Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Starting the Grieving Process- Life After Separation

Today's post is not running related. It's also a little deep. Feel free to skip if that's not your thing.... I'll be back to my regularly scheduled posts tomorrow...

I recently decided that I needed to talk to a therapist about the separation. Although, it happened eight months ago I'm struggling some days. I think I became so consumed with the legal aspects of separating that the emotional recovery took a back seat. Separating from someone I wanted to be my partner for life carries a lot of pain. It has left me feeling overwhelmed and like a failure. Being surrounded by so many happy families, and friend's having babies, makes things worse. 

Although, J and I were only married for three years (together for eight) recovering from a separation/divorce takes time. Although everyone is different, my therapist says most people need a few years to adapt to the changes that divorce brings. I'm not going to lie, there are moments when the outlook seems bleak.  I've decided to start focusing on my recovery now. 

My work offers counselling support both online and in person. I started taking the online courses and find myself agreeing with everything I'm reading. I will be meeting with someone again later this week. 

Here's what I've learned so far about the 5 stages of Separation/Divorce. My therapist says you may not work through these at once. In fact, you may bounce around and experience the stages a few times.
  1. Shock. Denial. Fear. Unable to absorb Information.
  2. Anger. Blame. Reacting (may take out how you're feeling on others)
  3. Transition (you know your life has changed but you’re not sure where you’re going.) At a crossroads.
  4. Grieving (death of dreams) Don’t try and bottle up emotions
  5.  Acceptance (willingness to make pro-active choices)
I wanted to share some of the advice, and tips, for others who may go going through something similar. Disclaimer: I'm not a therapist.  

1. Recognize Your Feelings: It's normal to feel sad, guilty, lonely, frustrated or hopeless. 

2. Take Care of Yourself: It's easy to turn to junk food, and alcohol, when you're stressed. Neither will make you feel better long term. Get plenty of exercise by doing something you enjoy.

3. Reach Out To Others: Family, friends, colleagues, therapists and support groups can all help. Even if your friends can't relate to what you're going through they're your friends for a reason and will support you.

4. Don't Rush Into Long-Term Decisions: Some quick changes are inevitable but delay everything else. Give yourself time to adapt and get over the past before you move on to a new life. That includes, getting a new career, moving to a new city or starting a new relationship. 

5. Learn From Your Mistakes:  Divorce can be a major blow to your identity, ego and self-esteem. Examine your role in the relationship and recognize your part in the break-up. Vow to make better choices in the future. 

6. Begin To Build A New Relationship With Your Ex-Partner: Accept that the old relationship is over and concentrate on building a new parenting relationship as two people who care about the same child/children. Be civilized and courteous. Most importantly, keep the communication flowing. 

Before our divorce can be finalized J and I both have to take a "Parenting After Separation" course. I think this will really help strength our co-parenting relationship. The 8 hour class focuses on eight topics:
  1. Maintaining a business relationship of co-parenting
  2. Strengthening the relationship with your children
  3. Parents’ stages of divorce and issues to resolve
  4. Strategies for effective communication
  5. Effects of divorce on children
  6. Implement parenting plans with your co-parent
  7. Accessing mediation and other conflict resolution practices
  8. Legal information on separation and divorce
Single parents. Do you have a relationship with your ex? 
If you're separated/divorced how long did it take you to feel like you were truly on the road to recovery?
And because this is a super serious post, feel free to leave a random fact, story or joke below!

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