Surviving Your Split – 6 tips on how to get through
Surviving Your Split, by Lucy and Rebekah Mannering, is out today in all good bookshops and mup.com.au
This is the ultimate guide to surviving and thriving your split. Written by two sisters, both lawyers and divorcees, Lucy and Rebekah Mannering both survived their splits. As lawyers who grew up in a family of lawyers, even they felt confronted by their strange new world. Surviving Your Split: A guide to separation, divorce and family law in Australia is the book they wished they'd had.
Experts say that it takes slightly less than half of a relationship to get over the end of that relationship, which will initially seem horrifying but seems roughly to be true. We encourage you to be kind to yourself, step away from your phone, and read these helpful tips on what else you should do in the first few days of your split.
Who moves out?
It's a very good idea if one of you move out as soon as you've decided that the relationship is over. If you're the one doing the leaving, try and have a plan about where you'll go once you've had that conversation. Make the plan before you have the talk. Don't leave any doors slightly ajar when you're relaying your decision to your former spouse: say firmly, "I want a divorce, and I'm leaving."
What do I tell the kids?
You don't need to tell the kids anything today. Take some time to think about how you'd like the news to be shared with them. Think about their needs, about your relationship with them. Think about your ex's relationship with them. A lot of this discussion will depend on the age of your kids. But they don't need to be told anything immediately, necessarily. However, expect it to be a hard conversation, and in our experiences, it's generally best to take some time to get your own emotions sorted first.
Do I need to lawyer up?
Lawyers are really expensive. Even comfortably well-off people may find that with their family income literally halving overnight, the cost of lawyers is prohibitive. We understand that, which is partly why we wrote this book. Access to justice shouldn't be just the preserve of the very wealthy.
The dangers of messaging your ex
Both legally and personally, it's very important that you don't send angry, hate-filled texts messages to your ex. Or at the very least, try to limit yourself to one a day. You will fail at this, but every time you send a text, think to yourself, "How will I feel when this goes into a written legal statement in the Family of Federal Circuit Court—or in an application for a protection order?' Getting it off your chest is not worth it, and it's also potentially evidence that will be used against you.
Ask yourself, 'is this text or email necessary? Is it kind? Is it helpful?' And if the answer is 'none of the above', write it out and send it to your sister, or your best friend, or yourself.
Why do I feel so bad?
All of this is really hard. As we've discussed, for many, many people separation and divorce is the second mos thorrible thing they can go through. It's called the human condition. Grieving and understanding how grief works is a process that you will have to accept. People grieve differently and at different rates. If you made the decision to end th emarriage, you've done a fair bit of grieving already. But if you're the party who was totally blindsided, you have to start at the first stage of grief.
The most important thing to remember is that grief is a process and it takes time. Be kind and patient.
Cut yourself some slack
You're not Gwyneth Paltrow or Chris Martin—you're not consciously uncoupling you're getting D-I-V-O-R-C-E-D and it's horrible. Part of cutting yourself some slack is to start the process of learning that your former spouse is not your soft place to fall anymore—if in fact they ever were. Changes are, you'll miss the idea of them far more than the reality of living with them. So don't call them, don't text them, don't beg, don't engage at all for the first few days.
Above all, make you to protect yourself emotionally, regardless of what happens. Your only job for these first few days is to get through them.