Being alone is hard.
Most people who get divorced aren’t alone for long, gleefully flinging themselves into one anesthetizing tryst or soon-to-fail relationship after another.
But those of us who lean toward masochism choose to hunker down and run headfirst into “dealing with our issues.” After evaluating with my single parent co-op I have decided that the ebbs, flows and pains of the “hunker down method” have clear and defined stages.
I present to you The Stages of Loneliness.
Let me start by saying that the stages of Loneliness and the stages of Grieving are not the same. I remember the “holy shit, I’m really going to get a divorce. Where’s my Ben and Jerry’s?” grief period well. And I believe, deeply, that experiencing all the Stages of Grief will help you get through a divorce with minimal thoughts of suicide and/or murder. But my personal experience and unscientific observation has led me to believe there are several distinct stages of Loneliness, the first of which being…
Shortly after moving into my own apartment, and long before my divorce was even filed, I began reminiscing, fantasizing and torturing myself over every ex I let go and every crush I never pursued. Facebook became my worst enemy. I stalked like a madwoman. I pictured alternate storylines where I dated alternate men and had alternate babies or no babies at all. I blindly ignored all the reasons I broke up with these exes and never-pursued crushes. It’s masochism at it’s finest.
Torture yourself. Feel like an idiot. Feel ungrateful for the life and children you have. Deny all reason. That’s the post divorce nostalgia.
It was around this time that I began sleeping next to a five-foot-long teddy bear I named “Joe” because it was a good default name. I’d never collected stuffed animals, not even when I was a child, but the vastness of my empty bed was unbearable (punny, no?) and I needed something to fill up all that space.
So here’s my repentance. Sorry for stalking you Jason F, Joe B, Patrick H, Dan C, Jimmy H, Danny M, Clay G, Ryan H, John R, DD, Russ G, Trey C (I know, weird), Will J., Chad N., Jordan B. (two biggest middle school crushes – yup, went back that far) Rich W and Bill H.
My psycho nostalgia phase wouldn’t have been complete without you.
A complete disregard for reality, statistics, experience, evidence and logic is what keeps the Nostalgia phase active and also helps with the next crucial stage of Loneliness:
The Rom-Com Stage