When it comes to separation, there are almost no circumstances in which it is an easy experience. The end of a relationship which you always imagined would last forever is likely to be one of the most traumatic times in your life, but it is not the end of the world. Your emotions are likely to be on a rollercoaster for some time and it’s perfectly natural to feel anxious, angry, sad and confused. You should not expect to carry on with your normal life as if nothing has happened. Accept that you may be less productive at work and more emotionally vulnerable for some time. There’s no weakness in this – you need to give yourself time and space to heal.
Lean on your support network
You do not need to go through this difficult time by yourself. Reach out to your friends and family as often as you need to. Talk about your emotions and your worries. Isolating yourself will worsen your stress and magnify problems which may start to impact your ability to function. Many people seek the support of a mental health professional to help them work through their emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
Remember to take care of your physical health
Your physical health is very easy to neglect when suffering emotional trauma but it’s essential that you prioritise self-care. This includes eating a nutritional diet, getting enough sleep, drinking water and exercising regularly. Stick to your normal routine as much as you can and avoid unhealthy coping strategies such as alcohol or drug abuse.
Avoid arguments with your spouse
It’s not always easy, but try to avoid arguing with your spouse when you’re both in a very vulnerable and confused state of mind. If communication has broken down and you are not yet ready to discuss divorce, it’s worth contacting a solicitor to draw up a legal separation agreement. They will ensure you reach a structured arrangement regarding children, finances or property.
Focus on the positives
While it may seem a flippant statement, you should try to focus on the positive aspects of your life by exploring new hobbies, meeting new friends and organising social occasions. Consider taking up a craft, an exercise class, volunteering with a charity or joining a club. Your future may not be the same as your past, but that does not mean that it will not be bright.
What to do if you have children
Separating when children are involved makes the situation significantly more complex. While it is bound to be a shock to them, it is possible to minimise the emotional distress they suffer during the transition. Make sure that the children understand that your decision to separate is not their fault and that it does not affect how much you or your partner love them.
Try to maintain routines as much as possible and be consistent in your discipline.
Showing your children that they can still rely on you for love and support no matter what will be crucial in helping them process what is happening. Listen to them when they confide in you but do not involve them in the conflict, force them to choose a side or place them as go-betweens.