Divorce & Separation Counseling
Taking the decision to end a relationship or marriage is difficult, no matter what your circumstances are. Not only are there a lot of deeply-rooted emotions involved, there are often a lot of practicalities to consider, which can make it an especially difficult transition to make in life. There are many common reasons for a relationship breakdown, the process of moving on from separation and how a counselor or therapist can support you during this time. Our Naperville divorce and separation counselors and therapists are here to support you during this challenging process.
What is separation or divorce counseling?
Separation counseling can make some sense of what seems like a catastrophe. Affairs, betrayal and arguments are usually symptoms of deeper problems which have been in the relationship for some time. These might relate to communication problems or issues of trust which are unresolved.
As a couple, it can be helpful to gain closure on your lives together. Having an ‘ending’ can allow you to better understand what was good and what was less helpful in the relationship. Counseling can be an opportunity to explore the deeper problems, that either went unnoticed or felt impossible to deal with. This chance to minimize hurt and hostility can allow for a less bitter future.
Counseling can help address issues relating to separation and divorce by:
- Minimizing the impact on children and other family members.
- Helping make sense of what has happened.
- Allowing for change and progression.
- Offering perspective and closure.
How does it differ from couples counseling?
Separation counseling differs from couples counseling or marriage guidance, where the aim is for partners to seek to improve their relationship and find a way forward together. This type of counseling aims to resolve issues and improve communication in an intimate relationship.
Couples counseling works with both people in the relationship, however, sessions can start with one individual, working towards the involvement of the other partner.
When do couples decide to divorce?
There are many reasons why a couple may choose to separate but, ultimately, divorce and separation are admissions that a relationship no longer works. Despair and loss of love visit most relationships – a divorce is often used as a bid to leave the despair and disappointment behind.
If a couple cannot respect each other and loathing is their only link, they may be asked to consider a permanent separation. When there is abuse, violence or repeated betrayal present in the relationship then again, separation may be advised. Other reasons couples may decide to separate include after an affair, because of arguments or due to sexual problems.
For many couples, there can be an unbearable sense of failure and disappointment, and this can be explored in counselling. This can help to reduce bitterness and allow a way forward – together or individually.
The implications of divorce or separation
Some people say that separation from a long-term relationship is one of the toughest experiences to deal with. It can be difficult to simply ‘move on’.
Moving on can be particularly tough if you have to remain in contact with your ex-partner, for instance, if you have children together. You will likely still see or speak to one another, in order for the ‘parenting relationship’ to continue. Other situations such as living together can also drag the process out, making it harder for both parties to move on.
Below are some of the topics that can be discussed in a divorce or separation counseling session:
If children are involved:
If you have children, you’ll need to make arrangements for looking after your children and share financial support for your children with your ex-partner. Agreeing about these things is separate from the legal paperwork that officially ends your relationship.
With all of these changes happening, separation can affect children in a multitude of ways. While you might think you know your child better than anyone, their feelings may not always be obvious, even to you. So how do you keep your child up to date without hurting their feelings?
Try to put yourself in their shoes – it’s a traumatic event. An ideal world for them is both of their parents living together happily. The impact of separation can be reduced for children, however, by separating peacefully. For instance, cooperation when sorting out the finances, living arrangements and other legalities, can greatly reduce the emotional stress for yourself and for your children.
Many couples who are separating argue for one reason or another, whether it’s over belongings, children or money. It’s important to remember, though, that there is a difference between arguing and being assertive.
Being assertive will help you to approach divorce with a positive attitude that can help create an environment where all parties get their needs met. Trying to avoid aggression or seeking revenge can help you communicate better with your ex-partner. And, if you are able to make your own agreements between you, you can usually avoid going to court hearings, which can add yet more stress to the situation.
You can still stand up for yourself and to say how you feel when you need to, just remember that in the long run, arguments won’t be beneficial in helping you to move on.
Starting a new journey
It can be hard to see it in a positive light at the outset, but the end of your relationship offers a new beginning. It can take a while, but you will find the motivation to start a new journey. Speaking with a professional may help you in a number of ways, including:
- Looking for new, long-term happiness.
- Gaining a positive mindset for the future.
- Becoming courageous in new endeavours.
A separation or divorce counselor can help you through this tough time, with the aim of securing your long-term happiness.
Our family therapists also run groups to help you navigate the challenges of parenting alongside others who are experiencing the same challenges.
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