Divorce and separation
In 2012, the office for national statistics estimated that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce, that’s 13 divorces every hour. This totals 118, 140 divorces, when compared with 30,870 in 1950.
In today’s society, it is not surprising that divorce/separation is often seen as “expected” and “one of those things” and those experiencing it are expected to “just get on with it”.
It can be argued that divorce/separation is as hard if not harder to deal with than the death of a loved one. At the end of the day, they are both a loss, except in death, there is somewhat an end point; it is final, and we are showered with sympathy cards and flowers, to show we are in others’ thoughts.
There appears to be, however, a stigma attached to divorce and separation and we often feel judged, angry, embarrassed, like a failure, regretful and have a tendency to blame ourselves. This might be because of other people’s assumptions…
“I wonder what happened?” “Do you think there was someone else?”.
The truth is, divorce and separation not only affects the emotions of the individual, it shakes up relationships with friends, family, finances, future relationships and depending on the reason for divorce/separation, often they are left to move on, whilst the other continues to live how they want to live. The individual may feel scared, confused, guilty, isolated and start to rewrite the past; questioning whether everything ever said or done in the relationship was a lie.
Everyone deals with divorce/separation differently but there are things we can all do, whether you are going through it or know someone who is:
How to help yourself:
- Accept the change that has happened
- Accept your feelings
- Know that these feeling are only temporary and will get easier
- See a new beginning rather than the end
- Look for ways of finding lasting happiness; a new hobby or helping others
- Don’t put limits on your dreams and aspirations
- Think positively
- Think about what you have learned from the relationship
How to help others:
- Don’t assume their primary emotion is anger
- Don’t insult the other party
- Don’t question the reason/validity of the divorce/separation
- Do persist in getting them involved
- Allow them to feel/express unpleasant emotions
- Do listen
If we care enough, we can create an environment of warmth and support for those who need it.