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Most people don’t want to separate and divorce, even if they want their relationship to end. Separation and everything that follows is a time most people would like to wake up and find is over. Getting through it is all you can do, but there are some helpful things to think about. Maybe the most important of those is that there’s a lot of life after divorce. And lots of happy life. I hear this over again from my clients, but I also hear that they didn’t know it during their separation, so I offer you this piece of hope and encouragement.

The crisis of separation is about loss, and grieving for your loss is normal and necessary, with whatever help you need to do that. Offloading the baggage of blame, guilt, anger and hurt is also necessary to heal. A number of my clients have told me that they made a decision early on to fake it until they made it, practising getting rid of their baggage every day, because that’s what kept them stuck in their grief.

Gratitude has been a buzz word in recent times, but being grateful is one of the common features I have seen in people who are managing to move away from the past. I was really struck when I heard about a gratitude study at Berkeley, which found that life prisoners had some of the longest lists of things they felt grateful for. There are physical and psychological health benefits of articulating what you are grateful for apparently, and every separating person can do with that kind of good news.

There seems to come a time for people when, instead of thinking most about the past, they start to think about their future with at least some optimism, and with gratitude for what they have or have avoided. A positive attitude to the future can sneak up on you, and I hope it does, for all that life that’s yet to be lived.