Dos/don’ts of separation - Modern Divorce

Dos/don’ts of separation

How to cope with separation and divorce

In an effort for self-preservation it is crucial to identify your sources of stress, coping style and support system.  The adjustment period for separation differs depending upon the individual. 

This is an emotional process and everyone moves through this adjustment at differing paces. However, with the exception of compounding stressors such as job loss, death, or illness it can take two to three years to adapt to changes resulting from separation. Choose your confidants carefully, as the people who are closest to you may not necessarily offer the best advice and be emotionally reactive in their responses to separation, in turn escalating the conflict.  This can be challenging and also upsetting.

Top tips from our Child & Family Specialist

  • Take care of yourself emotionally and physically
  • Recognise that it’s okay to have different feelings
  • Accept that the relationship is over.  This is a non-linear process of moving between denial, anger, bargaining, situational depression and acceptance.
  • Avoid blaming
  • Give yourself a break
  • Do go through it alone. Cautiously choose with whom you confide.
  • Avoid power struggles and arguments
  • Take time to explore your interests
  • Think positively
  • Keep moving forward

Areas of change that can exacerbate stress

Change, whether good or bad, is stressful.  The anxiety, or sometimes even angst associated with separating cannot effectively be explained, it can only be experienced.

What makes separation toxic is conflict. Conflict is inevitable, however the amount one allows is to permeate their lives, the lives of their children, and interactions with an ex-partner can be controlled with a clear vision and acknowledgement of the transformation that is before you.

Top tips from our Child & Family Specialist

  • Acknowledge to self when you feel stress
  • Take time to recognise where you feel the stress in your body.  Once you locate it make a conscious decision of putting in place a strategy to deal with it.
  • Let a friend of family member know what it is you are feeling and help them understand what the support is you need, and how you want it to look.
  • Identity questions:  Who am I?  What do I want to do with my life?
  • Take control of your environment
  • Provide a sense of stability for self
  • Speak with your GP about a mental health plan if your anxiety is feeling unmanageable.

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