Social life after divorce?

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Social life after divorce?

Postby EverHopeful » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:59 pm

Hi all,

Advice / sympathy / support please! Gently please, I'm feeling fragile on this subject.

I'm mid 40's with 2 young children, and am separated and single and am feeling like a social pariah. I am very aware that it might well be me, that I just don't gel with people, but I've never had a problem making friends before and have a fair few. But I have found since I've been separated that I am not invited to any group social events, dinner parties, drinks, etc. I still manage to organise occasional meetups with a girlfriend here or there for drinks or cinema, but all my close girlfriends are married and have children and are rarely available on Friday or Saturday nights, so the weekends I don't have my children when they're at their Dad's, I'm literally all on my own, from Friday afternoon through Sunday night. And I'm feeling monstrously excluded and isolated and becoming withdrawn and depressed within myself, and even starting to feel angry with life and people. (Though n.b. I honestly believe this isn't showing, and that no one would have a clue I'm depressed, as people always tell me I'm very calm and upbeat) I'm particularly finding being in the school playground very painful, hearing about people's fun social weekends, and family activities. And it's the same on the weekends I have my children. The 3 of us are never invited to anything at the weekend, Sunday lunches with other families or walks in woods or whatever all you 'complete' families do. I manage to sometimes organise playdates for the kids with a friend, and we can always find things to do as we live in London, so it's impossible to be bored, but we're still excluded. (And my children are lovely and reasonably popular, so it's not that they don't have friends or aren't well liked.)

I am painfully aware that it may well be me, that people don't want to spend time with me, and that only adds to the misery. But I feel it's because people can't / don't want, to fit a single woman in to the mix of a group, that the dynamic is off when you're not part of a couple in a group. Any views? Is it just me??! Is there anyone else experiencing this? What can I do??!

And I do go out to things, I'm not just sitting at home wallowing or being unproactive. I go out and do things on my own, cinema, theatre, exhibitions, etc, and I go to some meetup group events, but that's not the same as being invited to a dinner party to hang out for an evening and discuss life with a group of friends.

And part 2, - I'm not a knock out, but I'm attractive enough, people are always asking me how come I'm single, but I'm single not because I'm not attractive, but because I never meet anyone!!! So men, or women, any good suggestions on where to meet nice, straightforward, available men?!

Any thoughts / advice / suggestions very gratefully received, thank you.
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby millymoo » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:55 pm

I'm really sorry to hear you are feeling like this but it sounds like that the week-ends you don't have your children you need to try something new for yourself and this will give you the opportunity to meet some people in a completely different social setting to the school playground - which I find very intimidating too myself. You don't say what your own interests are but you are right about this city being a place where you can do a huge amount right on your doorstep whether that is sport, culture or exploring new places. And don't worry that it has anything to do with you or your children or how fun everyone else's week-ends seem because it is rarely all rosy for everyone else all the time. I'm afraid I don't have any advice about part 2 but I do know friends who have embraced online dating with successful outcomes and there are a growing number of social networking apps which might work for you too. Take care and good luck.
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby freshairmum » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:43 am

Hi, I don't really have anything more to add than the previous poster in terms of suggestions of what to do, but just wanted to send you a virtual hug and also to say that I think you're not alone as I honestly believe many people deep down feel as you do but just don't speak up about it. And that's not just people in your situation but with all kinds of circumstances.
I'm not divorced but my husband has always worked alot of evenings and weekends and I have spent huge periods of time on my own both before and post children. Before children I would spend many weekend evenings on my own lamenting the lack of invitations to dinner parties / nights out because they knew he was working and so 'we' weren't available, and now with children sometimes dread a whole weekend ahead because I think everyone else is unavailable and quite frankly it's exhausting being on your own all the time and being the only grown up.
But in the last couple of years I've just had to try and be 'brave' if you like and invite other people to do things, and it's astonishing how many other mums are also on their own with the kids because dad is playing golf, watching football/rugby, travelling or working and they've been more than happy to get together and we've all found a much happier way through it. Although I would add that meeting a group of different people has helped, in our case new school friends, but I also fully understand how intimidating school is.
Many many people are constantly putting on a front and all you see is the happy, smiling, positive face because for 10 mins at school most people can manage that, but underneath alot of people really aren't having massively exciting times in great groups of friends and feel exactly as you have described.
As for part 2 I would just echo again what the PP has said as many people I know have found happy relationships dating online / using apps.
I wish you lots of luck and happier times going forwards.
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby EverHopeful » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:36 pm

Ah, thanx so much for these responses girls. :-) It really does help to hear what you've said.
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby tooposhtopush » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:05 pm

First can I say how brave I think you are for putting pen to paper (I know it's the internet but you get my gist) and for voicing your concerns.

