Moving on after divorce or separation

The end of a relationship is always a difficult time for all concerned. No matter who ended it, why or when, the future can look depressing or scary, but life does go on and many people go on to have happy and fulfilling lives after divorce or separation.

There are many things you’ll need to think about during this difficult time and sometimes it may feel overwhelming.  At the same time, you need to focus on yourself as an individual and decide what you need to do to help you let go of the past and look forward to the future

You will probably experience a rollercoaster of emotions; some days you may feel hopeful and even relieved if your relationship had been difficult for a while. On other days you may feel anxious, sad or angry.

First of all you need to understand what went wrong.  This is an important step towards recovery.  Many people understandably question whose fault it is, what they did wrong, what their partner did wrong.   Unfortunately, all this kind of questioning does is create a blame game which leads to more bitterness and heartache.  It is more helpful to look at what was lacking in the relationship and how it failed to meet your or your partner’s needs, rather than blaming yourselves as individuals.  The better the understanding of this, the easier it will be to let go of the past and move on.

You also need to focus on looking after yourself because the end of a relationship can damage self-esteem and self-confidence.  The following tips will help you to get through this difficult time and face the future with hope:

  • Keep talking – talking is the best way to prevent isolation and help maintain perspective. Sharing your feelings with someone you trust (friend, relative, colleague, neighbour) will help.
  • Allow yourself to ‘grieve’ – it is perfectly normal to feel shock when a relationship finally comes to an end and it can take time for it to sink in.  There will inevitably be good days and bad days – you need to give yourself time.
  • Let go of your anger.  Holding on to anger maintains an emotional connection between you and your ex and this will slow up your ability to move on. Make time to relax- read a book, go for a walk, have a long bath, go for a run or do some gardening – anything that will allow you to de-stress. Make sure you see friends and have some fun too.
  • Set small, achievable goals for yourself – it will boost your confidence and help you to see how well you’re moving on.
  • Look after your health – take regular exercise and maintain a healthy diet; comfort eating will make you feel more depressed in the long run.
  • Plan ahead for the future – write down a list of the things you want to do when you get through this. When you’re having a bad day, you can use it to remind yourself that you still have a future ahead of you.

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