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I'm a 55 years old single mum of a 15 years old son. I have been in Australia for 30 years. I have no financial issues and a good job. Yet I dread Xmas. My son spends his holidays interstate with his father. I could spend Xmas with friends but they are all married and I got tired of being the "outsider" at their house when their relatives come and I'm the only outsider. I can see that makes them uncomfortable. So for the last few years I have been spending Xmas and NYE alone at home. I have no desire to go out on my own. I could travel somewhere but I don't feel like it as it makes me feel even more lonely. I lost contact with my childhood friends back in my homeland as it has been so long. My family back home have become distant as well except for my elderly mother with whom we all have issues and my sister. I keep regular contact over the internet with them.
I have made friendships here but for some reason or another (usually my single friends finding a partner and moving on from single life) I end up distancing from them as well. Being the only single one makes it difficult to make friends with married people. To make things worse I got involved with a married man from a neighbouring country to mine hence with similar cultural background but he's going back with his family early next year (please don't judge me, I know it's not right but I didn't want that for myself but loneliness was too much). I guess this will resolve itself once he goes back home but he wants to keep in touch as he has to come back to Australia eventually for work. I don't want to wait for him, I cannot put my life on hold for someone who has a wife and kids already...
I feel I have everything to be happy but I am not. I miss having someone in my life as my son is becoming more independent and I am scared of having too much time for myself. I am happy to try voluntary work or helping others in some way so I can have a sense of purpose in my life (apart from being a mother, of course - I have dedicated myself to raise my son for the last 8 years since I separated from his father who was emotionally abusive to me, he still is but I can manage that now).
I'm sorry if I'm all over the place but I am writing these words as they come to my mind. Just want to know that there are other people out there feeling the same as me and feeling miserable during Xmas when it seems like everybody has a family to enjoy but me. What do people do in that situation?
Thanks for reading...
It's during times like these that we find ourselves comparing the 'ideal' notions of the Christmas season (I still ponder the absurdity of roast turkey and plum pudding on a 30 degree day!).
As a child, we are the recipient of these glad tidings; as a parent, we recreate and share in the joy for our children; and as they mature, we hope to be remembered and involved in the perpetual cycle of love and sharing. However, there are many assumptions: generations will be evenly spaced, families will stay together (or reside in the same town), and bad feelings shall be set aside as everybody comes together in peace and goodwill... hmm, so much for the ideal. Today's world doesn't accommodate the tradition and this can leave us feeling much angst, expectation, and ultimately umbrage for failing to emulate the process.
I can relate to your feeling like the 'plus one' spending Christmas with friends as, you would agree, it is very much a family affair (although the kindness is genuine, it's a tough gig to assimilate). The key, I believe, is in finding what resonates with you and not what others are doing or feeling you should be replicating the perception of joviality - this will only bring you down. These days, Christmas for me has become a time for reflection and showing gratitude for all those who have touched my life throughout the year.
In future, definitely get yourself into social groups, casual sports, volunteering, and connect with people who may be in the same situation (there are more than you think). Where possible, try to extend yourself in the quest for new horizons and personal development.
My heart goes out to you, Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for people who feel lonely as it only exacerbates what they “could” be doing. You mention that you got tired of being the “outsider” at your friends house when their family came and that it made them uncomfortable. But I think that is projecting how you are feeling onto the situation. My uncle’s marriage broke down and so I invited him to Christmas at my house. He came the first year and didn’t come after that and I knew it was because he felt the same way, but the truth was I loved having him there, Christmas truly is the more the merrier.
You have a lot of different things going on that make your loss feel particularly acute. Your son is at that age where he has his own life and you have also had the breakdown of your relationship, which takes a toll. You can sit at home and isolate yourself, but you have tried that and it clearly is no path to happiness. Do you need to do some things that are outside of your comfort zone and that you may not enjoy at first, in an attempt to find things that fulfill you. I volunteer with foster children and plan to be a foster cater in the near future. I love children and the perspective they bring and think that I have a lot of love to give. I think that volunteering would be a great way for you to find some meaning and purpose in your life. The more interests you are exposed to, the more people you find who you can call genuine friends and it may even open the door to a new relationship. But I think for the time being you need to find activities in life that you truly enjoy and give you purpose. I wish you all the best x
Thank you both for your kind words... it is very true what you both say.. I should look for new things to do and try to socialise more. It's just too difficult for me now. Maybe I'll try later. I have to take this season just as a break from work and forget about trying to fit into the "family" idea of Xmas..
Do I see some New Year's resolutions? Good on you for staying positive.
Remember: what is 'now' isn't likely to stay like that. Your son is at 'that age' but in years to come, who knows how responsive he will be to family (people become more understanding once they have children of their own). You will inevitably meet and interact with a diverse range of people and some will irrevocably alter the course of your life by their inspiration.
The world is still your oyster, so look to the future with enthusiasm (who knows, you may find yourself being the inspiration for someone else!).
This time of year can certainly bring up so many mixed emotions and I feel it highlights the negatives even more if we don't have set plans, if we look into other people's lives and desire what they have.
One Christmas I volunteered to assist with a Church lunch. I was busy with other people organising food and then serving it to a hall of people who chose to be there to spend Christmas Day together. As helpers we sat and joined in, chatting with people at the tables.
There were tears and a lot of laughter as well. That may not be what you are after, it may be a choice though.
Another year a picnic at the beach was my Christmas experience. I was seeing other people even if I wasn't in contact with them.
I do have a husband and we have invited people to share our Christmas with us and have had some wonderful fun times.
Do you know any other single people whom you could invite to your home, or maybe there is an elderly couple you know who have no one to celebrate with this year. I was talking to some people at work and was surprised how many have no plans for Christmas Day.
Other people told me they were going for a drive and would see where they ended up and eat where ever they could find a place that was open.
I'm not sure I have offered you much comfort. Sometimes words are inadequate to ease a person's hurt and loneliness.
Kind regards to you from Dools
Thank you all for your kind words 🙂 They do make a difference!
Hope you all had a nice Xmas break 🙂