At the moment of relationship breakdown emotions are raw. Whether you are shocked, angry, upset or simply relieved it's all over, you can expect to be on an emotional see-saw as you sort out which path to take to the future.
This is entirely natural as you grieve for 'the relationship that might have been'. The one that used to hold your hopes and dreams - and no longer exists. This can be a time when tears come very easily, when tempers suddenly flare out of control, when your fears seem to have the upper hand. Equally it can be a time of extra energy as you are released from the constraints of an unhealthy relationship. It is not uncommon to yo-yo between highs and lows as you try to work out the best way forward.
Support from friends and family
With luck you will have support from family and friends, who will help you get through this difficult time. In the beginning they are most likely just to listen to your story. That's great! They will just want to help and look forward to seeing you happy again. Those who understand the nature of relationships will also avoid taking sides or making judgements about where the blame lies.
Unfortunately, after a time, people tend to see you as stuck in your grief and offer advice on what you SHOULD do next in order to move on. This can be tricky because if you are not yet ready to move on, there is a real danger you will be tempted down a path that isn't right for you.
Give yourself time
If there is one piece of advice we would give to all couples before they make a big decision, it is 'give yourself time'. The trouble is it can be very difficult living with uncertainty. For most people it is an unnatural state: at a very basic level it feels unsafe because we cannot predict what will happen next and we feel out of control.
Here are some things you can do to help manage this time of uncertainty:
on living in the moment
Each moment has the chance to be a sad, happy, angry or other moment. Enjoy each moment for what it is, knowing you have the opportunity for a new experience in the next moment. To help with this, find lots of ways to distract yourself, so you create enough happy moments. At the same time, welcome the sad moments because you will learn from them and they often release the negative thoughts you have been hanging onto. Even the angry moments can help as they will spur you on to taking action when you are ready.
This is a time to research information about all the different ways forward. Just finding out does not commit you to a particular path. It may even give you reasons why you would rather take a different route.
areas of your life where you can introduce certainty
Do an inventory of the different areas of your life and decide where you can introduce new routines or keep old ones going which you know you will want to keep in the future. Perhaps now is a good time to introduce a new exercise regime. It may well be good to keep on seeing your friends for the same evening out every week.
for the positives
There are usually two ways of looking at something. Just think how our traditional sayings reflect this: Every cloud has a silver lining and There are two sides to every coin.
If you can, look for the positive aspect of what is happening for you. You might not believe it to begin with but you can practise thinking it might be true, if not now, then later.
Ask for help
- If you have reached a point where you are not ready to make a choice about the future.
- If you are finding it difficult to live with the uncertainty of your current situation.
- If you'd like support without any judgement about what you have done or what you should do,