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Relationship separation and divorce are among the toughest life experiences people can face, but there are ways to manage the loss and get life back on track. Separation brings with it the emotional rollercoaster that comes with all grief and loss. You may experience a vast range of emotions including frustration, powerlessness, anger, denial, confusion and even relief. Relationship separation and divorce are among the toughest life experiences people can face. Losing a relationship is a very painful experience, even if the relationship is not a good one. The loss experienced in a separation of any kind is rarely easy to deal with.

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Dealing with a relationship breakdown is one of the toughest experiences we can have. The tremendous feelings of devastation and loss are often worsened by hurtful behaviours that happened before, during, or after the relationship breakdown. Despite this pain, it can be very tempting to hold onto someone who does not want to hold onto us. The thing is, just because one feels love for the other, or is willing to work at the relationship, does not mean the relationship will survive. Ultimately, it takes the efforts of two people for a relationship to work.

Coping with relationship separation and divorce

The dilemma of holding on to such a relationship can be similar to falling off water-skis but holding onto the tow-rope. When you are being dragged under water, you have to let go to gain some relief. However, letting go of a love relationship does not tend to produce instant relief, but further pain at what has been lost.

Often people grieve for what was good in the relationship: Their lost hopes or plans for what could have been, their loss of their sense of family or easy access to their children, or perhaps the loss of someone who had been their best friend.

The pain is overwhelming and it is easy to understand why many consider suicide at such a time. While sometimes it may feel too hard, trust in this, rather than acting according to how you are feeling in the moment. Our feelings tend to change as we accept the reality of what we have lost, allow ourselves to grieve, access support, look for the lessons, and overcome the barriers to reinvesting in life. If we do not progress through these tasks, it can become easy to become stuck in our grief. It can seem easier to hold onto someone who does not want to hold onto us, and to continue being in love with someone who is moving on with their life.

Children and separation

This is surely a recipe for misery. Apart from accepting the relationship is over and allowing yourself to feel the pain, it is also important to have appropriate boundaries that help you to maintain a sense of control over your own life. To do so blurs the boundaries, and makes letting go or falling out of love all the more difficult. Though most people state they would like to preserve a friendship with their ex-partner, this is not achievable for all, at least at first. Even those who do preserve a friendship often have a period of first re-establishing themselves as individuals.

It also helps to move on by regularly reminding yourself that you need to let go of the other person, especially when you find yourself wanting to hold on. If your ex-partner is being hurtful, it can be beneficial to see this as something they are doing that makes it a little easier to let go.

Dealing with separation

Many couples continue their dispute after separation, arguing over explanations as to why their relationship broke down. When individuals are going in different directions, it is not so important to agree. As we look for the lessons, we tend to come up with our own individual explanations as to why the relationship ended. Although it is fairly common to primarily blame the other person, or heavily indulge in self-recrimination, the truth is usually somewhere in-between. Although physical separation may happen quickly, emotions may change slowly over months and years.

Most separated and divorced people gradually pass through these four basic stages of separation.

Mindbodygreen

In the beginning, you may be unable to face the reality of separation. Denying that the relationship is over, and avoiding processing this, protects us against feelings of loneliness, depression and rejection. You may become withdrawn and isolated, while some people go the other way and become highly active.

As you begin to be able to admit that the separation is permanent, anger often surfaces. Feelings of grief and fear are common. These emotions can drain you, making it difficult to think about the future. As time passes, you will begin to feel better, and become better able to focus on the future. You begin to adjust to changes in personal, social, and sexual relationships. You may take up new educational opportunities, embrace new friendships, start a new career, etc. Remember, the process is different for every individual. But gradually, a new life evolves.

This is always true!

Coping with separation and relationship breakdown brings people into situations that may be completely new to them. Some of the challenges you may face include the following.

Coping with relationship breakdown

Activities may seem meaningless or boring, and there may be too much work for one person. Keep in touch with friends and family. Share meals with others. Visit people often, and invite people over. Plan activities together. a support group. People in similar situations often connect online to get together and discuss problems and solutions.

Another option is to seek counselling to explore your thoughts and feelings, and brainstorm strategies and helpful behaviours. Higher education, evening classes, volunteer work, or ing groups or clubs. Stay involved! Being on your own often leaves less time for the children, just when they need more attention and affection. Adjustments in family life may be needed. Ask friends and neighbours to help with child care, or offer to trade child-care services with people close to you.

You may not be the only one who needs this!

Call on your family for assistance. Your ex-partner, grandparents, siblings, or cousins may be only too happy to practically support you in this way. Find day-care services in your community. You may be eligible for a sole parent rebate on taxation. If you need some help to figure out how parenting with your former partner works, take a look at our article on this topic: Parenting with your ex-partner. a support group or seek family counselling. These are not new issues, and you are not alone. There is support and advice out there. Household responsibilities can be a burden for one adult.

You may need to relax your standards and find alternatives to regular routines. Some household jobs may not be essential, and others may be done less often. Have the children help with household jobs, and care for their own rooms and possessions. Draw up a roster for other chores and try out a reward system. Invite a family member to share your home help with housework, provide companionship, and share costs.

We offer face to face counselling in both North and South Brisbane as well as via online counselling.

Coping with separation Apart from accepting the relationship is over and allowing yourself to feel the pain, it is also important to have appropriate boundaries that help you to maintain a sense of control over your own life. Moving on after relationship breakdown Give yourself plenty of time. One rule of thumb, albeit not appropriate for everyone, is to allow yourself at least one year at minimum, otherwise around one year for every decade of the relationship. Try positive visualization.

See yourself as recovered, and imagine in detail what that would look like and what you would be doing. If you had completely moved on, what would you be doing differently?

Coping with thoughts and feelings

Try engaging in those behaviours now, even though you may not feel like it. Prioritise self care. This is one of the most necessary strategies, for your health, resilience and mental wellbeing. Treat yourself as someone very important to you, and care for yourself as you would your most cherished dependent.

Focus on a healthy diet; daily exercise; enough sleep; good health care; and relaxing, enjoyable and personally meaningful activities. Plan your days so you have some activity to divert from any feelings of grief, sadness or anxiety related to the relationship breakdown. Make time for things you find engaging and fulfilling or, failing that, distracting! Do not use your ex-partner as a support person.

You have been used to supporting each other through your relationship, and it might seem natural to support each other through the break up and separation. However this is ill advised, as it makes it much harder to get the space you need to separate emotionally from each other. Instead, talk to your friends and family, or a counsellor or other support person, about your relationship breakdown.

Do express your feelings and get support.

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