A divorce coach’s guide to breaking up
I’m known as the Divorce Coach. I specialise in helping men and women cope with any kind of separation, from your first love to a divorce, same-sex break-ups, whatever. I impart the sort of advice I wish I’d had when it happened to me (I’m happily divorced!).
How do you know when you should fight for it?
How do you know it’s time to call it a day? When you’re making sacrifices, and not compromises. Any relationship involves compromise: she likes Indian, he prefers Chinese. But sacrifices are damaging to who you are at your core. You have to stand strong and put yourself first.
Why do we always rose-tint an ex?
When people reflect on an ex, they strap on the rose-tinted glasses and just see the good. I tell clients to write a list of the bad things their ex did. Maybe you didn’t like it when they left their clothes on the floor, put you down, didn’t invite you to things and so on. The cold, hard truth reveals the things you weren’t happy with.
Don’t let a relationship ending define you. See it as a golden opportunity to jump off the treadmill in order to reassess your life and redesign your future just as you’d like it. A lot of married people don’t have that opportunity – they feel stuck and don’t analyse their situation. It’s a chance to spring clean your life.
After a break-up, you must understand what makes you tick, and that means setting goals. The key to this is to find something that actually excites you. At my retreat, we go on a voyage of self-discovery to find out who you are and rediscover your identity. These are easy stepping stones.
Please know that grieving an ending is absolutely normal and is part of the healing process. People have said to me they are concerned because their GP has told them they’re depressed, and they worry that will be with them for life. That is a natural stage. When the psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross created the Loss Cycle it applied to those facing imminent death, but it can concern any ending or loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance. So depression is perfectly normal and remember: it does end.
Life changes and break-ups aren’t always negative. You can still cherish the good times. My wedding day and the birth of my son were two of the best days of my life. However, I don’t want to be married to that person any more. Keep good memories, then create some more.
3 TIPS FOR BREAKING NEWS OF A BREAK-UP
1. Back to basics: Don’t overload people with emotion, stick to facts.
2. Flip it: Take off the rose tinted glasses and be real about everything that wasn’t good about your relationship. Flip it by finding a positive you can take from your split and focus on that.
3. Don’t be boring: If you tell your sad story to everyone you meet, that then defines who you become. You want to have other things to talk about, otherwise your friends may end up thinking: ‘Oh no, here we go again.’