Going through a divorce or breakup is difficult.
Experiencing this type of loss during the COVID-19 lockdown brings on a new set of issues that compound loneliness.
We’ve all been there. You pour a glass of wine after a long day, and all you want to do is some mindless scrolling on Instagram or Facebook to give yourself a mental break. But the exact opposite happens.
The first thing on your newsfeed is a picture of flowers that your high school acquaintance, Janine, is bragging about. The flowers are beautiful, and she’s put the caption, “Going strong, still married to my best friend.”
And just like that, your quick distraction has made you feel lonely because you are divorced and struggling. It makes you feel angry. Jealous. And now you’re frustrated because you’re wondering why everybody has somebody but you.
Social media is the worst!
When we start feeling lonely and left out, especially after divorce, there are three simple things we can do to get our mindset back on track.
1. Unfollow the people whose posts make you feel terrible as you recover from divorce or heartbreak.
It’s as simple as that. If there is a woman who constantly posts things like the “‘I love my husband’ challenge” or #myhusbandismylife or #luckiestwifeintheworld—simply mute or unfollow her.
No, you don’t have to block her if you don’t want to. But, if her stuff is constantly popping up on your newsreel and you’d rather see your cousin Randy’s newest conspiracy nonsense, then you know it’s time to unfollow her.
2. If you can’t mute because you feel addicted, then become an anthropologist.
Sometimes, it’s impossible to mute because it’s like you’re addicted to seeing those posts. When you’re lonely and bored, it can be hard to unfollow someone. Because those feelings at least make you feel alive. Especially with COVID still going on and being stuck at home.
So, if you choose not to unfollow, become an anthropologist instead. When you’re feeling triggered and jealous, start asking yourself the following questions:
What is the other 90 percent of the story that this #blessed Facebook post *isn’t* telling me?
Is it because the poster is lonely, too? Is it because she’s afraid of divorce and being alone? Is it because she’s tired of her own cousin’s conspiracy theories?
When you remove your own feelings from a social media post that makes you feel lonely after divorce, you’ll start to realize that:
>> It’s not about you and your divorce and that Janine isn’t trying to rub it in anybody’s face;
>> Everybody is just trying to do the best they can and;
>> The people who seem to brag are probably feeling as lonely as you, even if they’re not divorced, but they’re just expressing it differently.
3. If all else fails, set a time limit. Then, go do something else.
If you can’t stop reading those posts, at least set a timer on your phone. Once the buzzer rings after 15 minutes, your time is up. No more hate-scrolling. No more judging yourself because nobody sent you flowers. No more feeling sorry for yourself because you’re currently single, and no more resentment of others.
And once the time is up, don’t ignore it and override the warning. Put your phone down and go do something joyful or productive. Something like finding a new recipe to try, or planning your first trip after COVID, or…literally any other thing that isn’t going to make you feel bad.
Navigating social media can feel like a minefield when you’re divorced and feeling lonely.
These proactive steps can help lift some of that burden off so you can focus on putting yourself first.
I’m a divorce recovery coach who helps professional divorced women overcome their loneliness and break free from the patterns keeping them stuck so they can feel fulfilled, have more fun, and look forward to the future. Get my free “Divorce Goddess Recovery Kit,” here.