This set of blogs is a return to the 4 part blog series to look at issues in more dept and to break issues down into manageable chunks for those feeling overwhelmed by issues relating to their separation.
You can look at the first part of the blog talking about practical arrangements for preparing for mediation. In this blog we will look at the emotional aspects of preparing for mediation. How emotionally ready do you feel for mediation? Do you feel able to start talking about your future yet? Have a look at these tips and think about how you feel. There is often no right or wrong answers to these issues, there is only understanding how YOU feel.
Where are you in the emotional healing process?
If you have followed this blog for any length of time then you will know that the healing or recovery process following a separation is key. This blog post talks about it in more depth. The question to ask yourself is where are you at in that process? Are you still in shock? Do you feel angry? Do you feel you could be depressed? Or do you feel that you are now moving into acceptance of the ending of your relationship?
Spend a little time considering this. Then spend a little time considering where your ex-partner may be.
This will tell you whether you are both ready to start tackling issues that arise out of your separation. It’s hard to tackle those issues where you are both at different places in your recovery. It’s also hard to talk about things if either or both of you is angry, confused or depressed.
This is a crucial part of this thought process. Do you yet feel able to make decisions about your future? Do you have any kind of vision of what you want your post separation life to look like? Do you feel able to talk about and shape your future? If you find yourself saying or thinking any of the following then you might not be ready:
- I have no idea what my post separation life will look like and I don’t want to think about it. I just know it will be awful.
- I’m not thinking about any of this. If they want a solution they can think of it.
- I can’t see past today or the end of this week.
Not the right time?
If you don’t feel emotionally equipped to start having conversations about what happens next then perhaps it’s better to look at those conversations in a few weeks or months when you feel more able to do so. Sometimes it can be useful to give yourselves a bit of breathing space by making interim arrangements (who pays what bills for the next 3 months? 6 months? Where will we each live during this time even if it’s a temporary place) and postponing the conversation about long term arrangements.
Use this space to grieve the loss of your relationship and to come to terms with losing the life you thought you were going to have. A few months may not be enough time but you may feel more able to make decisions after this time. If you don’t then it may be helpful to think about extra support such as therapy to assist you at this difficult time. Divorce and separation are the second more stressful life event that people can go through and so there is no shame in needing a little extra help at this time. If at the end of that time you need a little more time then have that conversation towards the end of the time period. It can be hard reconciling one person’s need for time with the other person’s need to move forward but this can be done with understanding and constructive discussion.
Break things down
If you still feel quite fragile then it can help to break issues down and just tackle one piece at a time. Family mediation can be a great place to sit together with professional guidance, and break down the issues you have and turn them into manageable chunks. Having a clear timetable can help the person wanting to move forward and having these divided into smaller chunks, rather than one huge overwhelming big problem, can be helpful for the person feeling that everything is a bit daunting right now.
Next week we’ll be talking about organising yourself to get the best out of family mediation.
If you’d like more information about mediation then please contact us. You can also sign up to our free mailing list, or access our free community of support via the closed Soulful Separation support Facebook group.