Why do I just want to be alone?

Divorced and widowed ministry resource person

by Fr. Dick Mevissen, CSsR
Spiritual Director
Beginning Experience International Ministry, Inc.

Many people in the devastating aftermath of the end of their marriage, either through death or divorce, wonder why they just want to be alone now.  There are a couple of reasons for this (perhaps intense) desire.
The basic reason is that people who are grieving the end of their marriage find themselves feeling quite wounded amid the ruins of their couple-life which they had hoped would be “happily ever after.”  At a time like this, all the attempts at sympathy or advice by family members, friends, or even strangers, however well-meaning, can all be just too much!  There is the natural desire, like a wounded animal, to withdraw back into one’s den to lick one’s wounds.

Another reason for one’s desire to withdraw from close family members and friends after the end of one’s marriage is the stunning realization that everything is changed now.  One fears that she or he may not have the knowledge, skill, or ability required to re-build long-term relationships either within the old relational network of one’s family or within a “couples’ world” as a newly-single person.   All of this re-connecting naturally takes time as well as a basic willingness to risk.  One often finds the others who really know and care for one are ready to re-connect but they have been holding back waiting for the “right” time.  Of course those whom one discovers do not seem to really know or care for one are another matter. 

Still, one should not be too hasty to judge another’s knowledge or caring.  The stress of grieving is not always the ideal environment for correct evaluation of interpersonal relationships.  It goes without saying that bridges that do not need burning should perhaps not be burned. #1