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Breaking up is hard to do

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William Wordsworth’s reflections in 1807 still represent the healthiest way to look back on lost love:
“Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.”

At Maguire Family Law we see people at various stages of relationship breakdown. It is rarely, if ever, an easy and painless process. Choosing a Family Law Solicitor who understands your needs is vital in helping to guide you through the process.

Points  to consider before you leave a relationship:

How will I feel & react?

Imagine yourself in the moment. Don’t just envisage one reaction. Include all possible emotions; sadness, regret, joy, liberation, relief. Sometimes being unrealistic and overly optimistic can lead to disappointment during the transition. Rarely will this life altering decision go off without a hitch. Often considering the worst possible outcome can make it easier to face and deal with.

Sunk – cost theory:

Human nature dictates that we are motivated against loss versus the possibility of gain. If you focus too much on what you have invested in the relationship  you will have trouble leaving and, if you do muster the courage to leave, the later focus can be on all that has been lost. If you can identify this flaw you can focus on reframing those thoughts as they arise.

Definition of self:

Psychologist, Patricia Linville found that those who have a complex definition of self find transition easier to cope with. Does being someone’s husband / wife define you? The more this role defines you the more difficult any transition will be. Mentally get a sense of the impending upheaval if that role is removed from your life.

Managing uncertainty:

If you are prepared for change you should have already thought the process through. Do you fall into the ‘approach’ or ‘avoidance’ category? Avoiders will persist at a task / relationship / job for fear of failure even though it is already doomed. At Maguire Family Law this is something we often see. Clients will come for an initial chat, information gathering, and we may not see them again for 12 months when they have finally come to terms with moving forward.  This situation cannot be rushed and has to be taken at a pace to suit the individual. ‘Approachers’ will accept the failing and look elsewhere for the possibility of success. These clients have a strong sense of moving forward, making change and knowing what they want to achieve. Analyse past experience / decisions and decide what personality you are. This could assist you in helping to break the cycle and make positive change.

Stress management:

Are you ‘action – oriented’ or ‘state – oriented’?
Action- oriented personalities, similar to ‘approachers’ will identify the problem and act decisively, undistracted by negative emotions. State – orientated, conversely, find it difficult to manage negative thoughts and can allow these to dominate. This group are sensitive to external cues and need them in order to progress. This group will also procrastinate and will benefit from some support, encouragement and deadlines in order to progress.

Throughout be kind to yourself. Don’t let negative emotions take over. Reactions of friends and family can sometimes be equally devastating. You must remember that this reaction is more about their fears than your situation. Friends can find that it puts their own marriage / relationship under scrutiny and forces them to evaluate their own fears and dreams. I have known situations where husband’s no longer allow their wives to go out with their newly single friend for fear divorce may be contagious! You may find that support comes in new guises and this is all part of moving on and changing. There are growing numbers of divorcees and single parents families and therefore plenty of growing support out there in the form of groups, forums and blogs.

In the words of Shakespeare:

‘All things are ready, if the mind be so.’

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: or telephone:

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