Divorce grief is underpinned by the idea that we are no longer whole without our partner. It feels like half of us is missing and the future seems unimaginably lonely. These are entirely normal and natural feelings. Not only have you lost the individual who shared your life, but also part of your identity as “the couple”.
However, choosing to look differently at deeply held beliefs about love, can lead to reframing some of that despair.
The notion of love and relationships is heavily based on an idea that a romantic partner is the answer to what we’ve been looking for. There is a profoundness in the idea that you can’t live without that special person; your soulmate, “The One”. (more…)
This August marks a whole year since I published my book “Break Up and Shine: The End Of Your Relationship Is The Making Of You”!
I started writing partly as self-healing, partly as a way to reach out and inspire others going through the same. I knew I wasn’t the only one out there with a broken heart, trying to make sense of it all. Eight years on, I continue to write this blog because I really love it and I know that it reaches people who need it.
Becoming published was a proud achievement for me. In Break Up and Shine I combine the wisdom I’ve learned both personally, and as a counsellor, to share the story of how I turned my life around post-divorce. I’m passionate about helping people see the opportunity in their loss!
To mark the publishing anniversary I’ve decided to share a chapter from Break Up and Shine with you; you can click on the link below to download the free PDF. (more…)
I cried when I sold my wedding ring. I wasn’t ready to get rid of it but I did it anyway. It felt drastic, final and gut-wrenching but ultimately satisfying. I had been through the worst of the grief and reached acceptance that my husband wasn’t coming back. I had removed the wedding photos from display, along with anything else which caused me daily pain, but most things weren’t truly “gone”; they were still kept somewhere waiting for……what?
Holding onto the things which remind us of the past is an absolutely normal part of the grieving process. It’s in our nature to infuse special items with emotional meaning, but they then become more deeply poignant after the loss of the person attached to them. We keep these things because they invoke a range of different feelings; hope, comfort, security or an acknowledgment that however the relationship has turned out, it wasn’t always bad.
Items which have sentiment attached to them are the hardest to declutter but are the most significant ones to deal with in order to move forward. What does it feel like for you to imagine letting them go? (more…)
Whenever I write about break-up and divorce as an opportunity for growth, I am very mindful of the fact that we need to allow grief first. When we heap positive expectations or goals on top of unexpressed sorrow it doesn’t serve us in the long run. You have to let yourself feel and express your emotions.
However, at some point we have to draw a line; we need to recognise the difference between healthy expression of grief and simply being stuck in our pain. Moving on is such an appealing goal, but it is very difficult because it requires willingness to look within and make changes. To avoid this we might (unconsciously) begin to retreat more deeply into heartbreak, as uncomfortable as it is, because it provides an excuse not to do the hard work of moving into an unknown and potentially scary new future without our partner. (more…)
One of the biggest things that kept me stuck emotionally in the early months of my divorce, was waiting for an apology which was never going to come.
When relationships break down there is often a sense of injustice and a need to make the other person understand how we feel.
Perhaps you’ve suffered betrayal, abuse or other unacceptable behaviour which feels impossible to let go of. Maybe you feel like only you know the real truth, and you can’t be happy while your ex is telling a different version of events. (more…)
When I encounter people in the early stages of a break-up, one of the most common beliefs I come across is their assertion that they will never feel truly happy again.
A broken heart can leave feelings of grief so deep that we literally cannot comprehend the possibility of future happiness. Positive thinking, changing your perspective and “seeing the bigger picture” are simply not an option in those early days. Telling someone whose partner left last week that “everything happens for a reason”, will not be received well.
In time you will feel better, but who wants to wait? We want a guarantee that things will get better fast because this pain is unbearable. So, how do you get from here to there? (more…)
Someone recently commented to me that, for women over 50, divorce is a “death sentence” and circumstances mean that there is no hope of a happier future.
The words reminded me of the deep pain and despair that divorce can bring; when so much of your life was invested in your marriage, how does starting again feel possible? (more…)
New Year’s Eve, with it’s positive celebrations, can feel bitter and painful when you are without the person you thought you would be spending the rest of your life with.
The period leading up to a New Year is commonly a time for reflection and looking ahead, and this is never more poignant than when you’ve had an emotionally difficult year.
Here are 5 reminders of how to use this special time to your advantage and take the first steps to make the end of your relationship feel less like the end of your life. (more…)
My first Christmas post-break-up was emotionally tough; it was 10 months after my marriage had ended and the resurgence of grief took me by surprise. Special occasions can knock you off guard just when you think you are coping, and can be particularly cruel if they happen very close to the end of your relationship. The Christmas season, weddings, summer holidays – in fact any celebration which drives home expectations of “togetherness”can make you feel like an outsider, a failure or just really sad and low.
It can feel hard to turn to other people at this time of year; who wants to feel like the killjoy bringing down everyone’s happiness? From the other side it looks like everyone else’s life is perfect; meanwhile, you are desperately trying to avoid the “what are you doing for Christmas?” conversations or trying not to cry at the thought that you may not be with your children this year. (more…)
In a crisis I become a sponge for knowledge. I love to find solutions for problems; to discover what has worked for others and see if it will work for me too. These days when I connect with recently separated people, what they most want to know is that this pain won’t last for ever and how to make it better. I was the same when my marriage ended; I was emotionally distraught and wanted so desperately to know that it was all going to be ok. My mission became to absorb as much learning as I could about how to heal from emotional pain and how to use the past to become happier and stronger in the future.
I then went on to write this blog and eventually my own “how to” book, to share the processes and methods which led to turning my divorce into the best thing that could have happened for me. In Break Up and Shine, I draw on what I learned in those early days and, if you have read it, you may remember I refer to several key books which helped me. These are what I want to share with you today!