“Associated with the process of one partner leaving and the other partner left behind is control. The partner who is left feels helpless and powerless because, if they wanted the relationship to work or would like to give it another go, they are unable to do so because of their partner’s decision. Feelings of loss of control increase the sense of powerlessness and can often trigger anxiety or depression. While there is generally a high rate of depression associated with marital break-up the partner who is left is increasingly more vulnerable to experiencing depression.”

- ‘Shared Care or Divided Lives? What’s best for children when parents separate.’ Dr Phil Watts

When it comes to separating, there will be likely fundamental process differences in relation to grieving the relationship. The person who has decided to leave may have been grieving the relationship for some time—this can be years. In this way their grief has likely to be processed to an end point of resolution to separate in readiness for their ‘new beginning’.

Conversely, the person who has been left is likely to be in the early stages of grief which can include denial, shock, bargaining and at times anger. It can take some time to arrive at the point of acceptance that the relationship is now over. This process can be traumatic to navigate, especially when there may be children to the relationship with their own emerging needs and perceptions to their parent’s separating.

Here at SBCP we recognise that some relationships can come to a natural end. We provide support to either party in this predicament to assist them to identify their emerging needs and wants and develop skills to communicate these in a way that minimises conflict between the separating parties.

We also keep in the foreground considerations for each parent of what is in the best interest of the children throughout the process of the separation. Research continually suggests it is on-going conflict between the parents that is likely to psychologically and emotionally harm children in their development—not the actual separation.

Medicare rebates are available with a GP Mental Health Care Plan. Private Health Fund rebates may apply (no referral required).

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