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After the decision is made: navigating your emotional well-being by Lee Lam

In this instalment of Stowe guests, we are joined again by Lee Lam who runs a business consultancy and personal coaching business. Lee works with a variety of different clients, personal and business, as an advisor, consultant and coach through four key programmes.

Lee Lam works with the Stowe office in Esher and today joins us with a follow-up to her article on how to make the decision to move on from a relationship with advice on how to help your emotional well-being once the decision has been made.

A lot of focus is put on your decision, deciding if the relationship can be saved and if not, are you strong enough to do what needs to be done. After that point, there is a void between something finishing and something starting, and you feel in limbo both practically and emotionally. You receive a lot of support or opinions from others but how do you respond?

No-one has the right to know anything

Curiosity about your situation can show as concern or support but you have the right to tell others only what you want them to know. No matter how close they are to you, only you will know the details and it is worth remembering, so you don’t feel overly emotionally exposed. It is important to find your genuine sources of support – these are the ones who don’t ask questions but sit and listen.

Keep your internal self-talk consistent

There will be times when you question your decision – when it gets too hard, or too complex. If you assume that you made the best decision you could at that time, then when you feel yourself wobble, you can bring it back down to the consistent thread of reasoning. Why did I make the decision? What were the circumstances that led me there? Have they changed in a way that makes me want to rethink my decision? This self-talk should not force you to keep to the decision but rather offer you a few questions that check that your decision holds. This is different to panicking and wanting to retreat into the safety of what you knew. This is about calming your self-doubt enough to feel confident that it is still the right decision to make.

What do you want your children to see?

You are a critical role model to your children and during separation this becomes important. They look to the two of you for how to act and behave and how to interpret what is happening in the context of their self-identity. The questions that you are asking of yourselves are the ones that they are asking and finding a way to explore the answers honestly and authentically will help them feel their way. Conversely, seeing yourself as a role model for your children can also help you gain some clarity and confidence over the situation. You find that you have far more resilience and capacity for strength than you may have realised.

Are you triggering other people?

There is always a ripple effect when a change to the status quo happens to your families or friend circles. Because it is forcing a change that others may not want to accept, they try to influence you through guilt. They ask why you are putting yourself /partner /children /family through this. They question whether your relationship was really bad and could it have been salvaged. They ask things that you have been asking yourself and so you can’t dismiss or answer it. But their response is about them, not you. It may be contrary to their beliefs around relationships, marriage or parenting.

Everyone has the right to an opinion, but when that opinion becomes a judgement that is not healthy. It may have shone a light on their own relationship that they are unwilling to acknowledge. If this is someone who you relied on, this is hard. But it is not healthy for you to be around them until they have recognised that the situation is not going to change and that your decision doesn’t have to impact their choices (unless they want it to).

Finding consistency in both your choices and your boundaries helps you and those around you adjust to your new future.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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