Welcome to this third part in the blog series looking at trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel following a separation. We hope to highlight some positives that you may not have thought of to keep you going in the more difficult moments. It can also be a part of the healing process to start to open up to the possibility that there can be some positives to your separation. These might start really small (so small you might miss them!) but they can then grow. If you feel like you have started to see some positives then you may find our blog series on personal growth in a separation helpful.
If you haven’t already seen this blog series then the first blog was the introduction and talking about why positives are important, and especially right now during the pandemic. The second blog talked about how there can be an improved relationship with your children following a separation. Again these changes might be more in the longer term, rather than the short term, but keeping an eye on changes in the short term can help to shine a light on what things might be like at the end of the tunnel.
In terms of your relationship you may already see this. If you made the decision to separate, or it was a mutual decision, then you have likely embraced the fact that your life will be better without being in a relationship with your ex partner. Whatever the reason for that you must have felt strongly enough about it to make the decision to separate. If the decision was effectively handed to you then it can be harder to see the positives. If you felt that there were difficulties in the relationship then you might like to contemplate what not having those difficulties, or arguments, might feel like to you. If you felt that there weren’t any difficulties and that you were happy with your partner then it is often much harder to see any positives for your future and it can take quite some time for you to feel like there might be light in your future. This is OK but if you feel you are struggling emotionally – and especially with anxiety or depression – then it’s a good idea to get some support. A conversation with your GP can be a good port of call.
To help you here are some positives that we have heard over the years from clients, friends and family going through a separation:
- There was a hobby I always wanted to take up that I didn’t have time for but now I will be able to and I’m looking forward to that.
- I had a desire to pursue a promotion or a career change but it didn’t fit in with our family life but now I can pursue this and the extra income will help me as a single person. I’m looking forward to being more financially independent.
- Our arguments left me feeling drained and I’m looking forward to a more peaceful life without the daily arguments, sulking and mean comments. It will be much better to not feel I’m walking on eggshells the whole time.
- My ex partner wasn’t always nice to me and my confidence was really affected. I can see that since we have separated my confidence levels have risen a little and I am looking forward to where greater confidence might take me.
- I often felt conflicted between my partner’s needs and my children’s needs and my own needs. Without having to worry about my partner’s needs I’m looking forward to focusing on my children’s needs when they’re with me, and my own needs when my children are with my ex partner.
- My partner and I are very different people and being together meant both of us had to make compromises to find a way forward together. I’m looking forward to being more “me” again.
These may not be your positives. You may be able to see that some of them might be positives to you in the immediate or longer term future. Or you may feel there are other positives for you. It can help to write them down and go back to them when you feel you’re having a dark moment. Being able to see what might be in the future can get you through the challenges. As you see new positives – however small – write them down so you can watch them grow into bigger positives, or hold onto them during moments where you feel challenged.
If you would like help in managing your separation in the most constructive and peaceful way possible then you can download our free video with guidance on how to improve your communication to move forward. It explains why communication is often challenging in a separation, and gives you guidance on how to improve this.
We also run a free Facebook group where those going through a separation can talk to others in the same situation (people are at varying stages in the separation so can share experiences at all stages) and where professionals come in and talk to you about issues you’re facing and how to deal with them. It’s called Soulful Separation Support.