Coping with Relationship Breakdown

Coping with Relationship Breakdown

The breakdown of a loving and committed relationship is tough. As you read this guide you may feel overwhelmed, shocked and fearful of the future. We cannot take the pain away but we can offer you some useful coping strategies. With years of experience in divorce and relationship breakdown, I can offer you empathetic, bespoke advice to help you get the best outcome for your family. To discuss your case with me, call today on 0161 509 6338 or get in touch via email on I look forward to helping you find peace of mind.

Ending your marriage

Divorce is a process of transition, not an isolated event, and one person probably wishes more strongly than the other to end the relationship. This means that one person is likely to be in a different place emotionally.

An intense emotional strain may be caused by feelings of what might have been; the loss of the family that was and the loss of seeing your children on a daily basis. Communicating the decision to end your marriage can be both painful and devastating, and certain factors can either diminish or increase the painful impact of the message:

  • The message should be communicated in a clear and direct manner, intentions and plans need to be repeated
  • Be clear about immediate practical arrangements whenever possible. Do you have a plan regarding where to go afterwards, or for help for your husband or wife at a time when he or she is too shocked or distressed to think clearly
  • Give an explanation, as far as possible, for the break-up. This is kinder than keeping the other person guessing and blaming themselves, give them the time and space that they need to understand

Anxiety about the reaction is usually a stumbling block to communicating the decision. This is based on fears that the spouse will say or do something terrible, make painful accusations and show extreme anger, pain and bitterness. People are also stopped from communicating their decision by the fear of how they themselves will feel: that they will become depressed, that the fear of the unknown will overtake them or that deep uncertainty about the rightness of the decision will engulf them.

Oscillating emotions will become the theme of your daily life and that of your spouse. In most cases, this intense phase passes as the decision stays clear and firm.

Moving on

Eventually, most people go on to meet someone else. Sometimes this happens before the separation, making the marriage breakdown more painful and complex. This is for two reasons:

  • Because the other spouse must deal with the extreme impact of the affair as well as with the breakdown of the marriage; and
  • The children are often expected to cope with a new relationship as well as dealing with the distress of the family breaking up
  • The timing of introducing a new partner to the children is crucial. Will this relationship last? Are the children likely to be introduced to multiple partners?
  • New relationships take a good deal of energy and commitment for children to adjust. Counselling from expert third parties can also benefit them. New partners can also impact upon the contact arrangements.

Helping the family as a whole

The point of separation is a crucial one in the divorce process. The family starts to live in two separate homes.

The emphasis now moves to your shared role as co-parents. Adjustments may need to be made in coping with different routines concerning the children.

It can be difficult for a relationship to move on to one of the necessary cooperation if one or the other parent feel unwilling or unable to do so. It can be difficult to support your child’s relationship with the other parent. All of this is happening when your own energy is being focused on accepting your new identity and communicating the transition to your extended family, friends and work colleagues.

How is your husband or wife coping?

How well individuals cope with separation depends on how the whole family make the transition and get through the process. If one member of the family is struggling, then that will affect everybody and may slow up the progress of the family as a whole adjusting to its new life.

Respect and understanding for how your spouse is coming to terms with the new arrangements will assist as the whole family through the transition. Ignoring how the other person is coping and feeling is likely to spark negative feelings. Counselling may be helpful in assisting you through the transition.

When to take legal advice?

At this stage, it may be helpful to take advice from a specialist divorce solicitor. An initial consultation can be helpful in telling you what your priorities should be and addressing some of your anxieties.

It may be useful to have some legal advice about the arrangements for the children. This may simply reinforce what you are already doing, which may offer comfort and reassurance at a time when you need it most.

Financial concerns may be at the forefront of your mind. Again, it can be helpful to see a solicitor to discuss these to set your mind at rest. You do not have to take any action if you do not wish to at this stage.

Before taking the decision to end a relationship, it is important to appraise honestly whether things are so bad that there is no alternative.

You may find posing the following questions to be helpful:

  • Is it possible to make changes within your relationship?
  • What, if any, practical steps might be taken to improve things?
  • Are there any clear advantages in separating and divorcing and, if so, what are they?

A solicitor can help to separate and identify the problems from your overwhelming feelings. This in itself can be a valuable step. Outside help can assist in assessing whether or not the marriage is capable of being salvaged.

For everyone involved in marriage breakdown, even for the person who initiates the separation or divorce, there is a loss and a grieving process. There is a strong body of research on divorce that shows that the person who leaves also sustains enormous pain.

Contact our Specialist Divorce Solicitor in Cheshire, Manchester, Altrincham, Lymm, Knutsford & Wilmslow today

I offer a range of family law services including; divorce, fixed fee divorcefinancial settlementschild law and related family law matters. When you entrust your family life with me, you can be sure I will treat your circumstances in strict confidence and always keep you informed of how your case is progressing. To discuss your case with me, call today on 0161 509 6338 or by completing the online contact form. I look forward to helping you find peace of mind.

COVID-19 Update from Lindsay Jones

During these extraordinary times, I remain open for business and will be happy to help you should you require legal advice. In line with government advice, I will be working from home and can be contacted on 07917 711 887 or

I wish you all the very best. Stay safe and stay well.