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When do you stop feeling pain from lack of belonging?

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ProbableIceCream posted 9/23/2013 12:19 PM

What is the process like to go from feeling lonely or not-lonely-but-numb most of the time to feeling content most of the time? It's not that I feel like I need to have someone around me all the time, I just miss feeling a sense of belonging/family. I know I feel some from my daughter, but I still have this big hole in myself that hurts. And I don't really know what it is, but I'm calling it 'belonging/family' because that's what it feels like.

FaithFool posted 9/23/2013 12:52 PM

It took about three years for me to find myself again.

It doesn't happen overnight.

I don't date and have been completely alone since April of 2009.

My mom passed away in 2010 and I'm pretty much estranged from the rest of my family.

I'm an introvert so I'm OK with it.

I guess that makes me my own best friend. You'll get there.

[This message edited by FaithFool at 12:53 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]

NaiveAgain posted 9/23/2013 14:16 PM

It takes time and total acceptance of your situation. As long as you are still thinking "this is not the way it is supposed to be" you will not find contentment.

damncutekitty posted 9/23/2013 14:50 PM

You're still framing your definition of 'normal life' as being married or part of a couple. The healing begins when you define normal life as being whatever life you are living right now.

ProbableIceCream posted 9/23/2013 14:59 PM

I agree in principle with the answers I'm getting, but once again, my head is way further along than my heart. I suppose that corrects itself in time. At least I no longer miss my ex wife (in the very early stages I thought about her constantly; now I barely think about her at all).

nowiknow23 posted 9/23/2013 15:06 PM

It takes time. It also takes work, in my opinion. No one is an island. Humans need connection - community - and maybe that's what you're feeling as missing?

Do you have a village? Friends? Colleagues? A church community, if that is something you value? Do you socialize? Are you part of anything bigger than yourself - like involvement in volunteer work?

Pass posted 9/23/2013 15:13 PM

I moved out almost seven months ago. I can still feel some pretty serious hurt by times, but nowhere near as often. The body-wracking sobs stopped a couple months ago.

The big hole is still there, and probably will be for a while, but it's not as big as it once was.

The main thing is that I have never felt myself "suddenly getting over" things. It's more like thinking, "Hey, that hasn't happened for a while".

It's already been said here, but you still have belonging/family, you just need to get used to the fact that it involves one fewer person than it used to. That takes a while, and it's different for each of us.

Just keep swimming.

ProbableIceCream posted 9/23/2013 15:58 PM

Regarding connection/community.. I have been working pretty hard on building that up recently. I've reconnected with an old friend from about 12 years ago, I've met a couple people through him who I occasionally hang out with, I have gone to meetups, etc. By my count since early June I've done 10 things that involve socializing with complete strangers (I set a goal of 3/month then).

I have a pretty good life at work, colleagues, etc. No volunteer work yet, but that's going to be something I'll be starting with soon. And spending time socializing/with friends does feel better, but I go back to feeling bad pretty soon afterwards.

Not a rational response. Probably just a hole left in me by my ex-wife being gone. I feel like part of me wants me to fill it with, not necessarily a full blown relationship, and not sex, but with a feeling of closeness to someone of the opposite sex. But I realize this is not the way to go right now and I'm not pursuing this sort of thing. Just to be 100% honest with myself.

nowiknow23 posted 9/23/2013 16:00 PM

You're doing all the right things. Really you are. It takes time to adjust. Just know you are right on track, Probable, even if that's little comfort.

Dawn58 posted 9/23/2013 17:04 PM

Boy, this sure hits home for me. I am working on building my friendships. I started dating, but it's kind of weird. My heart is still in a very protective space. I think it's more that I just would like some male company. No big love affair, just someone to have dinner with and do things with.

I visited my son last week and for the first time, in a very long time, felt connected to another person in a meaningful way. I miss that deep connection. I feel like most of my connections now, are relatively shallow. I am sure that is in part my fault, as trust is a bigger struggle for me now. It was in the past, but even more so since his infidelity. Just shook me to the foundation.

I am really trying to focus in on myself. I started back to my spiritual practice and am working on creating that spiritual connection.

I hope that over time, that feeling of belonging will come back. I just hope I can open up my heart to it

cayc posted 9/23/2013 19:24 PM

I think some of what you're getting at is better identifying your feelings and/or reframing what you feel.

I dare say it isn't that you don't feel like you belong but rather that you are lonely. Loneliness is understandable. Loneliness can be addressed in myriad ways, but feeling like you belong? That's labeling yourself an outsider and I don't think that's true, nor is it what I think you mean.

The off kilter feeling? Again, it's not that you don't belong, it's that you experienced a great upheaval and that takes time to right yourself when you're still in rough waters. As you calm down, that off-kilter feeling abates.

