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October 21, 2014

Staying Social After Going From Two to One

We know death is a part of life, but that doesn’t make losing your spouse or life partner any easier. Building a life with another person can be wonderfully fulfilling, but losing that partnership is often devastating.  

Becoming a widow or widower can significantly impact your physical health and well being, but it can also take a toll on your social interactions. As with any big transition, you find yourself struggling to find a new social routine without the company of your partner. Though your first instinct may be to suffer your grief quietly, remaining social after you’ve sustained a loss can be important for the state of your mental health.  

5 Ways to Embrace Staying Social After Losing Your Partner

  1. Seek out support groups: When going through grief, it’s common to feel as though no one would understand how you feel. However, support groups can connect you with people who are going through a similar situation and can provide a new, helpful perspective.

  2. Accept offers of fellowship and assistance: Allowing your friends, family, and community to care for you in the wake of a loss is often difficult for many older adults, particularly if you are used to being the caretaker. Though it might feel outside your comfort zone, be gracious in accepting offers of assistance. Doing so allows others to pay their respects and helps you rebuild your social foundation.

  3. Try something new: Though this suggestion is likely easier said than done, finding a new hobby or activity can be a positive way to handle your grief. Keeping busy can be a helpful distraction and you might even discover your new favorite pastime.

  4. Be a little selfish: When you’ve spent a large portion of your life considering the needs and feelings of another person, navigating a solo social life can be intimidating and overwhelming. Use this time to focus on your own needs and allow yourself to be “selfish” with how you want to spend your time.

  5. Give back: On the other end of the spectrum, finding a volunteer opportunity or way to give back to your community can be a fulfilling way to deal with your grief. In addition to making a positive impact, volunteering is a great way to meet other people with similar interests to yours.   

The prospect of maintaining an active social life without your spouse or partner is not always an enjoyable possibility to consider. However, take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone. While it might take time to cultivate your new social routine as you go from two to one, the benefits are well worth it.

Taking care of your mental and emotional health is just as important as your physical health. Learn more about how to deal with life’s biggest changes with this eBook.

Understand Mental Health


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