Second, can I say that I've been having this very chat with friends of mine recently who is also single and lovely.

So this is my take:

1) you have to put yourself out there. I know it's a horrible scary thought but you have to date by going on blind dates, dinners etc etc. Join internet dating schemes and develop a thick skin.

This series of columns in the Guardian is BRILLIANT! Please read and read and read ... l-28-again

Stella was amazing and shared her massive failures in the middle aged dating game.

My friend refuses to do the internet and she is a fool because she is bemoaning the lack of a partner but is not using the most common channel.

Yes it needs a thick skin, yes there are creeps out there but it's a great great mechanic for meeting people

2) re. the friends and family that is much much harder. I think you can push a little but it's easy to turn people off that way. Are you able to organise your own events and invite other people? Be a facilitator! People are lazy and do forget to invite single people but I'm a great believer that if you bang out the invites and get the people around then you can be busy socially! Are you on the committees for any sports clubs or drama clubs? Do you coach any sport or can you help? I'm a great believer in you getting out and doing STUFF.

Lastly, can you form any alliances with other singles? There is a posse of single mums at one school (which I won't name) who are famous for their man-eating, partying and general good times - get a wing-girl and make it happen.

I hope that helps

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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby tooposhtopush » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:10 pm

I wonder if you date like a vixen on Tinder and all of the rejects that you don't like can be added to a list of local single people whom you can collaborate with.

Does that make sense?

Then you build your own local network.

Maybe ask Annabel to help promote it?
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby Beancounter » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:49 pm

Join something where your status doesn't matter and everyone falls on your neck with gratitude because they need helpers. Our local theatre needs front of house people to hand out programmes, people to sell tickets, bar staff, backstage crew and much much more not involving getting on your hind legs and acting. It was my saviour and I've made so many good friends of both sexes.
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby Scientist » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:10 am

Hi - bloke here. Hope you don't mind me suggesting that you try to host parties/dinners and if there is an odd number at table, so be it - but eventually, one or more of your friends is going to come across or winkle out a single man to bring along. You have to be proactive and create opportunities, rather than waiting for them to land in your lap.

I think it's important to seem as sorted, normal, happy and outgoing as you possibly can, irrespective of whatever you might be thinking/feeling internally. The worst thing you can do in company, unless it's with a very trusted and close friend, is to seem needy and miserable (please take no offence as I'm not suggesting that you are). I understand it's not easy to take this advice, whilst it is easily dispensed. If you're seen as being fun and relaxed, your company will still be in demand - and you're more likely to be top of the list when a suitable single man comes across your friends' radar.

I agree with other posters' suggestions about online dating/matching sites too; there seems to be little or no taboo attached to these anymore and I know single mums who've had some very good experiences using them. I would add that you should get involved in groups/clubs/societies which focus on your passions in life, whatever they may be. That way you will have at least one instant connection to whomever you meet.

I think depression and resentment are enemies of positive action, so you have to work hard to overcome them. Whatever you do, I wish you good luck.
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby HikingGirl » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:11 am

Totally true. Lots of people are lonely. My husband travels a lot, and if he is home, he loves being at home and not having a social life. I have learned to build my own, but it does take time.

Frankly, as I am from abroad (The Netherlands), I have learned over the past 12 years that people do stuff with their family over the weekend, and perhaps with their friends from uni, but they certainly don't have time for me, just another mum from school. I think in 12 years, regardless of endless dinner parties, Sunday lunches, evenings-in etc. I have organised, we have perhaps been invited back twice. It took me 5 years to find out people actually do a 'Sunday lunch' and what it is. We were just never invited.

I also know, what no one here seems to say, that indeed couples do NOT like to invite singles. They are scared it could be awkward to not have an equal number or might nick their husband. Honestly true! This is a real worry for people apparently. I have had it the other way around. I was good friends with a guy, as we both coached our sons sports team together. When he divorced he distanced himself from me (I was one of the last to even hear he was divorced). One of the other (male) volunteers eventually told me it would be better for me not to appear to close to him as it might get people talking....

A friend of mine who lost her husband to cancer, lost most of her 'couple' friends with it. She was just no longer invited as it might be awkward.

The solution? It's already been mentioned. Find a place where they really need people. I have joined countless things, but finally found my place in scouting. They are tremendously grateful for everything I do and we have a real fun group of adult volunteers. I have also found single mums are indeed great friends to do stuff with. And other foreigners, who also don't have the ready-made social life. Singles holidays could be a fun thing too (a friend of mine did). And yes, you do have to always be the pro-active one. Organise your own table for the school quiz etc. a friend of mine did that with all the other single mums.

