When a relationship ends, the future can feel uncertain. Going through a divorce or separation – no matter how amicable – brings about huge changes. It’s natural to feel a whole host of conflicting emotions: relief, anger, confusion, hope, anxiety – perhaps sometimes all at once! It’s also completely normal to feel overwhelmed at times, or to feel as if the process will never end. But it will. And with the right approach, you can push through the difficult times and reach a point where you feel content, hopeful for the future, and back in control of your life.
So how do you move on? How do you get through the process of separation and out the other side with a positive outlook? Here are a few ways to help you reframe your perspective:
Avoid the blame game
When it comes to divorce, it’s very easy to focus on who’s at fault, who’s to blame, and what went wrong. Sometimes this becomes all-consuming – more important, even, than the logistics of separation – and the process descends into a series of endless disputes over every tiny little thing. Not only is this extremely unproductive (and expensive, when it comes to extending the duration of your divorce!), it also causes a huge amount of stress. Anger and blame create a vicious cycle. There’s no satisfaction or resolution in winning an argument based on spite because the anger doesn’t really go away, it just continues to fester.
Instead, focus less on who did what and whose fault it is, and more on how to move past it. We can’t change what has already happened and sometimes we have to accept that sometimes people can be hurtful and life can be unfair. But that doesn’t mean we need to wallow in self pity or point the finger at someone else. Take it as an opportunity to find a better way forward, be free of the negativity in the past, and wipe the slate clean.
Count the positives
Separation can cause huge upheavals in your life – living arrangements, changes to your routine and finances, not to mention the emotional impact – but not all of these are bad. Whenever you find yourself feeling down or overwhelmed, try to count the positives and reframe your situation to look at what you’re gaining: freedom from a stressful relationship; the chance for better self-esteem; the opportunity to focus on your own goals. Who knows what the future holds, but if you go forward with a positive outlook, you’re more likely to find a positive outcome.
Focus on the essentials
In the early days of separation, it can seem as if there are a million things to consider. Don’t try to do everything at once. Take things step by step, allow yourself to rest and pause if you need to, and tackle one thing at a time. It’s fine to let some things slide while you focus on the essentials. Turn down that invitation if you’re too exhausted to go out. Ask for an extension on a deadline if you need it. That pile of ironing can wait… Focus on the important things – prioritise your own well-being in particular – set small goals, and chip away at that mountain, little by little.
Seek (and accept!) help
Remember that you are not alone. Lean on your friends and family for support. Make use of your solicitor and get the professional guidance and advice you need. Keep talking, whether it’s to a trusted friend, your GP, or a counsellor. Allow yourself to grieve for the end of your relationship and give yourself a break. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You will have good days and bad days, and it will take time, but you will get there.
For more advice on separation, divorce, and the more collaborative out-of-court options available, get in touch with the family law solicitors at Frances Lindsay & Co. We offer free 45-minute consultations for family law issues and can help to take the weight off your shoulders as you decide what next steps to take.