Learning to live alone.

I’ve been spending the last few days helping get my son organized for moving to university at the start of next year. He deferred for a year after it was evident is mother, my wife was going to die, which she did early this year.

As I have helped him make plans the reality has sunk in that I have never lived alone. When I moved away from my parents home 30 years ago I went in with flat-mates for a handful of years, then moved in with my wife, who I lived with for 25 years, and the last 10 months with my son.

Now I’m going be living alone, well with a dog and a grumpy old cat, neither of which are too good to discuss my day, share a meal with and fill the small quiet moments into the evenings.

I guess it might be when I really will have some time to reflect, to grieve.


Yeh it will be tough … im not gonna lie to you. I was same … never lived alone until my husband passed ! I hate this solitary life now, living alone is just rotten. I miss his laugh, his smile, his joy of life and its not fair any of this. But i hope you get some benefit from it ? At least you had your son there with you at your lowest point xxx

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I talk to my dog all the time lol, and they’ll still be a distraction. Just because you will be living alone, doesn’t mean life has to become hard. Having no one home to be responsible for, can have it’s benefits. You can do what you want when you want.

Theres always a positive to a negative, we just have to find it.

Grief is never far away but you will always be in a better place than day 1.

This could be your time to embrace the new life that I’m sure your wife would love you to have. The world’s yours for the taking when you’re ready.


Thanks Ali29, I do try to talk to the dog, but she’s not the smartest of animals (unless a treat is involved) but it’s good excuse to get out and do long walks- no one looks sideways at a person alone walking a dog on an empty beach.

Yep, it means more freedom to do what I want, once I find out what that might be. The last year of her illness were largely taking care of her to some degree- initially as she couldn’t drive or do much around the house, and then needing hands on care. So now I could just jump in the car and go somewhere without a thought.

As much as my wife said and encouraged me for exploring new things after she had died, I haven’t yet quite found joy in the prospect. No doubt it will come.


Until my husband died in February I had only ever lived alone for about 6 weeks when I first went up to University. Here I am over 40 years later trying to deal with having to make all of the decisions and having no-one to talk to at home apart from the cats. It’s a huge adjustment but perhaps has it’s positive side, I choose what to watch, what to eat, when to get up and when to go to bed. I try to see the positive side but it’s difficult at times, especially when the weather is horrid. At least I can play the piano and other music when I want, so perhaps that’s a good thing. Take care Gail


I think a big part of the problem is the inner conflict in terms of knowing what we need to do,knowing what might help,knowing what family and friends suggest and expect but also knowing that the person we always did those things for is no longer with us.
Like you I find myself not just living alone and suffering the silence and lonely periods but also not really knowing who I am. Having always lived my life for this person that I love I now find that I don’t know how to live it for me,made even worse because I still have these feelings for her but she isn’t here.
I think almost certainly now that your son has gone you will find the symptoms of grief sneaking in,the freedom that another poster suggests that you have includes the freedom to let go of feelings that you may have kept under control while your son was living with you.
When we found out that my wife had cancer she desperately wanted me to develop a support network but again like you my happiness came from looking after her,I didn’t want or need other people,then the time passed and she was gone.
I am almost five months into this unwanted journey and just for now I spend my time walking,going out,anywhere to avoid being in our home for a myriad of reasons but the main one relates to your main point,I’ve never lived alone and don’t know how to.
I wish you the very best and sincerely hope that you find a way through,preferably as painless as possible but be aware,grief is one sneaky s**t.


I’m sitting here wondering what the hell to do with myself, this used to be one of the most enjoyable times of the year for Joan, I would stand back and watch it all happen, the anticipation of decorating the house, it will never happen again, the presents, the cards, much reduced this year, you find out who your friends are.
The planning of who to visit and filling the fridge and freezer with food to be eaten over Christmas, my fridge contains a bottle of milk, a pack of butter and 4 cans of lager to be drunk tonight, if I can find a film to watch as a distraction.
I spend most of my time walking, when I don’t know what to do with myself, I go to the cemetery, about 10 minutes away. I have never lived on my own in my live, I use the term living loosely, surviving is a better description, I buy food day to day from the garage Asda, shopping without Joan is too upsetting.


