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Divorce survival pack

There is such a huge difference between the immensely powerful feelings experienced at the beginning of a relationship compared with the immensely powerful but almost opposite feelings experienced at the end of a relationship that it is hard to believe that those feelings can be held by the one person and it is just as hard to believe that those feelings may be experienced about the same person.

We go from the attraction, the stupidity, the hilarity, the excitement, the fun, the madness and the romance to the seriousness, the dread, the worry, the fear and sometimes to the dislike, the loathing and the hate.

The front-end and the back-end of a relationship can both turn the calm and rational individual into an overwhelmed emotional wreck. Falling out of love can create highs and lows from week to week from day-to-day or from hour to hour. Sometimes anything is possible and sometimes nothing is possible.

So how can all of this be survivable? The answer lies in the fact that all of it affects most people. It has affected so many people who have eventually painfully navigated their way through the choppy waters that it is possible to pull together some principles that can improve the prospects of a better outcome.

1 Stay positive

There are times when the emotion of it all can simply become overwhelming. But at the other times knowing in your mind that you can cope and will cope helps to shape the extent and the duration of those overwhelming feelings. Eventually it can help them to reduce and having something to look forward to every day and every week or every month helps to keep you focused on recovery.


2 Patience

Not always easy - but absolutely crucial if you intend to get through this process with your soul and your dignity intact. Remember that things said and done in the heat of the moment cannot be unsaid or undone in the cold light of day (and some of them might even end up being looked at in court 18 months later when they might appear very foolish indeed). A quick solution is often driven by emotion but most people will accept that if possible emotion should not unduly influence serious and important decisions. A good decision taken quickly will still be a good decision if taken later after patient thought but a bad decision will also remain a bad decision but it will be accompanied by the opportunity for regret.

3 Have something else to do

Although it is massively important divorce should not be all consuming. In order to remain sufficiently grounded to be able to take good rational decisions – or to look after children - we all need to have some sort of healthy outlet whether it is a hobby, sport, friends, food, family or whatever. Sometimes this can be combined with staying positive and getting into new experiences.

A very large proportion of us experience divorce and separation at a stage in our lives when in reality we will find that life has in store for us another relationship just around the corner. Lots of people go on to a new stage in life that is even better than where they were before and that their new place in life is better even than the good parts of the previous relationship. It is a simple fact that the majority of people separate or divorce after at least a short period of unhappiness and sometimes a period of unhappiness that has lasted for years. For those people simply being released from the trauma of the unhappiness is in itself a remarkable improvement.

So although divorce and separation is almost always painful it is something that the vast majority of us can deal with and is often the precursor to a more settled or even happier stage of our lives.

Ian Stirzaker


Ian is the Senior Partner and Head of Family Law at SME Solicitors. Please contact him or Joanna Gardner for specialist help and advice in all aspects of family law at or


Added: 01 Oct 2019 11:38

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