A Therapist's Advice for Your Break Up, Separation, or Divorce

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By:  Alexis Pardo, LCSW

Separation is a time that can feel like someone dropped us off in the middle of the ocean and said “swim to shore!” And then we think: Where the eff is the shore? How the eff did I get here? Do I get a float or even a compass? But no one is there to answer your questions. You feel so alone and scared and you have no idea how far away from land you are. 

It’s earth shattering to learn that your partner of X amount of time is not all-in anymore. Often you’ll experience absurd amounts of self-loathing, difficulty sleeping and eating, uncertainty, and  fear. You’re looking at this article because you’re scouring the internet trying to figure out what to do. How do you solve this? Well there are definitely a few tips that might save you some of your sanity in this situation. 

  1. Don’t look up relationship advice.
    Stop looking up how to fix relationships or relationship advice in general! You feel really out of control and this is normal. You did not agree to this so it’s very natural that you want to find a way to take back a little control. This is not going to help you and will only encourage you to take all the blame for the relationship falling apart. It takes two to tango and the responsibility is shared between the both of you. Yes, in general it would be great if you could XYZ in future relationships but if the other person isn’t reciprocating and saying “yes, let’s work on this” then there is no relationship advice that is going to fix this. If they eventually say they want to work on the relationship, then this would be the next step but until then drop it. 

  2. Have compassion.
    Hold your pain with compassion. No, you should not be over this yet. Your partner just left you. That hurts and acknowledging that pain is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. 

  3. Find support.
    Surround yourself with the support of your friends and family. No, you are not a burden - anytime you think you are, express gratitude instead. Everyone needs a little support sometimes. 

  4. Give yourself lots of time.
    Understand that this takes time. You are grieving not only the loss of the relationship but the loss of the future with this person. You will go through the stages of grief. Sometimes you might feel stuck in sadness/depression for a day and the next day you can experience all the stages in one hour. You might feel like you are going crazy but you’re not! Your psyche is trying to make sense of this abrupt loss.

  5. Don’t talk to the kids about it.
    If you have children, I feel for you because you have to be even stronger on days that you feel horrible. Remember to keep them out of this. It does not matter what your partner did, this is an adult matter only. If your children end up being your sounding board, they won’t learn how to process their own feelings. Whether this is their parent or not (i.e., step parent) they also need this time to adjust to these drastic changes. Don’t let them overhear you talking about your partner either. This kind of sharing is damaging and not appropriate. 

  6. Focus on what is within your control.
    Focus on the certainties in your life (work, health, friendships, family, hobbies, your strengths, etc). If things are kind of in the air, it can be scarier so recognizing what’s within your control will really help. You can write a list to keep on you so that when you go down the rabbit hole of despair you can reference this list. You won’t feel 100% better but any percentage improvement is better than the way you feel in that moment. 

  7. Therapy?
    If you need more support, seek a therapist. They can hold that space for you to experience the pain you are experiencing and support you through this. 
  8. You got this!
    Remember that you are worthy of love! This one person doesn’t determine your worth. 

It’s okay to not be okay! This is what it is and what it feels like right now but it will change. I wish you the best with whatever outcome unfolds. 

Alexis Pardo is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Agape Therapy Institute. To learn more about Alexis or to book an appointment with her, visit her page on our website by clicking here or call us at (407) 900-8633 to speak with a Patient Care Coordinator.

Photo Credit:  Pixabay