Whether we’re separating, divorcing or engaged in the process of ‘consciously uncoupling’, many of us (over 55% in fact) are experiencing the trauma and effects of the end of a partnership relationship these days. And if you have children, the end of your intimate couple, co-parenting relationship can often feel like ‘splitting up’ equals ‘splitting you’ and you may notice that your children suddenly just can’t seem to get enough of you. So why do you feel so ‘halved’?
Well, firstly, you’re literally no longer one half of a ‘double act’–you’re now a single parent – and that feels different emotionally. When we’re in love and together, we adopt or absorb parts of the person we love. It’s no wonder people use the term “other half”to describe their partner. So, of course, when we break up, we do feel diminished and possibly halved. It’s as if we have lost parts of ourselves and feels like something is now missing.
Secondly, whenever we lose something or someone precious to us (our relationship), we begin to experience a whole range of ‘loss-cycle’emotions that feel like being thrust on some awful, uncontrollable roller coaster, with it’s dramatic and confusing ups and downs. This cycle is a necessary human journey, helping us process the change. And while we all experience the journey in our own unique way, there will be times, as you recover from your separation, when you may feel overwhelmed by the different stages of grieving the loss i.e. sadness, anger guilt, depression, etc.
Your children experience these emotions too! So now, more than ever, they are depending on you to be your ‘whole, strong self’ at a time when you’re probably feeling the least emotionally resilient. Remember that they have to adjust to being with only one of you at a time. And they suddenly find they are always missing one parent. It’s easy to see why they may also find it hard to share you with their siblings. So if you are able to set aside special time with each child, they will really appreciate the 1-2-1 attention and you will be able to enjoy them more – instead of feeling like you are being stretched or pulled in different directions.