Coping with the End of a Relationship

A relationship ending can mean a huge sense of loss, shock and disbelief, and result in anger, fear and stress. There are many practical issues to be sorted out which can seem overwhelming, particularly in a difficult break-up without both persons cooperating. These practical issues need attention and the sooner separating parents begin resolving them, the sooner the family can settle into new routines and arrangements.

5 Ways to Cope with the End of a Relationship

  1. Talk to your children about what is happening in the family, once the decision to separate is final. Mums and dads might like to think children are not aware of difficulties between them but they often notice more than you think and it is important to let them know that the separation is not their fault. It is an emotional and uncertain time for all of you. If you can talk to them together it can help your children to understand that you are both available to them at this time, despite what is happening. Share future plans and arrangements with them, if possible.
  2. Set aside the issues of your adult relationship when it comes to the relationship that your children have with their other parent – try to remain courteous towards them or if this is too difficult, be neutral as your children love both of you.
  3. Find someone you trust to talk to. Get support from a trusted friend or professional – family members can also be supportive in many ways although sometimes may be less impartial, especially when there may be conflict between the couple.  It is important that you have a space to talk about how you are feeling.
  4. Consider mediation. This can be a way of negotiating and working out a plan for the future, on everything from money to sharing parenting.  See www.legalaidboard.ie for details of the free Family Mediation Service in many locations around the country.
  5. Get legal advice. You do not need to do anything with it but it may help in your decision-making to know where you stand legally and what options may be there, if needed. See FLAC (Free Legal Aid Advice Centres) on www.flac.ie for details of the legal advice centre nearest you.

There is no denying that this is a particularly difficult time but trying to remain optimistic and acknowledging your feelings will help. One Family’s national lo-call askonefamily helpline is available on 1890 662 212 and by email at support@onefamily.ie.

Further information is also available in the askonefamily section of this site.