Irene S. Levine, Ph.D.

Irene S Levine Ph.D.

The Friendship Doctor

Feeling Friendless After Separation

Advice on dealing with separation from a long-time partner.

Posted Feb 15, 2017



I'm 54 years old, currently out of a twelve-year relationship. I'm all alone and have no friends. I did everything with my ex.

I talk to my brother and son but have no friends at all, only work acquaintances. How can I make friends at my age? It's so lonely. Thank you.

Signed, Rosa


Hi Rosa,

Whether the decision was yours, his, or mutual, it’s tough to pick up the pieces after separating from a partner. Our lives as part of couple get into certain patterns and it sounds like yours didn’t involve many friends.

In addition, when a relationship starts teetering before it ends, people often pull back from involvements with friends and even relatives. As a result, there is no social cushion on which to land – people who know you well enough that they are supportive and sympathetic to your life transition.

Be assured that this is a transition from which you can bounce back and recover. It may signal a future better than the past. And no one is ever too old to make new friends. Of course, you can’t make friends instantly. Your relationships with acquaintances will morph into friendships if you nurture them.

  • Reach out to other people you know at work or in your neighborhood.
  • Don’t expect too much too soon.
  • Do things you enjoy, ones that involve people, so you have opportunities to meet new acquaintances.

Your note is brief so I’m not sure how hard this has hit you but if you feel depressed (e.g., have no hope, have trouble eating or sleeping, or have suicidal thoughts), seek professional help to get over this hump.

Wishing you’re the best, Irene

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Previously on the blog: Finding Friends After Divorce