How to Cope When You're Suddenly Single

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Kathey Batey is the author of Suddenly Single, a book about how to transition into the single life and live it successfully. Kathey shared some advice with us reflecting on her own experiences as a speaker, author, and woman.  
West Michigan Woman: Tell us about your book, Suddenly Single. What inspired you to write it?
Kathey Batey: I wrote the book Suddenly Single as a gentle  guide for people in the pain and confusion of divorce or losing a spouse to death. Having experienced a divorce sixteen years ago, I understand the trauma of this event. However, this is a transition and not a destination. It is a  scary time but it is also one of the most powerful times to reinvent  yourself. The book is an easy read, I designed it that way, using quips and  quotes on the side of the pages to encourage those who don't have the strength  to read the whole book. WMW: What do women who find themselves “suddenly single” feel initially?
KB: They feel a  tremendous sense of loss, confused, raw, insecure, disoriented, ashamed,  embarrassed, on a roller coaster of emotions and grasping for something to  hold onto. This varies in frequency by every person, but it hits everyone to  some degree. As I facilitate DivorceCare for the past six years at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, I have worked with many men and women going through  divorce. They enter raw and hurting, but they leave finding hope. They just  need to find the glimmer of hope. Never underestimate how valuable a  gentle word can be to someone you know who is going through  this trauma.
Relationships-Suddenly Single Presentation ShotWMW: How can they cope with those feelings?
KB: Divorce is not something you should go  through alone. You need support. Your kids need support. It is essential to  have someone to talk to. You need help venturing through territories and  emotions you have never experienced before. You need to be the "compassionate  observer" of your own life, allowing yourself the process  of grief, taking one day and issue at a time. It is a messy process. I highly recommend DivorceCare, a thirteen week program that covers topics  such as depression, anger, loneliness, finances, childcare, single sexuality, and other relevant topics. I am the co-director of DivorceCare at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids. I also recommend my program Redesigning Your Life to begin planning your strategy for a new life.

WMW: In your book, you talk about a “transition.” What is on the other side of that transition?
KB: What is on the other side is a  beautiful life. But it takes intentional design, it takes courage and risk. This is the time to reconnect with your dreams and believe that your life is  not meant to be reacted to, but journeyed through. And yes, anything is  possible. They just can't see it now. Divorce can be a place you are stuck at or a place you can launch from. It has been my privilege to guide them  through the transition watching them become empowered to a new and  rich life.

WMW: What is your advice for single women, whether they be newly divorced, widowed, or if they have yet to find “the one”?
KB: My first piece of advice is not to look for the fulfillment of your life in the next relationship. Use this time to explore new areas of your life, focus on becoming healthy and single. Find your own gift to give into the world. You have something great to contribute into others lives. Dwell there. You put your life on hold if you believe another person holds your happiness. This is a fantastic time to redesign your life. This is a spiritual time, a time to draw close to the positive source of hope. I believe that is what the Christian faith is all about, hope and purpose. The new life, happy and glorious is possible.  

Kathey is the owner of Spirited Presentations LLC. She is a national speaker on a variety of topics including "Redesigning Your Life," "The Conversation–A Drama on Alcohol and Addiction," "What I Realized at 30, Understood at 40, and I Am Certain of at 50!" and "Discovering Personal Power."

Written by: Erika Fifelski is the West Michigan Woman magazine editorial coordinator. She was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys cooking, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses.

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