SEPARATION AND DIVORCE
most people, it's a shock when a relationship breaks down. Even
if you've known for some time that things aren't working out,
the final decision to part will stay with you for a long time.
once it's over, it can take months for reality to sink in. During
this time it's common to find yourself fantasising about reunion
and reconciliation - or recriminations.
What went wrong?
Understanding why your relationship failed is the first step
towards recovery. Many people get locked into questioning: Whose
fault it is? What did I do wrong? How could they do that to me?
This is understandable, but a more constructive approach is to
focus on the relationship, rather than individual responsibility.
It can be more helpful to think about these kind of questions:
* How were things when we first met?
* What attracted us to each other?
* What made our relationship good?
* How have we changed?
* What external factors have influenced our relationship?
* What has stopped us overcoming our differences?
the answers may be upsetting, the greater the understanding, the
easier it'll be to let go and move on. During this time you'll
experience many emotions, including anger, sadness, guilt, despair
and confusion; you can expect good days and bad days.
Holding it together
On top of the emotional turmoil that accompanies the end of a
relationship, there's a host of practical issues to address. These
children - providing support and time, access arrangements,
childcare, telling the school, seeing in-laws, birthday and Christmas
This is undoubtedly one of the toughest times to be a parent,
but your children need to know what's happening. You may think
that hiding the severity of the situation protects them, but it
actually leaves children feeling confused and may drive them away
as they feel they can't trust you.
amount of information you give them will depend on their ages,
but they should be encouraged to ask as many questions as they
need. Remember, you don't have to hide your feelings to reassure
them that they're loved. In fact, sharing appropriately what you
feel will help them make sense of their own emotions and feel
OK about showing them.
increasingly shows the negative impact on children of separation,
but the way it's handled is the key indicator of how well children
and property - who lives where, surviving on less income,
managing the finances, who gets what in the home, pets.
and family - telling parents/siblings/extended family members/friends,
deciding how much to say and who should tell whom, maintaining
friendships and relationships with in-laws.
survival - which friends can support you practically and/or
emotionally, how you'll create space to grieve, whether you might
benefit from counselling, building relaxation into your schedule,
treats can you reward yourself with when times are tough.
last section is often the most neglected. After a relationship
breakdown, many people find themselves struggling with feelings
of low self-esteem and self-confidence, and with so many things
to organise it can be easy to forget to give yourself time for
your own feelings. Be gentle with yourself and gratefully receive
all the support you can get from friends and family.