People act as if breakups are just a part of life and do not realize it is as painful as divorce.
Anyone going through a breakup or a divorce experiences an emotional roller coaster. It is necessary to grieve the death of the relationship. To fully heal, one must go through all five of the grieving stages, anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance. There is no set order or time limit for each stage of grieving. You may go from one to another several times before getting to acceptance. There is also no set time. It may take one person a few days to go through this process, while it takes another person, years. This all depends on your overall mental health, self-esteem, length of time you were together and how much healing/grieving you did while you were in the relationship.
In grieving a breakup or divorce, you must be able to feel all emotions. Give yourself permission to cry, to be angry and to be happy! When you are feeling down, experience the emotion, allowing it to just be. Do not judge or criticize your feelings. They are a part of the healing process. If you are sad, tell yourself, "I know and accept the fact that I am sad right this minute. However, I know that I will be happy again."
Couples that have only been dating and not cohabitating, have it a bit easier in the healing department. They have not connected 100-percent of their life together, and can take comfort in a home without hundreds of reminders that the person they have been living with is no longer there. There is still pain involved.
On the other hand, if a couple has resided together for months or years they experience the same emotional roller coaster as those that have been married. They also have many of the same issues to deal with. For instance, many couples that reside together have joint assets and bank accounts. They have merged their lives together as one family unit. They share the same dishes, furniture and home. They may have children in common or may have a dearly loved pet that they have both grown fond of.
Both married and cohabitating partners will need to decide who keeps the children and pets, how much time each parent will spend with children and property divisions. Fights will incur over the silliest of things, such as who gets to keep the big screen TV that was purchased together or who gets certain DVDs.
If there are his, her and their children, it will be necessary to decide if you will allow the other partner to see your separate children. Your child might have grown very close to your soon to be ex and could experience separation anxiety. Your children may have grown very close to his children and think of them as siblings.
Next: The differences between breakups and divorce...
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