Whether you’ve been dating a while, are in a long-term open or closed relationship, are married, or have kids together, this much is true: romantic relationships take a lot of work.
Some relationships feel more painful than fun, and sometimes “taking a break” feels like the only way to get a break from all that pain.
Separation in a romantic relationship, or “a break”, can be pretty fuzzy, since there is no one right way to do it. How long is it for? What are the terms? If you have kids together, how are you managing parenting? Is there any intention to get back together?
Because of how unspecific separation can be, the process can end up feeling very stressful.
Let’s make sure that you are taking care of yourself during the separation. Here are a few tips to help you through it:
Have a plan. When you and your partner separate, it can be difficult to break the routine you have established together. One way to deal with this is to establish a new routine. If you will be on your own, restructure your day to best suit your needs. Find pleasurable activities to fill up your free time. Start going to the gym like you promised yourself. Try that new restaurant you pass on your way home. Find what makes you happy and incorporate it into your day.
Co-parent. If you have children, sit down with your partner and work out a co-parenting schedule that is fair and manageable. The Journal of Parenting researched the effect of co-parenting on children and found that when parents cooperated on raising their kids (instead of mutual spite and trash-talking, for example), the kids’ psychological adjustment was a lot healthier. Bottom line: successful co-parenting not only helps you in the transition, but it is important to the overall health of your family.
Communicate. Talk to someone about how you are feeling. If you are celebrating newfound freedom, embrace it! Talk to your friends about the excitement of being on your own. If you are down, find someone your trust to talk through these feelings. Do not feel like you have to keep your emotions to yourself, whether they are good or bad.
Set healthy boundaries. Since separation is not necessarily hard and final, boundaries are important. Establish restrictions with which you are both comfortable. You do not want to have to talk every day if it is not helpful or necessary. Make sure they understand if you need space, and be understanding of their need of space, as well.
Check in with yourself. Self-reflection is necessary for growth. Check in with yourself daily by asking in which areas you feel like you adjusting well, and in which you could improve. Make sure that you are caring for yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Above all, be honest with yourself in what you need.
Ask for help. It is okay lean on your support system during this time. Having trouble figuring out what to do with your day? Not sure how you are going to pick up the kids on the days you agreed? Ask the people around you to lend a hand while you are transitioning into this new phase in your life.
Trying to figure out if “taking a break” is right for you as a couple? Do you want a neutral third-party to help you set the terms of the break? Need help coping with an ongoing separation? Call or email to schedule your free consultation today. We are here to help.