top of page
Blue Skies

Emotional stages of separation

Image by Chris Lawton

The emotional impact of separation

No-one is ever properly prepared for a separation. It's one of the most stressful things you can go through.

You can expect to experience the full gambit of emotions and it’s perfectly normal for your feelings and mood to change frequently.

But take heart, there are strategies you can adopt to help you cope.

 

Stages of grieving

Even if you initiated the separation you’re losing an important part of your life and you’ll need time to adjust, and grieve for the lost relationship.

There are several stages of grieving you could experience, and not all in the same order - possibly all at the same time! (It can be a bumpy ride!)

Understanding the various stages of grief can help you cope with the feelings and emotions you’ll go through. The following stages are adaptations of a well-known theory developed by Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

Shock and Denial

In this phase, you’re trying to adjust to the idea the relationship is over. Despite your better judgement and advice from friends and family you might be entertaining the idea that things will somehow work out.

You might try and convince yourself this all just a terrible mistake, a midlife crisis and things will work out.

Remember, there are other things in your life you can prioritise such as friends, work and children.

Anger

This can creep up on you and it can surface in different ways. You might think the Universe is against you. You might find yourself angry people who disagree with your point of view or with people who want to remain friends with your ex. Perhaps you blame a situation like a job loss and poor financial stress for making your ex ‘change’.

This is often when people will often bad-mouth their ex or send angry and hurtful messages to them. (Not a good idea!)

Whilst it's a good idea to let it all out, exercise can be a great way to release built-up tension and if that's not your cup of tea, you could try talking to friends or a counsellor.

Bargaining

This is where you might look for any possible way to make things work and get your life back to the way it was.

You might promise to ‘change’ or enlist a friend to talk to your ex on your behalf.

Try to accept that you can't change what's happened. Distract yourself with activities and move through this phase as quickly as you can.

This is often when people will often bad-mouth their ex or send angry and hurtful messages to them. (Not a good idea!)

Whilst it's a good idea to let it all out, exercise can be a great way to release built-up tension and if that's not your cup of tea, you could try talking to friends or a counsellor.

 

Depression

Depression can manifest in different ways.

 

You might feel sad, lonely and tired all the time, constantly on the verge of tears, over-eating, under-eating... you get the idea!

 

Rely on your friends and family for comfort and support and if need be, consider speaking to a counsellor or your GP.

 

It might be hard to believe at the time, but please remember, things will get better and your life will improve.

 

You will meet new people, have new experiences and you will be happy in the future.

Acceptance

This is where you're able to let go and move forward with your life.

It might creep up on you gradually but it will happen sooner or later.

It's an excellent place to be!

What next?

If you want help identifying and resolving the issues arise after separation, check out our Separation Guide. We’re here to help.

bottom of page