Tasks of Separating

Now I want to talk about the tasks of separating. It's important to separate partner issues from parenting issues. Being able to identify your tasks helps you to separate them from the tasks your children face.

There are seven basic "tasks" of separating:

One is Showing sadness. It's important to express sadness over the loss of your partner, as well as the end of hopes and dreams for the relationship. A loss that is not mourned can result in you not letting go of your interest in your former partner's life.

Two: Reclaiming myself. This involves separating yourself from the relationship and establishing a new sense of self-identity. It is the move from "we" to "I." It helps to remember the strengths you had before the relationship. It also helps to reach out to trusted friends and family members. You may wish to take advantage of counselling from Elders and other counsellors to help sort out your feelings. You need to take care of yourself physically as well as emotionally.

Three is Resolving anger and resentment. Separation can bring on feelings that can affect you for years. Emotional flashbacks or bitter feelings can be stirred up when you see your former partner or hear about what he or she is doing. It is important to resolve anger and resentment in a healthy way in order to move on. When anger continues, the children can be harmed.

Four is Dealing with changes in your other relationships. There may be changes in the way you relate to friends you had as a couple, and to your extended family and your ex-spouse's extended family. You need to deal with these relationships in a healthy way.

Number five is Dealing with your finances. It is likely that your finances will change upon separation. You may have short-term problems dealing with a drop in income. You will need a different short-term and long-term financial plan. If necessary, get some advice.

Sixth on the list is Gaining new confidence, and moving on. This task involves finding the courage to try new activities and new roles.

The seventh task is Rebuilding. This final task builds upon the others. The goal is to create a new, healthy relationship or to have a satisfying life as a single person.