Separation is a stressful event in anyone's life and it can provoke a range of difficult feelings or response.

When a couple separate or get divorced, the responses that occur are often compared to the responses people have when there is a death in the family. Of course, separation is different from a death because your ex-spouse is still around.

Do you have any of the following feelings?

  • rage and anger
  • guilt and remorse
  • fear and insecurity
  • abandonment and loneliness
  • rejection, feeling unwanted
  • finding it hard to let go of the relationship
  • ambivalence and confusion.

Are any of the following happening to you?

  • mood swings - up and down
  • paralysis or frenetic action
  • not eating or eating too much
  • drinking more
  • accident prone
  • nightmares or sleeplessness
  • sudden overwhelming tears
  • not able to go to work.

People often report they feel the loss of the following:

  • partner/marriage/children
  • familiar roles/routines
  • full-time parenting role
  • friends/relations
  • feeling of security - anxiety about future
  • money and financial security
  • life style
  • self image - success
  • future dreams.

These responses, all painful and distressing, are perfectly normal. If you are going through separation, you probably have other feelings that you could add to the list.

The good news is that, given time, most people face these intense feelings and go on to lead fulfilling and happy lives.


Read more about how you can cope with separation and divorce in these free booklets:

Women and Separation booklet (pdf)

Men and Separation booklet (pdf)

There is also a copy of the booklet, Men and Separation, for migrant men, available in English and Arabic.

Migrant Men and Separation - English (pdf)

Migrant Men and Separation - Arabic (pdf)

Family Separation: A Guide for Teens - advice for teens coping with separation, published by the Child Support Agency.