One of the single mums actually did find a new husband within a year, by joining a golf club, apparently they are full of men looking for partners. (??)

I lost my previous partner to cancer, and got to know lots of 'young widows'. I was 30 most of them were around 50 years old. I learned from them that really the dating market is not in your favour. A 50 year old guy can find a new lady easily. However, it's much harder for women. Most of them tried, and did find some boyfriends and male friends eventually, but it's jut not easy, regardless of how much fun you are and how gorgeous you look. And only one of our group did remarry.

I am not saying you shouldn't try. But please, please don't blame yourself or your looks. It's hard for everyone.
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby jon_events » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:29 am

Echoing what others have said, focus on you.

I'm on the other side of a divorce, sadly with my daughter the other side of the planet. I've found Tooting Lido to be an amazing place with wonderful people. I started swimming there last summer and got through the first winter last year. Still going every day, really good for me, both the cold water and the chat with the Lido community. I'm also getting back into sports with a club which is helping too.

From my perspective re-connecting with my goals and being clear on what I want to do, should in theory (and in time) mean that I can meet someone who likes me for exactly who I am.

Good luck & take care.
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby janee » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:54 am

Reading through the responses, I have 2 comments. 1) some responses seem to focus on you finding another partner. 2) the other responses focus on finding yourself (and maybe a partner).

I have to declare bias. I am a single 73 year old who has never had (or wanted) children. I think that you need to sort out what it is that interests you as an individual (not as a mother) and get involved. Have you thought of doing some voluntary work - offering your skills for others? If you focus on your 'singleness' then you are likely to be seen as a threat by other women who are in relationships - because, in a sense, you are looking for a partner (possibly theirs!) However, if you focus on your interests and using your skills for others, you can develop proper friendships, rather than those based on children and status. There is a huge range of activity you could get involved in from exercising dogs for Battersea Dogs Home to visits to sheltered housing to helping in charity shops (my sister does that) to environmental work to sport to............
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby Babber » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:31 am

Hi! I am sorry that you are feeling lonely and excluded. There are lots of great suggestions here about finding partners and figuring out new things to do, but I agree that meeting new friends as a an adult is a bit more challenging. Have you tried the app Mush? It is available on Google Play or the Apple Store:

I know I sound like an advertisement haha, but I am not affiliated with it. I am just a really big fan. It is an app for mums who want to meet local mums in the area. I call it the Mum Dating Website. You put in your age (if you want), your location and a bit about you, and you can see who's in your area and arrange meet ups. I used it when I first moved to Teddington and wanted to meet new mums near me. It is brilliant! As a result I have a few very good mum friends. I know there are single mums on there too, so maybe you could arrange meet ups with them or even go out on weekends when you both don't have your kids?

Anyway, that's my two cents. Best of luck and big hugs to you xxx
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby actuallyadad » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:58 am

well the first thing I'd say is that are you sure that all the "complete" families as you put it are actually invited to loads of lovely dinner parties and walks in the woods?? Who are these people 'cos we are not them! I'm sure they're not living the Utopian lives you think they are!

Jeez we're a "complete" family and we basically spend most of the weekend avoiding DIY, struggling with homework and if we do get invited to dinner, the chat is about senior schools and redundancies and where to ski... We often think we'd rather be at home with netflix and a bottle of wine! So you're not missing much!
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby O Mumma » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:38 pm

Hello EverHopeful,

I'm currently in the process of divorce and your message definitely resonates with me. Please feel free to private message me. Perhaps we can catch up for coffee or arrange a weekend playdate for our children if they are similar ages etc x
Super Daddy
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Re: Social life after divorce?

Postby Super Daddy » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:06 pm

Dear All,
I would like to propose the following for us all to do rather than being experts and consultants (action speaks louder than words)

- Everhopeful is not the only parent feeling the loniless or cold shoulder, there are loads of parents in our neighbourhood, play grounds, and schools that are excluded from the cool gang of the Motherland or dads day out with kids activities, it’s easy to say to a lonely lion that just join the pride but it is hard to be accepted by the pride, that said, it’s easier for the pride to welcome a new member to the club. So, if you are already sorted in your Motherland cool club or dads out with kids activities, I urge you to invite a new parent and make the circle even bigger, it would cost you nothing and highly beneficially to a new member. Yes, I am encouraging you to speak to the parent that you don’t know and does not look like you (that odd parent could spice up the cool gang).

Dear Everhopeful
Well done for your bravery. I hope the cool gang parents would invite you to their clubs irrespective of your martial status.

Super Daddy