But mostly, stop being so hard on yourself! You've been through a lot in a short amount of time. You now though, have the luxury if re-exploring who you are, one of thesurestroutes to personal growth and adapting to new circumstances that I know of. This is a route that has twists and turns, a few unexpected detours, and every now and again a u-turn where you have to cover old ground to make sure you actually learned.

To me, activity, action-wise you are doing fine. Mentally? Think reframing or re-identifying what it is you are really feeling. Because once it's truly recognizing "oh, I'm sad" "oh, I'm lonely" then your rational brain will kick in bc you know that that is both temporary and fixable (as in you will recognize that all you really need to concentrate on is having patience and maintaining hope that "this too shall pass".

phmh posted 9/23/2013 19:49 PM

NIK pretty much said everything I was going to post!

I also really like the posts at If you click around there, I'm sure you'll find some things that help you to heal. As everyone says, it's not just time. It's also what you do with the time. is a good start. might be worth a read as well.

I could go through and post dozens of these. Or maybe more :)

I know I've seen studies about feeling connected and two things stick out at me: spending time in nature and volunteer work.

Also, I think it's a good reminder to everyone that once you're in a relationship again, not to let other things go. Continue to maintain friendships, outside interests, volunteer work, etc. I know I was guilty of this in the beginning of my marriage; once he started med school, I developed outside interests and friendships because I had so much time on my own, and those helped me immeasurably to get through D-Day and its aftermath. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm picking on you, because I'm not, but so often on here I read about people who don't have much of a community because they relied so much on their SO. I've seen it happen to close friends, and as I said, me in the beginning of my relationship.

Good luck! You can definitely build up that sense again, in an emotionally healthy manner!

Embers2Fire posted 9/23/2013 20:25 PM

When you begin to feel comfortable in your new normal. When I first left my WXH my life felt like it did not fit. I was never comfortable in it. It felt strange, and awkward. The new normal takes time to begin to feel normal. You will find new places and people that you will feel comfortable belonging with. The first group I found like that was my divorce care group, many churches run these groups. It does not matter how long you have been divorced these groups will make you feel welcomed, and for me it helped me to heal to share my journey with others who have been through the same pain and loss as me. I also made some new friends, ones who did not feel torn between their friendship with me and their friendship with my ex. It is all a process. I just wanted you to know your not alone, I totally once felt the same as you do now. I pray your new normal will feel normal very very soon.

InnerLight posted 9/23/2013 23:01 PM

I relate to this a lot. I have lost so many friends and the sense of belonging to community over the years and my huge in-law family around me and X were part of that.
I think whenever there is betrayal of some sort it exacerbates that feeling of lack of stability or safety in community.

I realize now that as much as I want community and family around me for that sense of belonging I find it hard to take little steps to build it for myself. It's as if I want to associate community with good things because I'm naturally hard wired to do so, but my experience also has been teaching me to associate community with abandonment, rejection and betrayal. My instinctive brain thinks I'm not going to survive so I'm more anxious.

I'm 5 years from DDay so it's not intense, but I still feel that shakiness underneath all the great improvements in my life. Wile it is still a theme, I can't say I feel lonely every day, just a few times a week and it doesn't debilitate me.

[This message edited by InnerLight at 11:04 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]

ProbableIceCream posted 9/25/2013 10:08 AM

cayc: You're correct. The feeling is loneliness. Rationally, I do belong. And thanks for the other things you wrote. They are helpful.

phmh (and people saying similar things): I can definitely thing of some hobbies/volunteering that I could get back into. I used to be great at photography and my smart phone just isn't cutting it. There's a really nice camera that's not expensive that I'd like to get. I also could start playing keyboard/piano again (I have one, just don't use it much). Also I think I am slowly developing community and making new friends, but as I realized today, these things do take time to develop, even after you meet people. People don't become old friends overnight.

damncutekitty posted 9/25/2013 18:27 PM

It's also good to keep in mind that it's been less than a year. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to hurry up and be "over it".

Saleschick posted 9/26/2013 00:08 AM

I feel lonely a lot too. I have found the Divorce Care group I joined this month helpful and I am doing things with my sorority alum group too.

MissMoneypenny posted 9/26/2013 04:42 AM

I am three years and 9 months out and live separate from WH for more than 2 years and yet I still have the same feeling that you described:

The feeling of seeing my family , that was husband and 2 kids and KNOWING that they are the only people I need to have around, that whatever happens around me doesn`t matter as long as they are healthy and we are together.

I have a new SO in my life and I am happy with him but I know that I will NEVER have this same feeling with him, no matter how well he gets along with my kids.
That "family feeling" will forever be associated with WH (and his family to whom I am still very close) and there are days when I still struggle HOURLY to stay composed especially in front of my SO.

I understand you very well !

ProbableIceCream posted 9/26/2013 17:00 PM

MissMoneypenny: yep. the 'family' feeling is gone and is nowhere to be seen.

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