Coping with separation or divorce
A couple contemplating divorce
Going through separation or divorce can be very difficult, no matter the reason. It can turn each partner’s world upside down and make it hard to concentrate at work and be productive.
But there are things one can do to get through this difficult situation.
Recognise that it is OK to have different feelings
It is normal to feel sad, angry, exhausted, frustrated and confused – and these feelings can be intense. Each partner may also feel anxious about the future. Accept that reactions like these will lessen over time. Even if the marriage was unhealthy, venturing into the unknown is frightening.
Give yourself a break
Both partners should give themselves the permission to feel and to function at a less than optimal level for a period of time. They may not be as productive on the job or care for others as before for a little while. Each partner needs to take time to heal, regroup and re-energise.
Do not go through it alone
Sharing your feelings with friends and family can help one get through this period. Consider joining a support group where members talk to each other in similar situations. Isolating oneself can raise the stress levels, reduce concentration, and get in the way of work, relationships and overall health. Do not be afraid to get outside help if you need it.
Take care of yourself emotionally and physically
Be good to yourself and to your body. Take time out to exercise, eat well and relax. Keep to your normal routines as much as possible. Try to avoid making major decisions or changes in your life plans. Do not use alcohol, drugs or cigarettes as a way to cope; they only lead to more problems.
Avoid power struggles and arguments with your spouse or former spouse
If a discussion begins to turn into a fight, calmly suggest that you both try talking again later and either walk away or hang up the phone.
Take time to explore your interests
Reconnect with things you enjoy doing apart from your spouse. Try doing things you had always wanted to do. Invest time in your hobbies, volunteer, and take time to enjoy life and make new friends.
Find new activities and friends, and move forward with reasonable expectations to make the transition easier. Be flexible. If you have children, family traditions will still be important but some of them may need to be adjusted. Help create new family activities.
Life will get back to normal
With time, each partner will adjust to the situation and life will get back to normal, although “normal” may be different from what they had originally hoped. — MHA