It’s the part of a love story few people talk about- when instead of a ‘happily ever after’, your romance ends in separation or divorce. And all too often, the newly single parent doesn’t know what to do next. North Shore Mum Rose Battista explains how she made it through her breakup and out the other side.
Last week would have been my eight-year wedding anniversary. Now it’s a bitter reminder of a failed relationship and a broken family. Yes, I recently joined that bleak statistic of being separated.
So a year has passed and the pain comes and goes. As a dear friend (who has also unfortunately been through this) commented, ‘it’s like you become bipolar’. I’ve had so many downs and some heavy sprinklings of ups. So, what have I learnt from this?
I can, and do still dwell on how bad my situation is, but it could really be worse. Life is unfair – the twenty-something girl in the office who has breast cancer or people who are living in extreme poverty. You get the picture. As dim as things look right now, people around you are battling the unfair hand that they’ve been dealt, through no fault of their own. Like everyone else, you can and will get through this.
How to Cope with Separation
Over the last year, I have figured out a few things that have helped me get through this difficult time:
- Find a solid go-to person who you can call anytime.
- Don’t be shy in asking for help – it will literally save you.
- It’s ok to tell someone, anyone, that you’re not coping.
- Don’t punish yourself about the past.
- Seek financial advice about your future.
- See a counsellor/psychologist/kinesiologist – whatever and whoever works for you. If money is tight you can get a doctor referral for free sessions. See next point.
- See your doctor (a good one). They can provide good advice and avenues available to you.
- Buy a nice notepad and each day write down three things you are thankful for. They can be minor – a cuddle from your kids, getting the laundry inside before it rained, etc.
- Be kind to yourself.
HOW TO HELP A SEPARATED FRIEND
If you have a friend who has recently separated from her partner, here are a few ideas about how to help them:
- Offer for an overnight stay at your place. This is the equivalent of a mini-retreat! It gives your friend a chance to socialise and a play date for the kids.
- Be on standby to go over and have a few drinks.
- Offer to go over and have a few drinks.
- Extend an invite to come over for dinner. Sometimes it is enjoyable having the house to yourself and sometimes it’s really not.
- Anything that says I love you, I want to help, I’m here for you and you’ll get through this. See next point.
- Communication – call, text, email, comment on posts or PM. It’s amazing how some people have a knack to get in touch at an opportune time.
So I hope my little titbit helps, and I’ll leave you with the mantra that often comes to my head through all of this, and that is the lines, ridiculously from a 90’s tune from Wilson Philips ‘Don’t you know things can change, things can go your way. Hold on for one more day.’
If you would like to give some advice or comment on the above, feel free to comment below. I’d love to know what helps you out.
If you’re recently separated and need to talk to someone, you can call the following helplines:
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636