Handling Separation

If you want to amuse yourself, do a search on Amazon for ‘handling separation‘. You will get a complete mish-mash of manuals for divorce, and books on the chemistry of fluids. Maybe both are relevant…

If you are a man facing divorce or the end of a long-term relationship, this could be a classic case of needing new skills to grow through the situation. Do you have the emotional competence to express your current feelings, handle them yourself, and share them with others who could support you? Do you have a couple of close friends, male or female, who you can trust enough to open up to them and ask for their support? If not, this is a great opportunity to learn to trust more deeply, and find good friends if you don’t yet have them.

Whatever part you are playing in the drama, find as much compassion as you can for both of you, and go many extra miles to maintain some goodwill in your separation. If you have children together, cooperating amicably will make a massive difference to them and to both of you. Even if you don’t, if you can end up with mutual goodwill and respect, you will be glad of it at some future stage.

Major separations rarely happen by complete mutual agreement. More often, one partner is pushing for it, and the other resisting. Sometimes one partner looks obviously to blame, by having an affair, abusive behaviour, addictions and so on. Almost certainly neither of you will have any precedent for this crisis, and however good your emotional and negotiating skills, you’ll both be overwhelmed.

I have seen many men handle a major separation by burying themselves in work, sport, or heavy drinking. This is a major crisis, and you will do better to use classic male skills of project management to handle it. Engage your brain – assess your situation, set yourself some goals and timetables, and gather the resources. Whether or not you have used a professional counsellor or therapist before, this is a great time to do so. You can find relevant specialists at these two websites:

The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists – http://www.cosrt.org.uk
Directory of Counsellors specialising in Separation – http://www.counselling-directory.org/separation.html

Leave a Reply