Once A Relationship Ends : Then What?

Where do you go from here?

Everyone's story is different. Maybe you've been in the relationship for decades, maybe you've been married for a year, you may have children together, maybe the idea to separate was yours, or maybe you both agreed the separation was best. Maybe you're relieved, or heartbroken, or both. However you came to be in this position, the question is where do you go from here?

 What is your new life going to look like, and how do you start moving forward?

1. Allow yourself mourn

Nobody enters a marriage or relationship thinking how am I going to cope once it ends. Even if, by the time you split, the separation or divorce was something you wanted, an end of a relationship represents a loss.

Psychotherapist Florence Falk tells us, 'You may feel remorse  for what you did or didn't do, or wonder what you did wrong. Don't dwell on those feelings, but make room for them. Loss is loss. There is an empty space where something once filled it up, even if that something may not have been desirable.'

2. Work through your these feelings

As the goal is to move forward in your life, you really do need to work through your feelings. Find a way to work through the lingering emotions from the demise of your relationship. If you find that you cannot do this alone, seek professional help such as a therapist or focusing your energy in a healthy activity you enjoy. Although the temptation may be to sweep these emotions under the table, dont- you have to work through them or they'll pollute your life going forward. 

3. Get to know yourself as you used to be

This is particularly pertinent if you were in a long term relationship and have given up lots of the things you enjoyed doing as a single person. Maybe you loved dancing or going to the movies or the theatre. What hobbies did you enjoy pre relationship? "Exercising your interest in those again is important to rebuilding yourself", Psychologist Robert Alberti tells us.

4. Discover something new about yourself

It need only be something as simple as a new hairstyle, or going to the gym or something as big as moving to a new city or town, why not spend a year living overseas? Of course those with children or other responsibilities can't just throw caution to the wind, so although you might not be able to live out a fantasy, chances are that there are changes you can make that are within your reach. The point is not to reject the idea of change just because you can't make every change. Look for positive healthy changes you can say yes to, instead of dwelling on what's out of reach.

5. Dare to be alone

Being alone is different to being lonely or being isolated and never seeing anyone. It just means not rushing to being coupled again. Society is much more accepting of singles and the statistics of people living on their own in Australia in 2015 is 1 in 4. That's a lot of people, making the possiblities of making new friends or entering groups that have to do with your interest a much easier proposition than even a decade ago.

6. Consider dating with no strings attached

This isn't about rebounding. It's about considering dating (once you're ready) outside your comfort zone... why not date someone who's not your type... without thinking that it has to head toward a permanent relationship?

Transitional relationships can help you to move forward and because dating often takes you out of your comfort zone, dating helps you to grow as a person...  as long as these transitional relationships remain fun and no one is getting hurt.

7. Take charge of your whole life

If you were coupled for a long time, your partner probably handled certain aspects of life, while you manged others. Now it's ALL up to you. Don't look at this as a scary propostion, see this as empowering, and expect things to not go perfectly at first. That's OK. Dealing with these new responsibilities can give you confidence in your own ability and look for help if you get stuck. Even if you make mistakes, don't be hard on yourself. Learn from that experience. As Ablerti says, 'mistakes give you life skills and teach you that you can handle being alone.