A Journey through Separation Ep1

Claire Macklin, Separation Coach

A podcast with Claire Macklin, separation coach on the initial stages of separation. In this episode we discuss building strong support networks, controlling the controllable, top tips on setting your intention to help you how to survive the initial stages of separation.

How to survive the initial stages of separation - top tips from separation coach Claire Macklin

The initial stage of separation can be difficult and painful, whether you’re the one who has made the decision, you have mutually agreed to separate, or your partner has dropped an unexpected bombshell on you.

Your emotions are likely to be running high, and you may feel completely overwhelmed.  At the same time, you need to carry on looking after your children, going to work, and doing all the normal “everyday” things.

We spoke with separation Claire Macklin for her top tips on surviving the initial stage of separation:

Create a strong support network 

Knowing who is in your support network is vital.  Some of the important people in your network in those early days might include:

  • a “3am friend” – that person you know you can call any time, day or night
  • people who can help you with practicalities like a school pick up/drop off
  • friends who feed you when you’re struggling to eat
  • someone you can check in with every day, just to say hello

Make a list of those friends and family and stick it to your fridge.  Even though you might feel like hiding away from the world, this is a time to rely on your support network and often a time when you realise who your true friends really are. You may also be surprised by some of the people who really are there for you.

Rely on the radiators and avoid the drains 

Be choosy about who you spend time with….

Spend time with your radiator friends or family – those who are positive, optimistic and buoyant, and in whose company you feel better.

Avoid those people who drain your energy.  Perhaps they put a negative spin on things, they always have problems 10 times worse than yours, they gossip, or they tell you what you “should” do.

Control the controllables 

You may be feeling completely overwhelmed and things may feel like they are spinning out of control.  This is really normal – so Claire advises focusing on what you CAN control, for example:

  • what you wear: rather than wearing your oldest tracksuit, wear colours that help you to feel better, and clothes that make you feel good.   Dress for how you want to feel.
  • the music you listen to, and the programmes you watch on TV.  Now is not the time for sad love songs and weepy romantic movies.
  • who you talk to, and listen to.
  • which messages you reply to, and which you place on mute.
  • the words you use, and the way you respond.  You can’t control your ex partner’s words or actions, but you can take a deep breath and control yours.

When you focus on the little things you can control, you are beginning to take back your power.

Set your intention 

Claire recommends asking yourself who you want to be in this process? When you reflect on this period of life in 5 years’ time how do you want to feel about what you did and said?   Do you want this period of time to impact you negatively for years to come?

Claire describes setting an intention to be “dignified at all times” in her first, sudden, separation.  This meant taking deep breaths when strong emotions rose, reminding herself to “Stop, breathe, think before responding”, and not replying to angry emails for at least 24 hours.

And importantly, set an intention to look after YOU.

How to manage work?

At a time when there are policies for people facing a bereavement or those who may be going through the menopause, it’s encouraging to see that lots of work places are developing policies to support those who are going through separation. If you need time off and you’re struggling with your mental health, reach out for support and prioritise your health. The key is to look after yourself – put on your own oxygen mask before the oxygen mask of others.

The legal bit 

We specialise in advising unmarried couples who do not have the same rights as married couples, there is no family financial pot to be divided and no claim to a pension. In the initial stages we advise clients to pull together key documents such as market appraisals of the family home, an up to date redemption statement from the lender and if possible to find out their borrowing capacity by seeing a mortgage broker.

It may also be helpful to pull together a comprehensive spreadsheet of income, outgoings, savings and investments. Taking these steps and coming to the initial meeting with this information will prove useful but we are always happy to talk to clients at whatever stage they may be at.

We work with other professionals collaboratively to support our clients. We are aware of the difficulties our client’s face when going through separation and we provide a supportive and empathetic approach when advising our clients at what can be a very difficult time in their lives.

For more information about Claire Macklin, separation coach click here, and for more tips on surviving the early days, click here.