reciprocated for those friends, too. Both of us volunteered about 8-10 hours a month, which exposed us to new people and experiences. We had other hobbies, too -- reading, antiquing, travel -- on which we spent what time we had left. We married not because we wanted someone around but because even the good lives we had were better with each other in it. Neither one of us ever regrets it.

    Here's what I see (please correct me if I'm wrong): I see someone who isn't happy with his primary daily activity (his job) and really doesn't have enough burning passion to work at moving into another line of work. I see someone who is quite introverted and not willing at all to play the social game with others. I know you have a few very firm rules about who you want to even date in the hopes of forming a LTR. I don't read about friends; merely acquaintances. I may have missed posts about volunteering more than once in a while. I read about a dog and a fishing hobby and a burgeoning interest in travel, but that you don't/can't engage in those hobbies enough.

    You live an ascetic life that doesn't seem to leave you engaged or happy. So what do you want to change about it?
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  10. #10
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I’d take a hard look at the Four Noble Truths.

    Have you ever considered intentional community or co-op living? Something that I’ve considered.

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