Have you recently struggled with the separation from a partner? Here, the founder of AFLAS, Adam Levine, provides key tips on navigating these difficult times.
Separation or a relationship breakdown is one of the most stressful experiences in life. Amongst the myriad layers of people to deal with, and confusion around how to make decisions and understand your rights, the stress can feel overwhelming, and your self-confidence can disappear overnight.
But with the right support and mindset, you can navigate the confusion and rebuild your self-esteem as you begin a new life chapter.
1. Reframe your thinking
The first step is to appraise your mindset and self-talk about what’s happened. Are you thinking of yourself as a failure? Do you feel like you’ve let people down? Does finding happiness again feel like an impossibility? Then it’s time to reframe your thinking.
While separation of any kind is hard, it takes two people to start a relationship and two people to end it. No matter what the circumstances are around the separation, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed.
While we’re bombarded with images of fairy-tale relationships in the media around us, the reality is many relationships fail, and sticking with a relationship when it’s no longer right doesn’t equate to success.
Try to think of this stage as a transition, rather than an ending, and be kind to yourself.
2. Get the right advice
Depending on the kind of separation, you might need legal advice, financial advice, accounting help or even a mortgage broker to help you with remortgaging a shared property. It’s a lot to navigate and it can feel overwhelming.
Turn to people in your life who’ve been through a similar experience and ask for their help on navigating what you need to sort. Try to take the emotion out of things. Yes, you might be hurt and angry, but you still need to sort out the admin of a relationship ending, and things will be a lot more straightforward if you can keep things civil.
Our service AFLAS has been designed to help people navigate the complexities of separation and connect them with the right advice, as we identified that most people don’t know where to start in these kinds of stressful life chapters.
3. Find your people
One of the most heartbreaking things about a separation is realising not all of your shared friends will choose to stay friends with you after the relationship ends.
Rather than focusing on the people who turn away from you, invest your time and energy into the people who stick with you.
Be honest about needing support, even if you don’t know yet what you might need. Sometimes it’s just a friendly voice at the end of the phone after a tough day, others it might be finding someone who’s happy to commit to a regular walk with you, or even someone game to try a new hobby with you as you reconnect with yourself and your happiness in a new context.
Spend time reconnecting with old friends or join new groups to make new ones. You never know which new friendships might emerge from the woodwork of your separation, so keep an open mind.
4. Empower yourself
Now is the time to take stock of who you are, what makes you happy, and what you really want from your life.
You’re the author of your own destiny, and life without your partner doesn’t have to look empty, it can in fact be immensely full and rewarding.
Take an objective look at how you spend your time. Are there daily habits you’ve slipped into which no longer serve you? Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but have never made a priority? Now is the time.
Connect with a psychologist, counsellor or even an empowerment coach to help you understand your inner world better and boost your self-confidence. You don’t have to feel helpless. Separation is a path well-trodden by many before you, so seek support from professionals who can help you, and empower yourself to create a new life on your own terms.
Separation is never easy, but you’re not alone.
About the author:
Adam Levine is the founder of Australian Family Law Advisory Services (AFLAS), which provides free and low-cost resources and guidance on relationship and family situations. AFLAS connects people with the right professional support for every situation including family law, financial advice, accounting, valuation, mortgage broking and mental health covering all aspects of family relationship issues. https://aflas.com.au/