bridget jones' diary

Suddenly Single

Author: Lauren Coleman

My gorgeous, witty and intelligent friend has just found herself suddenly single at 31. After more than a decade in two long term relationships Isabelle and all of her friends and family were stunned when her boyfriend called it a day on their relationship a month ago. They’d both talked marriage, babies, puppies and home ownership so understandably it was a bit of a shock.

A few weeks ago Izzy reluctantly downsized her much-loved South-East London flat to a room in a house share. My friend Lindsay and I quizzed her new house-mate and can confirm he is very normal and we’re very confident the two of them will get on famously in their flat. However I know the process of packing and sorting though years of ‘stuff’ has been an emotional and lonely one. How do you know what to keep and what to let go? Not to mention the fact a one bed flat doesn’t actually fit into a room so regrettably the collection of furniture and trinkets has to be pared-back.

As with anyone celebrating new-found singledom, Izzy is keen to paint the town red but with a boatload of married friends her wing-women have been few and far between. The offer to “come round for dinner and share a glass of wine with me and my fabulous husband” understandably doesn’t really appeal. Hangs head in shame at falling into the category.
Over a drink (or two) in London recently, Lindsay and I attempted to give some advice but to be honest failed miserably. We then came on to the subject of you, our very helpful readers and how Isabelle’s current plight might resonate with you. I feel it necessary to mention the Bridget Jones pic was also Izzy’s idea following on from several texts about being left to die alone and being discovered three weeks later half-eaten by an Alsatian. I might be a rubbish drinking sidekick but I will most definitely ensure this doesn’t happen.

I’ve lost count of the number of people I know who use dating apps and they’ve met some lovely people through them. I’ve also been to the weddings of people who’ve met the love of their life through a dating site. However I’ve also heard a whole host other not-so-romantic stories too. I’m sure Tinder has its uses but this girl is looking for a G&T and a giggle with like-minded folk rather than a one-night stand.

So do feel free to send along advice to my lovely friend. “Everything happens for a reason” and “You’ll meet someone new when you least expect it” are strictly out of bounds. 😉
We’d love to hear your own experiences of healing heartbreak and moving on. How did you deal with moving to a new pad? What is the best (and worse) piece of advice you’ve been given after a relationship break-up? What would you recommend for someone who’s not quite ready to date but not willing to stay in all night with her crochet? Izzy and I are all ears.

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Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
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19 thoughts on “Suddenly Single

  1. Start yoga. Do a masters. Go swimming. Write a novel. Figure out whatever it is that will make you happy or challenge yourself. That’s not always easy but it helps

  2. Do something that you really wanted to do but the ex wasn’t on board with. I did my Queens Guide Award and ended up meeting my now husband at a scout event I was doing as part of it. But also give yourself some time to wallow before you get your umph back to do something fabulous!

  3. I’m also in this situation!!!! It’s not fun. I’ll be honest but on the plus side I get to do the things that I want now. Shopping trips, hit the gym hard, nights out even meals every couple of weeks are good.
    I’ve found I’m in no position to date yet. Just have fun and enjoy a different way of life for a bit! It’s a good different xxx

  4. Be a ‘joiner’- doesn’t matter if it’s hockey, a choir, a book club, or an online dating site. Try all the things you want to do and along the way you might meet the person who loves the same things as you!

    I had a very similar experience to Izzy, and decided I was going to be the person I wanted to be and do the things I wanted to do, and perhaps I would meet someone along the way. A running club, book club, choir, and online dating foray later, my husband and I have been together 3 years now and married 8 months. Do things for you and you alone, and maybe you will find someone along the way. Maybe you won’t, but you will still be having a fun life full of the things that interest you!

  5. This exact thing happened to me at 31 and I was utterly devastated. I think everyone gets over it in their own time but its important to know that happiness does come back and you eventually get over the loss. For me;
    – Accept all invitations. Yes sometimes that was going round to a coupled up friends house for pizza on a Friday night but once you get over the ‘I’m on my own’ thing its nice to just hang out with others and not be home alone. Any yes that did mean I went to a wedding alone and spent half the night crying in the loos but I’m still glad I went!!
    – Keep BUSY. Make sure you always have a plan for Saturday or Sunday if not both
    – Find a new hobby. For me it was Bikram Yoga a couple of times a week which helped me totally switch off and not cry for 90 minutes! I also hit the gym hard after work as that kept me out of the house until mid-evening when I was knackered and happy to collapse in front of the TV anyway!
    – Find things that YOU enjoy and don’t focus on meeting a new man. with any luck you will along the way as you meet new people and do new things.

    Xx

    1. Just to also say it was on accepting one random invitation to go to a party with my friend and her boyfriend – total gooseberry I didn’t want to go particularly it was an afternoon/evening thing and I had to travel with them in the car for 2 hours – that I actually did meet my husband. I know its annoying to hear when you’ve just broken up and it doesn’t always work out that way – but just being brave and saying Yes…you never know.

  6. A friend of mine came out of a 14 year relationship last year. She took the split pretty well but obviously sorting out a sale of a house, finding a new place (a lovely little flat with a great view of a lovely green) and still having regular contact with the ex wasn’t always easy. But she is now in a great place and planning to move in with her new man.

    I think the most important thing when you become single is to reconnect with yourself. As much as someone wants to move forward, and as lonely as it feels at first, do make the most of not having anyone else to think about. Be selfish for a while!

