How to handle separation

Going through a divorce or a break up can be one of the toughest things you'll ever have to do. We've asked some experts to give us their tips to help you through this time.

We'd like to think that we've grown up a bit when it comes to love and relationships. Being single is no longer shameful, and the term "old maid" is just about obsolete.

In our brave new world where divorce is an every day occurrence and relationships are often terminated via sms, we tend to scoff cheerfully at romantic notions like "ever after". Nobody dies of a broken heart anymore. Or so we'd like to believe.

And yet…
Sarah can still remember how absolutely devastated she was when it actually happened to her.

"Break ups, like violent crime, seems to be something we're all too aware of, but secretly think will never happen to us. I never thought I would be the one to get divorced. I'd been thinking of splitting up for months, but when the actual separation happened I felt totally lost."

So how do you go about a break up between two people with intertwined lives, kids and bank accounts? Where do you start?

We've looked at some of the practical steps to take concerning the legal stuff and the emotional stuff when push finally comes to shove.

Psychological intern Catherine Radloff gives a bit of advice on building your new life. She says:

  • You will miss the rituals, not just the person. Create new family and friendship rituals to ease the transition. Why not make every Wednesday a pizza and board games night? Or decide that the family will have ice cream for breakfast on Saturday mornings?

  • Accept that someone has the right to leave you. Do not see love as a hostile take-over. Just because you love someone does not mean you own them. The only thing you can control is your own behaviour and responses.

  • Write down all the positive things about your new life and read them every morning.

  • Remember, divorce is sometimes the best option.

  • Have a varied support network. Don't always phone the same friend.

  • Don't jump straight into the dating game to soothe a bruised ego. Rebound relationships are dangerous for all concerned.

    Have you gone through a divorce or break up? What are your thoughts? Do you have any tips or advice for our readers? Share your story with us in the comment box below.

    - Women24

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