I actually put all this together after reading Lani's post Building a Better Bond. I will quote heavily from her piece and also get brazenly personal.
For the last 8 months my custody schedule with my daughter has been almost 50/50. I hate it. She doesn't love it either, but I am not in control of her destiny right now, someone higher is and He (God) is parenting and protecting her. But anyway--here's the story. When she is home, we are lovey dovey with each other and cuddle a lot and laugh and I am basically flooded with oxytocin. This is the feel good hormone that studies have shown lab animals prefer over crack, cocaine, or heroin. Then when my daughter has to go away for two days or five days, depending on the week, all those feel good hormones bottom out. And without a lover or other source of oxytocin, by day two, I become like a crack addict in withdrawals. It can be physically and mentally painful, and I start looking around for a fix--and not always in the right places. This is when Satan tries to really mess with my mind. I was at my wits end when Busca's post turned up in my email inbox.
..God showed me that I needed to be loving others (particularly my own little family) better. And that means loving them not just in word, but in deed. And that means more praise and gratitude, more random acts of kindness, more hugs, more kisses, more cuddling, more massages. I was reminded that when I live a lifestyle full of love, affection, and service for those around me, I further enhance my capacity to love more deeply, until eventually I am able to feel and give “perfect” love....Busca received inspiration about how to build a better bond with her newborn baby by increasing her oxytocin levels at the end of her pregnancy. But it was instructive to me, because I realized that this could help me with my problem too. I realized that instead of working through the days she is away, I have to be more balanced and serve others and teach classes and go on dates.
....it makes complete sense. A person living a lifestyle of loving action is a person flooding him/herself constantly with oxytocin.
And incidentally, this helps me re-bond with her when she comes back, because the first day back is usually a difficult transition out of work mode for me.
I know each situation is different and maybe for some moms, who have their kids 24/7 and are touch saturated, the break from sex is great. But they still feel a loneliness. In this case, a phone call to a good girlfriend may be just the right dopamine fix.
If you are not in this situation, be mindful of those who are. Evenings are usually the worst. Also Sundays. If you can, invite them over on Sundays or stop by and visit or call in the evening.
After years of suffering through lonely Sundays, I have finally found the perfect situation. Another single mom friend and I go to Love Feast. Love Feast is sponsored by the Hari Krishnas in our area and ever Sunday night they offer free vegetarian cuisine to anyone in the community who wants to come. It's delicious. It's free. It's holy. And it's served with love. This means I don't have to cook on Sunday night. I can just enjoy being with Phoebe and teach her in word and deed how we mingle and interact with other religious communities. Phoebe loves all the colorful people there. I'd say it is about half Krishna devotees (who often wear beautiful colored saris), a few homeless people, and other people from the community who are just curious or just love vegetarian food or free food. I usually see one of my neighbors or friends there and a few Mormons.
If you are not lucky enough to have a Love Feast where you are, start one. Get someone else to do it if you are too overwhelmed. There is always someone who loves to be a host or hostess. Keep it simple, healthy, and make it about community and love. That's the main thing. And it will keep those ocytocin and happiness levels up.