Basic survival for singletons

So, you finally broke up with your cheating/ lying/ irresponsible/ idiotic/ all of the above ex-partner, you’ve found a place to live for a while and now you’re ready to start enjoying life again. Or at least, surviving, as it can be difficult to adjust back into the mindset and routines of everyday life as a single person, especially if you’ve just come out of a long-term relationship.

Regardless of who did the dumping, and whether or not you are happy to be rid of your ex or if you wish they were still around – you’ll probably have some grief to deal with. Your mind needs time to get used to not being around the other person, which can be difficult. For a while it can feel like you’re off-balance or like a part of you is missing. People deal with grief in different ways, but it might be useful to think that your relationship ended for a reason, and the chances are that one of you, or both, will be better off and happy as a result of breaking up.

You’ll probably experience anger, regret, sadness and quite possibly relief, elation and empowerment, too. What you feel is unique to you and your situation, and the only person who can deal with it is you. What is sure, though, is that it is not the end of your story. Think of it as just turning the page.

You might find that your friends and family start to tiptoe around you and treat you with kid gloves, as if your skin and bone had turned to the most fragile porcelain. They might avoid the elephant in the room, talking about the weather, the price of gas and their niece’s graduation from first grade, rather than your break up. Or, at the other end of the scale, they might never shut up about it, constantly saying things like “it’s your gain and their loss”, “there are plenty more fish in the sea” and “you’re better off without them”. Don’t let this annoy you too much – take heart that they care enough and they just want to make sure you’re ok. If you find them stifling, tell them gently, but always appreciate that they are there for you. Some people aren’t so lucky.

If you’ve moved out, but not back to your parents’ place or a friend’s couch, it’s likely that you’re living in a small, temporary apartment, which might not be the plushest or most comfortable place. In that case, you need to do your best to cheer the place up a bit. Flowers and plants are great for this. Allow yourself some nice home comforts, such as a good TV, a games console or the most comfortable mattress and duvet. A pet can be great for company, too – just be sure that you’re aware that a pet becomes your companion and your responsibility for the rest of its life.

Don’t let your cooking slip, either. It’s all too easy to wallow in pity and end up living on junk food for weeks on end, only to wake up one day, surrounded by pizza boxes, take away bags, empty cans and bottles, to find you’ve lost your job, put on twenty pounds and that you’re on a list of missing persons. If you have the right place, treat yourself every night. Take time over you cooking and savor eating it. Turn the TV off and put on ‘La Donna e Mobile’ and ‘Carusso’ as you rustle up your spaghetti meatballs or ziti. Invite your friends over and blow their minds with your cooking skills.

Even if you don’t have a kitchen, it doesn’t mean you have to survive on takeaways and eating out. A small refrigerator, a rice cooker, an electric stove and a toaster, such as these – – are enough to allow you to cook simple and delicious meals to keep you healthy.

Now is the time to do all the things you never had time to do before. You might want to take up cooking lessons or even study to be a chef. You might want to change your career. A year from now you might well be a chef, serving the crew of a naval submarine as it passes the Cape of Good Hope.