When You Don’t Want to Go Home

One of the most painful sentences that I have ever been on the receiving end of was, “I didn’t want to come home.”

Those words were a cannonball to the gut, a sharp exhale followed by a tremulous and hesitant inhale.

Because home should be a place where you want to go. A sanctuary where you can recover from the bruises that the world inflicts upon you. Ideally, home is the welcoming hug. The safe space where your armament can be removed along with your shoes.

And so to be told that I was contributing to a home environment that brought dread instead of relaxed anticipation? Ouch.

And yet, I can understand this feeling of not wanting to come home. As I expect most of us can.

Relationships, even the best ones, are challenging. And there are times when having to take somebody else’s emotions and needs just feels overwhelming. Perhaps you’ve fallen into a cycle of negativity and you need some space to untangle the interactions. Or maybe you’re not feeling accepted as you are, which is ever more painful when it happens at home than in the broader world. And sometimes, we outgrow our home, the rigid shell binding when we crave expansion.

Pay attention to that feeling of not wanting to return home. What is it telling you?

In my old life, I always looked forward to coming home. Until that home transformed into an empty shell, a life’s vessel without its lifeblood. The floors echoed, sending out reminders of the years they had been traversed together. The walls seemed to taunt me, speaking of better times. I only managed one night there after he left, an endless darkness spent pacing the living room with a persistent hope that I would soon hear the garage door rumble open. The reminders proved too much for me to bear.

The next day, I escaped to a friend’s home. Which immediately became my home. One I wanted to return to at the end of each day. When it came time for me to establish my own space, I chose the apartment and its furnishings carefully in an attempt to cultivate a space that welcomed me back. Little from my old life occupied the space. It was a blank slate, ready to accept the imprint of a new life.

My home now welcomes me each day. It offers both reminders of the best times and the shared laughter and it also holds the impressions of loss and tears. It’s a place where I feel both accepted and challenged. And on those days when everything is just a little too much, it offers comfort and consolation.

Home holds so much power over us. It is where many of the best and the worst memories are formed. The most important relationships of our lives play out upon its floors. It receives our greatest hopes and dreams and sometimes surrounds us as we say our goodbyes.

It said that you can’t go home again. Yet as long as you accept that home changes with the years and you can rebuild at will, you can always find your way back.



Thank you for sharing!

11 thoughts on “When You Don’t Want to Go Home

  1. I have been following your blog for over a year now. I discovered it during my divorce and continue to follow it now as I transition into the life of being single. I am so amazed how each time you post a blog it happens at a moment in time when I need to hear your message. It is so bizarre. It is like you know what I need to hear and dealing with. Yesterday was my granddaughter’s baptism and Home was the topic of the sermon. As I listened to the sermon about Hometowns, I realized sitting next to my now ex husband that I don’t have connections to a hometown because I am a Navy Brat. For me my hometown has been my home. And for me my heart is where my home is. Family is my home. So when I married him he became my home. His hometown became my hometown. I think this is why I struggle so much with letting go of my connections to him despite how much he hurt and broke my heart. I don’t feel like I am home right now because I am not with him. I am not lonely and I am ok with where I am living. The changes in my life haven’t been a problem for me. I have adjusted to all of these pretty well. My difficulty has been with shutting that door to my past home and opening to door to a new home. I guess it is because I have to learn to simply love myself now and not love someone else. Which is difficult right now because the circumstances of this breakup shattered my believe in myself. I struggle right now to love myself like I used too before. And I struggle to not love him or to not love what we had. So your post, just like so many others, came at the right time. Thanks for writing it!

    1. So glad the timing was on point! It sounds like you’ve got some good insight into where your current difficulties are coming from. That is a great start:)

  2. I can relate as well- my ex wife was my everything to me. I suffer from anxiety and depression but it was masked by surrounding myself in the comfort of having a family, kids, wife to go home to. They were my sanctuary when life stress became hard. now I feel such abandonment anxiety– she left me for a good friend. I feel so alone and anxious. I never imagined being 50 and looking towards a future without her and my kids surrounding me. I know I have to find my centre but how when she was my best friend for 25 years.

  3. I still find this relatable even though I’m no longer on the road to being divorced. I have said those words aloud myself, even recently. “I don’t want to go home.” The irony however is that more often than not I don’t feel like home is actually home. But I didn’t feel like my apartment during our separation was home either. And that was even with new stuff that was just for me, no ties to the past. So perhaps my insides are nomadic? My home just kind of varies depending on the day. Today it might actually be home and tomorrow it’s the car.

  4. Thanks for a great post. I’m not traditional as I’m the one that will leave not him. I’m not tied to the place yet I am tied since I am the one that chose the interiors when we developed it from nothing. I jokingly said to someone just the other week. It will be something quite spectacular to make me leave this place. Anyhow now to find something spectacular..

      1. That’s the hard bit 😊 I’ve been looking around. Depending on the settlement I might not be able to find something I really like. Might be just a one bedroom at the moment .

          1. I love bright colours . My house is full of colours. I love open spaces and lots of natural light

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