TV presenter Helen Skelton and actress Thandiwe Newton have split from their husbands.
Here, divorce coach Sarah Woodward reveals the best way to survive a break-up while separating fact from fiction.
Divorce coach Sarah Woodward reveals the best way to survive a break-up while separating fact from fiction
Helen Skelton has split up with husband Richie Myler
WHOEVER ended the relationship, the aftermath can be equally difficult for both of you, reckons Sarah.
The divorce and positive psychology coach says: “Nobody goes into a relationship thinking it won’t last, so you’re grieving for the future you imagined together.
“The weeks and months that follow can be overwhelming and you may even feel like you have moved on until a trigger — such as your ex meeting a new partner — puts you back in the cycle of grief again.
“Try not to mistake this for still having feelings for your ex. It’s normal to feel a rollercoaster of emotions.”
Some experts suggest it can take six months to heal for every year of a relationship.
Sarah adds: “Keep reminding yourself why it didn’t work and when your mood is low, plan things to look forward to with people you like being around.”
TAKE off those rose-tinted glasses and try not to romanticise your relationship.
Sarah says: “Make a list of everything that you were not happy with while you were with your ex.
“Maybe he wasn’t sensible with money, or never helped out with the kids. Write down what was missing and refer back to the list regularly.
“Look at those big compromises you made in the relationship. Using these techniques can help you to work out what you want in a new relationship.
“Post-traumatic growth is where we thrive and flourish after trauma, like a divorce.”
A CLEAN break is often encouraged, with friends saying: “You don’t owe them anything.” But after several years together, you do owe them respect.
It is not nice being the last to know your ex has someone new.
Sarah says: “Once you start moving on with your life — meet a new partner, have a baby or get married — it’s respectful to tell your ex yourself, if you’re still on good terms with them.
“Finding out from someone else could cause anger and resentment.
“Ideally, tell them in person. For example, if you’re co-parenting after the split and still see them regularly.
“Whichever way you tell them, stick to the facts — not about how happy you are if they are still heartbroken about your split.
“Although a rebound relationship may be tempting, make sure you really are over your ex before you start dating again.
“Make sure you’re happy on your own first and that you’re not just telling your ex about a new partner as a type of revenge.”
Once you start moving on with your life — meet a new partner, have a baby or get married — it’s respectful to tell your ex yourself, if you’re still on good terms with them.
CONSTANT reminders of your ex can be painful. So it might be wise to part ways digitally too, at least for a while.
Sarah says: “At the very least, unfollow your ex on social media in the short term. The last thing you need is to see posts showing what an amazing time they’re seemingly having after your break-up.
“A lot of social media isn’t real. People only post the parts of their life they want you to see and now is the time to focus on yourself.
“If they’re not on social media, try to refrain from asking mutual friends what they’ve been up to.”
SOME couples manage to remain good friends after their split once the dust has settled if their split was amicable.
Just because you did not work out as a couple, it does not mean you have to abandon your friendship.
Sarah says: “If there are no children involved, you may find one or both of you needs breathing space before agreeing on whether you stay in touch in the long run, and the amount of contact you have.
“Decide together whether you will speak on the phone or stick to the occasional message.
“You both need to have moved on emotionally for this to work and for it not to be painful for either of you.
“If you’ve been in a long-term relationship, you probably know each other better than anyone else and can be a source of support to each other as friends, long-term.
“If you are in the early stages of a difficult break-up, minimise contact with your ex and their family, at least in the short term.”
If there are no children involved, you may find one or both of you needs breathing space before agreeing on whether you stay in touch in the long run, and the amount of contact you have.
SARAH says: “If you had a great relationship with your ex you will always have fond memories of the time you spent together, which is normal.
“You don’t want to wipe out that time in your life — it’s part of your history.
“It’s about being able to move on with your life and starting a new chapter where you’re happy and fulfilled again and you don’t feel guilty.
“You can be perfectly happy with a new life and a relationship but still cherish past memories.”
SARAH says: “Following a break-up it’s essential you and your partner show a united front, despite what might be going on behind the scenes.
“You must both put the kids’ wellbeing first, always.
“As soon as possible after the split, tell them where the other partner will be living and when they will see them in future.
“Kids like routine and it helps to reduce their anxiety in this period of change.
“If possible, it’s better to tell the children once you have most of the details worked out so they are not left in a period of limbo.
“If you are able to keep things amicable, consider spending special occasions such as Christmas together so the kids do not feel torn between you.”
Following a break-up it’s essential you and your partner show a united front, despite what might be going on behind the scenes. You must both put the kids’ wellbeing first, always.
SARAH says: “The kids don’t need to know all the reasons why you are splitting, especially if they are young.
“If you are tempted to tell them the details, ask yourself what you are trying to achieve.
“Kids are very perceptive and if there have been arguments and tension at home they will have picked up on it.
“Agree between you in advance what reason you will give them for the break-up if they ask, and keep it simple, using age-appropriate language.
“Never bad-mouth your ex in front of the kids.”
CALLING time on a relationship need not be messy.
Sarah says: “When a long-term relationship breaks down, the key is being respectful and considerate of the other person’s feelings.
“Untangling your lives after many years together can be overwhelming, especially if you are still trying to come to terms with the emotional fallout.
“Make a list of the financial commitments and bank accounts you have together, such as your mortgage, TV subscriptions, broadband and car loans.
“Agree who will terminate them or take them on. Setting up a spreadsheet with all your outgoings and incomings will help your decision-making.
“Review your will, or make one if you don’t have one, your pension beneficiaries and life insurance as part of the split.
“A financial adviser will be able to support you.”
Thandiwe Newton has split from husband Ol Parker