Most of us still believe in Romance. Finding someone we can share our lives with, and living ‘Happily Ever After’. Sadly, for a lot of couples, it doesn’t turn out that way. But the important thing to remember is that when a marriage or a long-term relationship ends, it can actually be a positive outcome for everyone involved.
Let’s face it, not many couples walk down the aisle, smiling at their friends and family, saying their carefully worded vows, thinking secretly, that their marriage will end.
In fact, with the people getting married later in life, and the social acceptability of living together beforehand, most people tend to believe they’re in a good place to beat the ever-increasing divorce odds.
And of course, some choose not to officially tie the knot, and partner up in committed long term de facto relationships instead.
But, life has a way of surprising all of us.
And according to the statistics, around the world, divorce rates remain significant. In the US, about half of all marriages fail. In Europe, the percentages are higher. In Australia, the rate is about one in three. And the separation rate for de-facto couples is not dissimilar.
While it can be devastating to realise that a long-term relationship is over, it can actually be a positive occurrence – a life-time milestone, and a ‘check-in point’, which when used wisely, can help us to grow both emotionally and spiritually.
Of course, at the time of separation there are a lot of initial emotions – guilt, rejection, fear, confusion, loss, and grief are just a few.
You do you. And get a lawyer to do the legal work.
And while it can be incredibly difficult making sense of them all, you really do need to keep just putting one foot in front of the other. The odds are that you won’t simply be able to pack up your books, CDs and camp on a mate’s couch, there will be lot of important practical factors to consider. Such as the care of the children, joint assets, finances, what the future implications are if one or both of you meets a ‘significant other’ in the months or years to come.
So, here’s some advice: Let the lawyers take care of that, and you take care of yourself.
A lawyer will help you understand your rights within your circumstances, whether you’re married or de-facto, and will act upon your best interests. Your lawyer will navigate the practicalities and steer you towards the best decisions, and that will leave you free to deal with your emotions.
Something important to realise is this... Separation is just ‘change’.
Of course, it’s difficult change, heart-breaking change, exhausting change, but it is, at its very core, simply change.
And, as they say, change is really the only thing we can count on.
This may sound incredibly impersonal. But embracing this concept of ‘change’ will help you to break down this big, fearful, emotional issues into smaller components and then it can seem less threatening, less harmful, more manageable.
Self-care at this time is critical. But remember too, that taking time to rummage through the remnants of the broken relationship can be a real opportunity for personal growth. And, more than that, it can be a wonderful opportunity to embrace your own future and start to design it in a way that really makes you happy.
Life is in constant motion, adaptability is the key to survival.
There are as many reasons that relationships don’t work out as there are relationships. And there’s never a right or a wrong way to do things, but aiming for an amicable separation is always preferable, particularly if there are children involved.
No one wants messy, long court battles, not even lawyers.
Counselling and support groups can all be greatly beneficial.
The fact of the matter is that those people who aim to look at the relationship ending as a positive stepping stone forward, rather than as a hideous failure do cope better than those who don’t.