@kingfisher067 Same here, apart from a couple of months before I first got together with my wife. I can’t really say whether it was tough or not at first as I was far too gone with grief initially, it certainly factored in somewhere and as the months rolled on it became more apparent. Its the mundanity of it all I can find a bit of a grind, always deciding on meals, always my turn for hoovering, always me to sort the problems, pay the bills do the shopping, you get the idea. But as @Ali29 says with all that comes a freedom, waking up to sunshine and deciding how to spend the day, not having to eat aubergine, not doing the hoovering, going away when you fancy, entertaining friends, watching whatever I please on TV, again you get the idea. There’s always something to do and along with working at home it gives me a good structure to my day that is rarely interfered with which I have found really beneficial in helping me come to terms with my loss. Living alone has helped me realise that I can do this without my wife and that’s something I know she would be so happy about, it does take a while to get used to but not as long as I assumed. What I missed most, and still do, is not having that constant of someone to talk to, but I also have a grumpy cat, I text a lot with friends and family and I come on here to chat and try to help. I guess, thinking about it, I’ve built up a loose core routine but with many parts that can be swapped in or out as the need arises. I just try things out and see what works, then try more things and just keep adding to the bank.


I don’t want freedom , its rubbish… i enjoyed being a partnership but i made a few good friends near where i live so that has helped me very much ! Thank god for kind people that’s all i can say x


Yeh im like you … surviving and my shopping regime is awful these days ! I used to enjoy shopping now i hate it. My husband didnt always go shopping with me but he was here when i got back ! That makes so much difference … all we can do is keep being patient with ourselves. And making friends helps i find. I got a few people i call friends near where i live and thats nice to have them xx


Hi Kingfisher067
I am lucky to still have my Son living at home with me however he has started to talk about getting his own place and my heart was so heavy as I panicked to think how I was going to cope alone as like you I have never ever lived on my own always had my family sisters/lived with my auntie as I got older always had someone around So am thinking and panicking I mean I would never ever tell my son this as I want him to live his life then to top it my friend said the other day when I was discussing this with her Oh you will do it you will get used to it inside my head was silently screaming No I won’t I cannot think of anything worse than being totally on my own :frowning:


How does she know ? Does she live alone ??? Huh …

Hi, in a way no one likes change so an automatic reaction is to panic, try and think of it in a way that change is difficult & you will hate it at first but in time you will adapt & be able to cope.

Well yeah she does live alone but totally different circumstances she has been divorced for years so totally different to my circumstances xx

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Yeh she chose that … we fidnt did we ? That choice was taken away from us … :frowning: x

Yeah exactly what I thought I did not ask for this you made your choice :frowning:

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Yeh its true though isnt it … they made that choice … we didnt ask or want our man to go :frowning: xx

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Hi @Walan, @Deb5 and @miker,

It really caught my attention this talk of “freedom” and how you have kind of encountered it or don’t want it …

Thinking back over my life with Christine, and the final years when I was caring for her as her illness took hold, I don’t think I ever felt that I was in any sense bound and that upon her death I am now free. For me it is quite the reverse. I don’t live anymore. Instead I endure in a world without Christine. A world that is abhorrent to me. The notion of now being free simply does not come into it.

Maybe this is something that could be helpful to ruminate on some more. Thank you.

Best wishes.


I think what we were saying was we didn’t want this or choose this … that’s my understanding of this conversation anyway x

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Yes, so how to you end up with freedom when such ghastly events over which you had no control transpire?

Basically I am just lost. Drowning. Desperately trying to grab onto anything. Existence sucks. It really does at the moment. For how long?

Hope you get some rest tonight @Deb5. Take care.

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