Getting through the first month after a separation from your partner can be the most difficult time in your life. You may be thrilled to be out of a bad situation, scared of a future on your own, or completely heartbroken. Sometimes, you might feel all kinds of conflicting emotions. Surviving that first month of separation will help you heal, rediscover the strong woman you are, and start the next chapter of your life. While there is no magic pill you can take to get through it, there are things you can do to make the separation more bearable.
1. Feel Your Feelings
Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling, but don’t let those feelings consume you. If you need to cry, do so. Then wipe your lovely face and move on to the next part of your day. If you need to scream, do so. Bury your face in your pillow or lock yourself in your bedroom for a few minutes and let it go. The main thing is to get it out and not wallow in it. Holding it all in will only prolong the misery. Trust your feelings, but don’t dwell there.
Visit friends or family you haven’t seen in a while or schedule regular meetings with supportive friends, such as morning coffee or afternoon tea. Explore the city or a nearby town. Go places you’ve never been, visit the museum or go sit in the park. You may want to be alone right now, but too much alone-time isn’t good for you. It can lead to depression and prolong your healing and recovery time. Distracting yourself and discovering new places, people, and things can help you mentally and emotionally heal and move forward.
3. Time for You
Take some time out for you. It’s OK to be alone sometimes, as long as you aren’t hiding from the world. Avoid dating right away because that’s just going to mask things, not make them better long-term. Instead, focus on something you’ve always wanted to do. Take up a new sport or hobby, start a new TV series or a book series. Carve out some time, even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, to do something for you.
4. Take Care of You
You’ve probably spent a good chunk of your time taking care of everyone else, your ex included. It’s extremely important to take care of yourself right now, as no one else is going to. Eat right, even when you don’t feel like you could possibly swallow a drop of water. Even if you can only hold down a banana or piece of toast, set a timer and force yourself to nibble on something every couple of hours. You’re going to need to be healthy and have energy to deal with everything; a poor immune system will only cause you to get sick, which will further complicate your current state. Exercise if you can. Go for short walks, do 10 jumping jacks, just get your blood pumping.
Reflecting on certain things during this time of separation can soothe the soul, while distracting yourself from reflecting on other things is key. Remove reminders, such as pictures of you and your ex or the love note he sent you in the beginning. Pack them away to deal with later or remove them completely, but don’t torture yourself with the sight of those memories. Instead, reflect on who you are and get back in touch with yourself. Take the lessons of the relationship with you, but focus on what you want going forward. Daydream a little bit. See yourself in the situation you want. Make it all about you and leave a partner out of the equation. That will come with time.
6. Support System
Sometimes you have to talk and let it out. This is where a solid and supportive group of friends, relatives, or professional help, such as a life coach, can help. Avoid bashing sessions where you just bash your ex and all of his shortcomings. Instead, focus on what you can do moving forward during the separation. Limit your exposure to negativity, even if it comes from friends who mean well. Surround yourself with uplifting, positive people who can help you move forward, not stay angry and sad.
7. Limit Contact
Limit the contact you have with your ex during separation. Avoid discussing anything that isn’t imperative. This may be more difficult if you have young children, but it isn’t impossible. Don’t ask him how his day was or dwell about what went wrong or how he hurt you. Instead, be brief, pleasant and keep it short. Only communicate about what’s necessary. Don’t discuss the relationship, don’t make accusations, don’t volunteer any information about your life and how you’re doing. That’s no longer his business or concern.
The first month after separation is often the most difficult. It is a major life change. But you will get through this. Keep yourself focused on the light at the end of the tunnel instead of the darkness and closed-in walls you feel right now. The only way to get through hell is to go straight through it.
I have been friends who made the decision to separate and divorce their spouses. Such a sad and energy-draining time in their lives. Your survival tips are sensible. Thank you for sharing.
Great advice here and you summed it all up really well with “The only way to get through hell is to go straight through it” because that’s exactly what it is in the first few months. Dropping by from UBC.
This really helped me to understand what I’m going through.is been so difficult for me after a 21 year marriage
Divorced Kat says
I think dating should be the LAST thing on your mind. As you’ve written, you have to feel your feelings. Attempting to be charming or sexy for someone new is just a distraction from the work that a newly separated/divorced person needs to do. And… I’m speaking from experience. I tried to date too soon. MISTAKE!
I immediately changed beds and bedrooms. It helped to move on. All the tips noted are very useful, especially health. You need that energy for the tough decisions.