I am no expert in “connection” however when I was going through separation I found it very challenging and draining at times to “connect” with the people around me. Let me explain.
During the early days of separation, the days after my Mr Ex and I had “the final” chat: was a time that was the peak of my emotional roller coaster. Letting go of someone (unexpectedly), whom you had met while at University and gone through starting a family together thinking you would be together full stop was EXCRUCIATING.
The new world of “Ok”, I have met someone else and YOU need to move on” – was traumatic. So now that I have set the scene, lets talk about “connecting” with:
- family who had treated your Mr Ex as their own
- your kids’ who are experiencing their own PAIN
- your lifelong mutual friends
3 Areas impacted:
Even though I had support, I felt that it came with strings attached. Support was conditional to their interpretation of how I should go forward and create my “new” world. Where I should move houses, how I should manage my finances, suggestions to remove the kids from the current school and move to a new one closer to them etc.
My family went into protective mode and came up with suggestions to resolve my predicament. While I feel that all the “suggestions” came from a good place, they were not cognisant of my excruciating emotional pain and personal priority list (i.e. the kids’ best interest). I also found it hard to participate in discussions about their “issues” such as “the cleaner didn’t turn up”, “which side of Europe should we visit”. I felt that my issues were very different! My issues sounded like this: how do I get out of bed and go to work when my eyes were bulging after crying all night, how do I manage working full time work, cooking dinner, getting the groceries with 2 young kids after work, how do I pay all the mounting bills that were paid together but now had to pay them alone now?
All of these examples wedged a huge road block to my “connection” with family. Seeing photos of Facebook of “happy” families was excruciating as it reminded me of what we had LOST.
How to Re-Connect:
- I took a few steps to help “me” because if you are not right, then nothing can be. It all starts within. So, I took control and focused on setting up a routine to make sure I got some much needed, healthy time.
- I started boxing
- I spent at least a few hours doing things to clear my head: Walking, having dinner with old and new friends (as a result of boxing).
- I focused on creating memories with just me and my kids that were just “us”: being naughty and having dinner on our trampoline and watching the stars at night on it.
- My point/my learning: Get “yourself” right, you own vibe. The rest will follow.
“Nothing will work unless you do” – Maya Angelou
2. Your KIDS
This is a little trickier, in the early days of separation while you are trying to cope with EVERYTHING (mostly alone) my relationship with my kids suffered because I was EXHAUSTED. The happy mummy that was mostly available to them was rapidly MIA when they needed me the MOST. It was circumstantial. I had to go back to full time work (Miss was 3, Mr was 6), and cook dinner with minimal help (my mother helped me for a few hours once a week with the kids), the rest was all ME. My connection to them was impacted due to my limited time. Trying to cope emotionally about leaving your kids with babysitter during such a traumatic time for the 3 of us was, well, TRAUMA. A trauma to this day, I have buried but resurfaces every now and then with tears.
How to Re-Connect:
So YES I went to work at 6:45 am leaving a screaming 3 year old (she lost her dad to another woman, and her mum to full time work) with a babysitter, BUT here are a few things I did to balance the pain to keep the connection:
- I left my kids notes in their lunches and under their pillows.
- I prepared a dessert to eat together when they got back from their dads on a Sunday evening which we ate together and talked about their weekend.
- We snuggled each night in my bed after dinner watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air (repeatedly)
- We danced A LOT after dinner to their favourite tunes
- We celebrated birthday week with 1 present each day to wake up to for the week prior to their birthday.
3. Life Friends
Connecting with LIFE friends that you and Mr Ex has shared also get complicated. The world outside of social media and the world within. For me, I had a 3-4 people that were my lifeline during the early days of separation. During my lowest days I would call these people (2 friends and my brother) sobbing and an emotional mess! I’m sure it was hard for them to hear or see me in that way and also frustrating at times not understanding why I cannot move on from someone who did me so wrong.
Connection with friends wasn’t difficult it was just awkward, for all not knowing what is acceptable/not in situations such as birthdays or special occasions. Can one maintain life friends that remain friends with Mr Ex? My thoughts on this one is neutral. My situation/circumstances naturally evolved into friends “supporting” one over the other and over the years diminished one side of the friendship 😊
If your situation is amicable then I believe you get to a better place with mutual friends quicker, however complicated and messy situations may take a little longer to get to!
How to Re-Connect:
- Be open and honest with friends.
- Set boundaries
- Understand both sides (yours and your friends) perspective
- Be prepared for sides to be potentially CHOSEN!
Connection can be challenging when you are experiencing a traumatic change in your life, however taking the time to pause, looking at aspects YOU can change will benefit everyone. As eloquently stated by Maya Angelou: “Nothing will work unless you do”.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is general information only and is not provided as a substitute for legal/professional advice. If you have a legal/financial/ any other issue, you should contact a lawyer and/or professional before making a decision about your options or personal situation. TheSeparationExchange.com cannot provide legal/professional advice.
My name is Anju, after going through a “surprise” separation and divorce was a rebirth which awakened me!
After a period of sadness and struggle, revealed a person who was forced to sort her shi# out and find the strength needed to raise 2 young kids without a partner! And so, a new journey began with new dreams: www.TheSeparationExchange.com
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