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What to do at a breakup

What to do at a breakup

Posted On: 12 March

by Daniel Coates

The internet is full of hints and tips on how to look after yourself following a break-up, and while they don’t all provide the same advice, there are some consistent themes.   One of the most common tips, and usually the first one on many lists is to cut all contact with your ex.

Sounds sensible, but how do you do that if you have children together, or live in the same home and neither can afford to move out?

I think this is one of the most critical times in how a couple will deal with each other moving forward and sets the bedrock for their post-relationship relationship.  During the relationship, the saying “it’s a lot easier to ask forgiveness than permission” applies, but it is completely the opposite after.

My tips to keep your post-relationship relationship as good as it can be:

  • Take the high road.  It is all too easy to let a break-up become the green light to release all those pent-up frustrations out, to say what you couldn’t before.  Leave that for your friends.  There will inevitably be things said that may slip through – don’t forget that “Anger” is a stage in grief – but recognise and apologise as soon as possible;
  • No surprises.  Withdrawing the family savings to “safe-guard it” – if there is any way to piss-off an ex, take joint money.  This will quite likely have the opposite effect, because you could bet your house (literally) on your ex “lawyering up”, which in turn might make you lawyer up, and $200,000 in anger-fueled legal fees later…  The same applies to new relationships, in fact, it is often best to leave any announcement or even whiff of a new relationship until after the dust settles on this one, including formalising the property settlement (and parenting if applicable);
  • Check in on yourself.  Your friends are great to have around, but unlikely to be truly unbiased, and are even more unlikely to be an unbiased mental health professional.  Friends can be “yes” people, which sometimes is not a good thing.  There is nothing wrong with checking in with a counsellor/psychologist to just talk through your emotions, doubts and thoughts – they are independent from your circle, and can offer that level of support needed;
  • Start planning for 5 years on.  Start focussing on the positives and the future, thinking about things you couldn’t do before, and focus on that.  Focussing on a positive future will help to keep you in a happy place.  Talk to professionals – financial advisors, counsellors, lawyers – not any one person ever has all the answers – and take what you like from them, and go for it!

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