Separation and divorce can take a significant toll on the whole family, not just the couple in question, and it takes a lot of effort to minimize the emotional distress. The first stage is usually the physical separation which involves one or both people moving out of the shared home. This is obviously more complex if children are involved as they will need a lot of support during this time.
Next is the emotional separation, which can be challenging to navigate. Negative emotions can appear without warning and be overwhelming, and it’s common for each partner to appear to intensely dislike one another despite being emotionally involved. The final stage is to separate psychologically; for example, to see yourself as an individual once more and to move on with your life.
It’s a difficult time for all involved, and it’s likely that in the early days you will go through a rollercoaster of emotions. This guide outlines some of the possible issues people can face after separation and how they can navigate their way through the turmoil.
Manage your anger
It’s natural to feel anger or resentment either towards your ex-partner or towards yourself, but it’s important that you don’t allow these feelings to dominate. This is particularly relevant if abuse, deception and/or infidelity have played a part in the decision to separate. Find out more about managing anger after separation online.
Be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression
Depression does not appear overnight, and often the symptoms become more and more severe with time. Stay alert to signs and symptoms of depression so you can seek medical advice sooner rather than later.
Ask for help if you need it
This may be one of the most traumatic and challenging periods in your life and that of your children, so don’t be hesitant or feel shame about asking for help when you need it. This might range from asking a family member or friend to help out with childcare or to be a shoulder to cry on, or you might want to speak to a mental health professional who can help you process what you’re feeling. Depending on your circumstances, you may also want to contact a family law specialist who can advise you on the next steps should you or your partner be seeking a divorce or you need to finalize arrangements for children.
Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms
In addition to eating well, exercising and getting sleep, it’s best to avoid turning to drugs or alcohol in order to cope. Some people may believe that alcohol may help them to sleep or that drugs may improve their mood, but neither is a healthy solution and often makes the situation worse. If you catch yourself overeating in an effort to comfort yourself, be aware that this cannot carry on long term without having an impact on your health. Of course, if you are caring for children, this point becomes even more important as you need to be able to care for them and to set a healthy example whenever possible.