    I live in Derby and there are websites for meeting friends called Mixing Out and meetup.com which arrange socials such as nights out, cinema trips, lunches etc for people looking to meet up as friends – it might be worth a Google to see if there is anything in Isabelle’s area. I joined a Book Group earlier this year and I really enjoy the monthly meet ups and it keeping me disciplined at making time for reading.

    It is scary putting yourself out there but if you don’t try you will never know who you will meet.

  7. I’m there too. We’d already bought a house, but because of the way the mortgage was set up originally, I had to essentially buy the house off him and it all got very messy. It took seven months in the end. The first thing I did after he left was buy a pair of Louboutin’s (aka the ‘confidence shoes’) and decorate the house exactly how I wanted it and had a new kitchen fitted. I’ve done most of the work myself and I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved (especially because he was a useless DIYer!).

    We’d moved away together, but I’ve decided to stay here for the time-being. I’ve got a really good group of friends and don’t feel ready to move away from them just yet. As for the Tinder/Online Dating thing… I do it, but don’t take it too seriously. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to get dressed up for a date and have drinks with someone new knowing that nothing will come out of it. I even went speed dating, but that’s another story…

    Being on my own can be hard, but it can sometimes be liberating. I’m a planner and as such everything is planned within an inch of it’s life – It’s something I’m trying to avoid now, as I can’t predict what’s going to happen tomorrow, never-mind in six months. I even went to Barcelona on a spontaneous night out! (Not like me at all!) and became a Zumba instructor.

    I decided I talk to myself too much, so I’ve now got two kittens which gives me something to fuss over. There’s nothing better than Sunday night snuggles with them on the sofa… (okay, I think I may have been single for too long…).

    Don’t get me wrong, it is rubbish. It’s coming up to a year since we broke up, and although I don’t morn him, I morn the relationship we had and the things we did together. But I know I’ll have that again, and it’ll be better. So for now, I’m just going to strut around in my Louboutin’s and sit at a bar on my own and let people chat me up, because, you know, it’s good for the soul.

  8. Getting dumped sucks and that pain stings the older you get, especially when you find yourself in a land full of married couples. But the best cure for heartbreak, in my opinion, is to use it to your advantage! Do all the things YOU want to to without someone else’s opinion. Exercise, eat well, don’t hit the booze too much and take care of yourself. For me, I was a jilted bride after a 9 year relationship and just didn’t know how to ‘do’ the single life so instead I did what I wanted. Backpacking, travelling to places I’d never imagined seeing, writing a novel and living in another country. Only you will know when it’s time to get back into that dating pool but by then you will have grown so much it’s just another challenge to be conquered rather than feared! Good luck!!

  9. Pretty much this exact thing happened to me almost 3 months ago. We lived in a 1 bed flat in London and we had to divide all our possessions, with my ex staying in our flat (he earns more than I do so could afford it) and me having to move into a room in a flatshare. I thought it was going to be the most horrific thing at the time, but I really am loving it now! I moved to a completely different area (which was something I was wanting to do when we were together) and I am totally embracing the new start. Don’t get me wrong, I felt like shit for a long time, and I still have down days sometimes, especially as, like you, a lot of my friends are married/engaged/in long term relationships, it feels like you are the only single person in the world sometimes! But each day gets a little bit easier, and you start to see light at the end of the tunnel.
    As for getting out and doing things, I have been trying to meet up with girlfriends whenever possible, and I also got myself a car which means I can just up and drive wherever the hell I fancy whenever I damn well want! I haven’t joined any clubs or anything yet, but I think that may well be the next step!
    So Izzy, just take some time to figure out exactly what you want, without any influence from pesky boyfriends (!) and then just go and bloody well do it!
    Good luck!

    Ceri x

  10. I had a similar experience too. After 5 years we parted and he moved to a different country, so I decided that I was going to travel too. I took all of my annual leave in one go and took a month long tour around Europe. It was an incredible adventure, I have stories that are fantastic to remember, and I got to see so many amazing places. I really enjoyed it, it was life changing and made lots of friends from all around the world.

    I also went to Salsa lessons, which were fun. It was great to learn something new and it got me out of the house for a few hours every week for months where I met interesting people.

    I met my husband when I was 30 on a dating website, he was lovely and made me smile from the very first message he sent me. If you are going to sign up to a dating website (when you’re ready) be confident about yourself, think friendship and have fun. These are the tips that were given to me about online dating and they eventually worked. I did have to sift through a few undesireables, but it was worth it in the end. My husband and I are married nearly a year, are house hunting and are hoping to start a family some time soon (I’m 34 now). 🙂

  11. I’ve got nothing to add to all the really really good advice above except to follow feminist_tinder on instagram. It’ll cheer you up (and probably put you off tinder for life but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing :))

  12. Thanks for all your comments ladies. Iz has just texted me to say how grateful she is for all the suggestions and how helpful you’ve all been x

  13. Urrgh I feel your pain. I agree with every single point that Nikki M made.
    Also I recommend reading ‘The Woman I wanted to be’ by Diane Von Furstenburg- it really makes you think about putting yourself first and always being positive etc etc.
    When this happened to me I booked a week in Miami with a girlfriend. That helped too.
    Also I agree with Faye ?
    Xx

  14. Go and buy a copy of ‘Ex and the City’. Immediately. It is hilarious and helpful in equal measure. Then go to the Haagen Dazs cafe and have the ice cream cocktails.

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