Helpful Tips for going through Separation or Divorce
The difficulty in giving ‘tips’ is that we are all different, we all have a different story, and are inevitably at different stages of both our separation / divorce, and our recovery. Some of you reading this will no doubt be in a very vulnerable place. We recognise that. Many of us have been in that place, but have come through it.
Here are some things we believe are worth considering. Each has been found to have helped people who are going through this experience. We hope that some may help you, wherever you are in your own journey.
- It’s never fair and you’ll never get even (let alone get what you want)
- When it’s over, it’s over. Try to accept it. Refuse to live in the past because there’s no future in it
- It’s normal to feel many different things, g. sad / angry / confused / hurt / guilty / desperate / a sense of grief, or relief
- Whilst we may not be able to choose how we feel, we can choose not to live in a place of constantly feeling sorry for ourselves. Others we want around us may eventually become weary of that
- Whilst we may not be able to change certain things that are happening around us, we can change ourselves and seek to be proactive in coming to terms with the situation. This might involve our finding professional help, i.e. a counsellor, solicitor, or mediation
- There are no prizes for pretending you are ok or for telling others you can cope when the reality might be that you can’t. Try to share and talk about what you’re feeling with someone you trust. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Do this early!
- Whether you made the decision to separate or not, this is an opportunity to understand yourself better. Consider ways you can look after yourself. Ensure you build in time for you. Do something that you enjoy doing for a while
- Seek to make a clean break from your ex. When it’s destructive you may want to limit contact. Try to aim for an emotional neutrality towards them
- If you do have children they do not need to know all the graphics of what went wrong, but it might be best to try to be honest with them, especially if they ask you direct questions. Obviously it’s important to respond in a way that is age appropriate. Remember there is usually your truth, their truth, and the truth!
- Don’t allow yourself to criticise your ex in front of your children. Always seek to speak in a respectful way, despite what you might be feeling inside. Your kids will respect you for this …
- How you choose to face the future really is your choice. It’s important for you to take responsibility for what happens in the future. Your happiness in the future is not down to anybody else
- Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Although this can be very hard to hear, the reality is that unforgiveness, or a deep rooted bitterness, can leave you open to being controlled by both your anger and your pain. This is only ever unhealthy, for you and for those around you. Forgiveness can so often be the key towards acceptance and healing. Then we can be more able to live again.
- Try not to rush into a new relationship, however attractive that might look. Unless we give ourselves time to work through the issues in our relationship breakdown we are likely to take those unresolved issues into any future relationship
- It may be better to spend some time as a single person before considering new relationships, as it gives you a chance to reflect, heal and grow. You are likely to be vulnerable when it first happens and not in the best place
- The future can be bright. Take one day at a time. There is no automatic switch or timescale in relation to your recovery, but you can live again. You can be happy again. The best might yet be still to come. Hold onto this, believe it, work for it, and do all you can to stay positive with what you do have and what you can do
- It can help to take a moment to put all the negative or stressful things in your life to one side, take some paper, and write a list of all the good things in your life. Consider the good things you have. It’s easy to lose perspective