February 16, 2023

How can Counselling Help when your Relationship has Broken Down? – Part Two: The Tasks

As part of a relationship breakdown you will need to complete several tasks, and counselling can help you to do all of them.

Written by

Nicole Biggs

This is blog is following on from my blog about the emotions created by a relationship breakdown, and how they can be helped through counselling. In this blog I want to talk about the tasks that people go through as part of the relationship breakdown, and how these can be helped with counselling.

Grieving– You have to grieve the loss of the relationship. Separation is like a death, however you still have to see the other person. It is therefore very complicated emotionally. You have to grieve the loss of the person who was closest to you, usually your best friend. You have to grieve the loss of the future you thought you would have together. You often have to grieve the loss of friends and family as people inevitably ‘choose sides’. You often have to grieve the loss of a home, or at the very least a lifestyle and status (as you inevitably are worse off after a separation, because everything now has to be shared). You have to grieve the partial loss of your children, as they now spend some of their time with your ex.  These losses all crash into one another, bombarding you with difficult emotions. Counselling can help you to navigate the grief process.

Moving On– Relationships break down for a reason, and the process of breakdown often involves a lot of pain. Behaviours can develop within the relationship, which gradually erode things, and people do and say hurtful things to their partner. This pain can immobilise you if you are not careful and prevent you from moving on and reaching an agreement with your ex. Counselling can help you let go of the pain of the past, and to move on with your life. 

Identifying Patterns  Counselling can help to ensure that you do not make the same mistakes in the future that have caused the breakdown of your relationship now. It can help you to spot patterns of behaviour, thoughts and communication both in yourself and in others. It can help you to address issues from the past that may be affecting your present. It can help you to change your love map, to ensure that you are not always blindly attracted to the same type of partner in the future and so repeat the same cycle again. It can help you to address issues within yourself, like excessive working, spending too much, and insecurity and control issues. It can therefore help you to understand yourself much better, and why the relationship broke down. This then enables you to grow and change so that you are in a much better position to move on with your life. Free of all of the emotional baggage of the past.

Adjusting – Whenever there is a relationship breakdown everybody has to adjust to a new situation. The standard of living of both parties and the children will all have to reduce. This is because the money that maintained one household will now need to maintain two. Therefore, you may find yourself having to move, get a new job, buy a cheaper car, and money will probably be tight. Therefore there are physical adjustments. However, there are also emotional adjustments as well. Being on your own, possibly with children dependent on you, can be really tough. Vulnerability and abandonment can hit you, the weight of responsibility can bring you down. Counselling can help you to make these adjustments.

Communication– If you have children with your ex-partner then you are going to have to learn how to communicate effectively with one another, for the sake of the children. Counselling can help you to identify and then communicate about your needs much better. It can also help you to focus on what is important, and not get bogged down in the pain of the separation. Counselling can teach you conflict resolution skills and communication skills, which will be vital when negotiating the settlement and co-parenting the children. This will enable you to communicate effectively with your ex-partner, and with the children themselves. 

Dividing Assets – In any relationship breakdown you will need to decide how everything is going to be divided. Without a way of effectively communicating with one another, you will waste money on legal costs fighting over who gets what. If you are emotional then you will not be able to do this with a clear head. Things become more important than they are in reality, all of a sudden great aunt Fanny’s vase is something you must have even though it has been in a cupboard for 20 years and actually you think its ugly. We end up doing things ‘on principle’, I cannot allow him to get away with keeping the caravan as he’s already got the car. Or to make the other person pay. Without the emotions clouding your judgement, this can be a much quicker and painless process.

Therefore, I really do believe that having counselling should be an essential part of the process of a relationship breakdown. Counselling can help to limit the potential damage to you, your life, your future, your children, your family, and your friends. It will save you money, time, and pain in the long run. It can ensure that you are able to make rational decisions, in the best interests of everyone. It can help you to understand yourself and others better. It can ensure that you do not make the same mistakes in the future. It can help you to use the relationship breakdown as an opportunity to grow and change, develop new life skills, and ensure that you have a happier future. 

For more information, or just a chat, please contact me on 07742 209312 or nicole@greenoaktherapies.co.uk

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