Break-ups and Divorce: COPING when there’s tears left to cry

Ariana Grande has suffered in the spotlight of late, with the recent death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller rumoured to have triggered her split from comedian Peter Davidson after a whirlwind engagement. It goes to show that no matter your fame, wealth or success, we’re all human – and relationships, and break-ups, can come at the cost of life’s inevitable hardships.

A 2016 Relate report recorded that 2.87 million people in the UK were in ‘distressed’ relationships, with almost 1 in 5 couples arguing regularly or considering separating. It’s often cited that along with bereavement, moving home, losing a job and being affected by a major illness, divorce and separation are regularly named as top causes of stress. And no wonder. The end of a long-term relationship can make you doubt your own identity and your ability to cope alone. It can also bring up feelings from past relationships, which may put a serious dent in your self-esteem.

Most experts agree that people going through a break-up typically experience feelings of overwhelming sadness or grief, not just when their relationship ends but for some time after too. Many also experience waves of other strong emotions such as anger, guilt, fear, worry and blame. Working on your resilience can help if you’re going through a divorce or separation. Being resilient helps you to turn negative life events into positive ones.

While nobody would ever suggest that going through a break-up is easy, there are some tips you can follow to try and ease the burden. The wellbeing experts at CABA offer their advice if you’re dealing with a break-up or divorce:

Seek divorce advice and information

Going through a separation or divorce can be particularly daunting if you’re in the dark about what’s going to happen. Get as much information about the process as you can. This will help you to feel more in control of the situation. A good place to start is Gov.uk/divorce.

Break-upsReconnect with family and friends

We all have people we tend to rely on when life gets tough. These are the people who, no matter what, are always there for us when we need support. If the trauma of recent events has made you feel isolated, try to reconnect with the friends and family who make you feel better about yourself.

When you feel the time is right, try getting out and about more, connecting with new people. It can sometimes be difficult meeting new people and making new friends when getting older. But it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone, try new experiences and meet new people.

Talking about your feelings can help you to cope with what you’re going through. But if you prefer to confide in people you don’t know, try those who are trained to listen, such as Samaritans and Relate or look for a nearby support group for people in a similar situation.

Be kind to yourself

Take some time to do something that’s purely for you. Think about what you enjoy such as a long walk, a soak in the bath, spending time on a hobby or other interest, reading a good book or watching your favourite film.

Try to devote some time to thinking positively about yourself. Try writing down something nice about yourself before going to bed each night for a week. Then during the following week, write down 1 thing you did well that day. Also, remember to eat as healthily as possible and get plenty of rest and sleep whenever you can. It’s important to ensure you’re not just physically but also mentally fit and healthy.

Seek out the positives

The saying ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ may not seem appropriate when you’re going through a difficult time – indeed, it may even sound offensive. But it really can help to try and find the positives among what may seem like an utterly negative situation.

These positives may not be obvious at first – or perhaps all the positives look like they apply to your ex-partner rather than yourself. But keep trying. Remember: if you choose to respond to your situation positively rather than negatively, it may help you to move on with your life sooner rather than later.

Get help for depression

Going through a divorce or separation is a grieving process. But sometimes this can lead to depression. It’s perfectly normal to feel depressed in such situations – at least for a while. But if you feel constantly low for more than 6 months and you experience other symptoms such as lack of energy and appetite, sleeping difficulties, lack of concentration or physical restlessness, it’s a good idea to speak to your GP.

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce or separation, it’s important to remember that emotional wellbeing is just one aspect to think about. Financial matters are often cited as significant factors that can lead to divorce. But what about the costs involved in getting divorced or separating? It’s often a good idea to get expert help from an independent financial adviser because making sure your finances are in order is an important step in ensuring your overall wellbeing.