Dr Isabelle Hung on five steps to the support you need to get through your breakup
1. Make a list of the potential support network you have. Think about who you know and how each person might be able to support you. For example, some people might be amazing at offering emotional advice, some people are great with money, and others will be brilliant to go out with and dance the night away.
Remember to include people you haven’t seen for years but used to be close to. You may be surprised how many of those people might enjoy hearing from old friends.
2. Contact your support network, tell them what has happened and ask for their help, advice or simply their company.
If you ask, you’ll likely be surprised at how many people will be there to help you. Some people don’t feel comfortable making the first move and are really happy when you reach out to them. They’ll be ready to support you when you ask them to step up!
3. Spend more time with those you find helpful and less time with those who are unhelpful. If anyone you are spending time with makes you feel worse – have a think about why this is. If you need to, limit the amount of time you spend with them, or if it feels appropriate, carefully explain to them how you are feeling. You don’t have to offend people, but you do need to be kind to yourself and accept how you are feeling in a given moment
4. Make new friends. You will want and need friends to go and do things that you may have done with your partner. Making new friends will likely be both fun and rewarding.
5. Get professional help. Finally if you find that support tails off before you feel ready, there’s no shame in getting professional help. There’s no shame in finding professional help at any time – but at this moment, when you feel your friends and family can’t help so much anymore, it might prove particularly useful. It’s common to draw on professional therapy (free or paid for) to help come to terms with loss and think of future relationships.
Ask you friends whether they know someone good. Your GP will be able to advise you of local and free counselling.
This period can be a real opportunity to develop the relationships you have and hopefully strengthen ties with friends and family.
Let us know who helped you and how they helped – and do let us know if you have any questions or want any support.
Dr Isabelle Hung is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and clinical psychologist. Having got through her own divorce just three years ago, she is now remarried and happy to report that divorce really is an opportunity for growth and positive change.