Losses and Changes

With separation, adults experience loss at many levels. On one level, we lose the person we were once involved with. At another level, we lose the hopes or dreams we had for the relationship. It affects our physical health, mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health. The diagram on the following page outlines some of the losses and changes you may be experiencing.

It may take years to fully recover from a separation. Many Aboriginal communities view the process of recovery as similar to the process of grieving. You might want to talk with Elders, clan members, or others in your community to deal with your grief.

Your children are also going through a grieving process. Just ask Kyle; he knows all about it. His parents separated when he was nine.

My parents separated when I was nine. I felt really sad at first, and so did my mom and dad. It was a really hard time, but I always felt better when they hugged me and and said things would be okay and told me they loved me. Now I'm 12, and I'm used to having parents who live in two different places. It's the same for a lot of my friends, too.

This next diagram is a medicine wheel showing the different aspects of health you need to strengthen after a separation.

When you lose the hopes and dreams for your relationship, your spiritual health can be affected. Loss of identity, loss of sharing, social changes, changes in your parental role, and changes in social activities can affect your emotional health. Loss of your sexual partner, loss of friends and in-laws, changes in the family structure, physical changes, financial and economic changes, and changes in social activities can affect your physical health. Loss of hopes and expectations, loss of routine and structure, and handling legal changes can affect your mental health.