Emotional Implications for Women
Separating from your partner is inevitably going to be a painful process. You are also starting a new chapter in your life and will at some point, feel relief about cutting the ties. But even if you are the one who decides to separate, you are unlikely to escape the hurt that comes with separation.
Deciding to SeparateYou and your partner may be unable to stop fighting, or there may be abuse. You might feel that the love has simply dissipated and you are just going through the motions of a partnership. Your indifference and detachment may be hurting each other, or damaging your children. Communication may feel impossible. There might also be a crisis in your life that is pushing you towards divorce.
Talking About itIf possible, sit down and talk through the issues with your partner. Make it clear in your mind what the reasons are and try to communicate these clearly. You and your spouse should both make enough time so you can talk and listen to each other without interruption. Be honest. If you feel there is still a chance you could get back together in the future, say so. If not, tell them so.
Staying BalancedYou might want to talk to friends and family, or see a therapist or counsellor together, before deciding to actually separate. Unless you are in an abusive relationship which must be ended immediately, you owe it to yourself, your partner and your children (if you have any) to give the separation time and care. The divorce process usually takes months to complete, so setting a precedent of open and honest discussion could make all the difference later on.
The Emotional ProcessMost people who separate after a long period in a relationship initially experience shock. Make use of friends and family during these times, or see a therapist. Talking and thinking through your history and the changes in your life will help you come to terms with your situation.
You will also probably feel a combination of anger, pain and hatred around your relationship and towards your ex-partner. All of these emotions are valid and should be felt and expressed. There will be guilt, the inevitable feelings of loss, and rage that may be directed at your partner or yourself. Love can easily turn to hate. Take the time to come to terms with your feelings. Find a safe environment where you can express and integrate them.
Ultimately, you are in a grieving process from which you will eventually heal. It may take months or years to get to a point where you feel clear about it. New situations may bring up old feelings again or you may even find yourself repeating old patterns. Remember that the separation process has a powerful effect. Do not underestimate your sensitivity to it.
If You Have ChildrenThere are a few important things to remember when talking to your children about your separation. Firstly, be honest, and do not underestimate their ability to understand what is happening to them. If your child is old enough, explain the reasons for your divorce. Try to talk about the positives in your relationship as well as the negatives.
Remember that your separation from your partner will have a profound effect on your child’s life, so the more you talk openly while it is happening, the better for your child. Answer any questions they have and encourage them to talk about their feelings. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you have to appear impervious.
If possible, try to present a united front with your partner to your children. This will make them feel safer. Take time to discuss with your partner how you are going to talk to your children, and try to keep communication open during the process of separation. You will also find it very helpful to continually express your love for your children throughout the process.