Have you left your partner? 5 Tips for getting through
Taking the enormous step to leave a partner, especially when you have children together, is so hard. But it’s when the enormity of this decision hits it can be most difficult of all.
The pain, the guilt, the fear, the financial burden – it’s a silent struggle that no one talks about. Yet, the reality is, there are lots of parents struggling with this right now and we can help each other by talking about it.
Feeling the effects of lockdown
Having just come out of a snap lockdown, I was reminded of how difficult it can be. Especially when your children are not around, and you’re faced with long periods of isolation.
I remember after I had left my partner and realised, I would have to accept that also meant not seeing my children for half of the time. Not only did I carry the burden of guilt for being the one who split up the family, but I was also grieving the time I felt I could be spending with them. I was experiencing ‘empty nesting’ way before I was ready to let them go (they were only 7 and 9) and I wasn’t prepared for it.
Periods of isolation (like a lockdown) can bring all these feelings back to the surface. This is because we don’t have any distractions, we experience long periods of separation and it’s more difficult to connect with friends and family.
Here are five tips to help you get through this:
1. Think of the bigger picture
What we need to do, is hold our nerve. Ask ourselves why we left our partner and remind ourselves that we had the best intentions. If we think of the bigger picture, we can use this goal to stay motivated through the hard times. Maybe we left because we all wanted to be happier? For me, it was to be a better role model for my children, particularly when demonstrating healthy, loving relationships.
2. Remind yourself about the positives
If you are sharing your children with your partner, the periods when you don’t have them are only temporary. So, tell yourself that. Think about what you can do to fill the ‘extra’ time. After all, we all have things we put off under the banner of ‘not having enough time!’. Maybe you can do a few projects or learn something new? When you are with your children again, you’ll be much happier and much more likely to appreciate them. At the same time showing them you’re independent and a good role model.Find some courage and believe you can do this
Once you are thinking of the bigger picture, have courage and remind yourself of who you are underneath it all. At the same time think about WHY you felt you had to make such a hard decision. This will make it easier to accept that you will have to do whatever it takes during the difficult times – until you find your feet. Reach out to other people who can help you.
3. Take small practical steps forward
Think about this as a new chapter in your life. When you feel overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is take small, practical steps. Try and put your fear aside and focus on what you can do to make it work. As a life coach, I often encourage my clients to remember that even small steps take you all the way – as long as you’re consistent and don’t give up!
4. Don’t be too proud to ask for financial help!
If it’s financial worry, stop all non-essential spending, and accept there will be no holidays for a while. Find out what government support is available to you. If you work more than 20 hours a week you could receive a Working for Families tax credit. Do you need help calculating child support costs for you and your ex? The IRD calculator helps you calculate this, and the IRD can manage the process for you and ensure the agreed payments are made from the source. Getting your financial flow sorted is HUGELY reassuring if you are solo parenting, especially if you previously worked part-time.
Think about other income streams. Could you rent out a room for example? I run a self-contained Airbnb from the downstairs of my house. I chose my house because I knew it could help me form a second income stream. Do you have other skills and talents? Could you take on a second job? Multiple income streams are so important when you’re on your own.
5. Take care of yourself
It’s important to make time for exercise, getting outside and doing things that make you feel better. If you are going through a difficult time, tell your family, friends and keep an open dialogue with your children.
If you’ve recently left your partner and you’re struggling with this right now, contact me for a free 30-minute chat, or book yourself in for a session here. I offer personal coaching, one-on-one and I’m also keen to set up a support group for people in this situation to come together and help each other.
You don’t have to stay in the struggle and do it all alone. Reach out and let’s support each other. Hang in there! And remember why you made your decision in the first place, what if this struggle is leading you to where you ultimately wanted to be? If you’d like to connect privately, please email me direct here: email@example.com