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You ruined my life!

Separation is one of the most traumatic events in your life, particularly so for those who’s partner have decided to call it quits.

You may not have suspected your relationship is about to end. Squabbling and arguing may have become the norm for some time, but you thought that’s what all couples do after years being together. You may have thought you were just going through a rough patch, but you will both get through it as you always have before.

Otherwise, you may have thought your partner was detached, staying back at work longer than usual or going out with friends more. You may have hoped your relationship would get better but never thought it would come to an end.

Your mind starts racing, panic sets in. Where will we live? How will it impact the kids? How will I

support myself independently with rents being so high? We only have one car, how will I drive the kids to school? So many questions with no answers. This creates uncertainty which in turn creates anxiety.  The overwhelm makes you feel as though you are drowning in a sea of pounding waves crashing over you , over and over, until you cant breathe. How could this happen? How could my partner have ruined my life?

Once the blame is set solely on your partner, the conflict begins. You dig in your heels and say you won’t move, you won’t give them the car and you won’t let the kids live with them. “You left, so you lose!”. You just want your life to go back to normal. You want it to stay the same as it was. You keep trying to work out why this has happened, how could you have prevented it? There is nothing that could have prevented it. Your partner has gone through months or years feeling that the relationship is dying and finally accepted it is over. You may hope that if you resist the separation, maybe your partner will stay. It is quite often too late. Some may stay, but generally it just delays the inevitable.

You feel like shutting yourself away hoping it is just a bad dream that you will awake in the morning relieved it’s not real. Then you realise it is happening and you feel sick in the pit of your stomach. You may not feel like eating or you grab for comfort food to help soothe the pain for a moment.

There is so much of your life about to change you just don’t know what to focus on first. You feel like you are in a fog, disoriented, unable to make decisions and paralysed into inaction. It is as though time has frozen. You can't go back in time to fix it, nor go forwards to create a new life.

Don’t try to cope on your own, reach out for support and help. A Divorce Coach can help you prepare and plan. Set priorities, so you feel empowered to keep moving forward rather than a victim of chaos and uncertainty. All your challenges can be worked through and resolved enabling you to gain the support required and actions underway to shift you out of being stuck.

Your children need you to lead the way. Their sense of safety and security has been rocked too and need both parents to help them transition and adjust to their new lives.

It’s important not to vent to your ex, as this just increases conflict. Leverage a Divorce Coach or counsellor to help you through the grief to become solution focused instead of problem focused. You can obtain help in improving communication to enable a coparenting relationship to be built on mutual understanding that you are focusing on the kids together. Your own emotions need to be nurtured through support and self care. It is a parallel process; divorce business to get you to where you need to be and emotional healing to prepare you to rebuild your life.

You may feel like your life is ruined but over time you will have the capacity to create a better life than before. You may not see that now, but it is true, I know from my own experience. Don’t be a prisoner to your past life like I was, wasting years in resentment and depression. That’s why now I help others realise that Divorce is not the end, it is a new beginning.


Author – Cheryl Duffy, Divorce & Conflict Coach, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, NMAS Mediator & Parenting Coordinator

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