The decision to separate is never an easy one. Whether the decision was yours or your partner's, you're still likely to experience a rollercoaster of emotions.
Even when a separation has been expected, it's common to feel a sense of shock and numbness as you begin to work through the practicalities that the decision involves. You might also feel anxious about the future and overwhelmed by the number of decisions that you need to make. If you had not wanted the marriage or civil partnership to end, you may be feeling powerless and angry about what's happening as well as experiencing sadness and loss.
On top of the turmoil of emotion that accompanies the ending of any relationship, there is a whole host of practical issues to address and important decisions to make about your future. Unfortunately, with all the emotion that accompanies a separation or divorce it can easily feel overwhelming. You might also find it helpful to write down all the things you've got to deal with. Going through a separation or divorce can be very difficult, no matter the reason for it.
It can turn your world upside down and make it hard to get through the work day and stay productive. But there are things you can do to get through this difficult phase.
1. Give yourself a break:- Give yourself permission to feel and to function at a less than optimal level for a period of time. You may not be able to be quite as productive on the job or care for others in exactly the way you're accustomed to for a little while. No one is superman or superwoman; take time to heal, regroup and reenergise.
2. Don't go through this alone:- Sharing your feelings with friends and family can help you get through this period. Consider joining a support group where you can talk to others going through similar situations. Isolating yourself can raise your stress levels, reduce your concentration, and get in the way of your work, relationships and overall health. Don't be afraid to get outside help if you need it.
3. Take care of yourself emotionally and physically:- Be good to yourself and to your body. Take out time to exercise, eat well and relax. Keep to your normal routines as much as possible. Try to avoid making major decisions or changes in life plans. Don't use alcohol, drugs or cigarettes as a way to cope; they only lead to more problems.
4. 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.
5. Take time to explore your interests :- Reconnect with things you enjoy doing apart from your spouse. Have you always wanted to take up painting or play on an intramural softball team? Sign up for a class, invest time in your hobbies, volunteer, and take time to enjoy life and make new friends.
6. Think positively :- Easier said than done, right? Things may not be the same, but finding new activities and friends, and moving forward with reasonable expectations will make this 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.