Separating from a spouse could be a highly distressing and painful experience. While the experience of separation is not the same for everyone, research shows that separation from a spouse could be considered as one of the most stressful life events. This is mainly due to the number of life changes that it typically brings with it, and thus the changes that the person undergoing marital separation needs to adjust to. In this blog, which will be divided into two parts, I wish to write about what could support coping when a person is struggling with the distress experienced while undergoing marital separation.
While a varied number of reasons could have led someone to separate from their spouse, persons may experience a sense of loss triggered by the process of separation (Carr, 2006). This sense of loss could be attributed to different things, such as the loss of the hopes and dreams for the relationship with the spouse, the loss of attachment with the spouse, or the loss of routine and life as it was prior to the separation. As with other losses that we may experience in life, grieving for a relationship, a routine, a dream or a lifestyle is a process and it may bring with it a number of feelings, some that the person might expect, and other that might come unexpectedly.
Research shows that social support is a very valuable factor that helps with coping and providing a sense of wellbeing during this difficult period. Having someone you trust who you could safely talk to about your emotions and experiences could help you with feeling supported and with providing you with a sense of connection with others. Social support also helps to buffer possible feelings of loneliness and isolation which could arise while separating with a spouse and while trying to find yourself now that you are facing a new situation in your life.
The second part of this blog will continue to explore other ideas that could support a person with coping with the distress which could be experienced while undergoing marital separation.
Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.