Relationship problems: 'We're splitting up - what happens next?'

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My partner and I have made the decision to split up. The kids will stay with me, but I'm terrified of life alone. What happens now? Charlie, Aberyswyth

Dr Pam says

Having been divorced with two young children I know how terrifying this is, Charlie, but I can assure you that you're going to be fine - you just have to accept the highs and lows and face them head-on. These tips will help?

1. Respect your ex

He may be your ex-partner but he's the father of your children, so don't put him down to them. Make sure you?re fair about access visits and never use them to try and get back at him.

2. Don't be proud

Make sure you let friends and family know that you appreciate and need their support. Don't be a martyr and pretend everything's OK particularly when you?re going through a bad patch.

3. Expect the unexpected

One day you may be surprisingly happy, the next completely down. Go with it, take advantage of your good days and get out and do new things. Then ring your best mate and cry down the phone on your bad days.

4. Ring the changes

Take up something that you always wanted do, but didn't because your ex didn't enjoy it. This helps prove to yourself that you as an individual have your own tastes and no longer have to rely on your ex for deciding what to do in your spare time.

5. Don't become a break-up bore

Ask your friends or family to tell you if you're droning on about your ex. The less you say about him, the less you think about him, and you'll move on more quickly.

6. Take your time

Don't rush into romance, but look for a bit of fun and friendship if you start to date again. Remember, 90% of rebound relationships break up!

What do you think Charlie should do? Have your say in our comments section below

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I recently split up with my partner of 8 years, although we did not live together, our relationship has been stormy. I have no confidence, feel worthless and am paranoid every time I go out. My ex-partner has been controlling for a number of years, putting me down, telling me what to wear, who to see and what career path I should take - even what I should read! I am a single mom and work full-time with two sons, and really enjoy my job - it gives me a sense of purpose. We only used to see each other weekends and over Christmas, he left me in the pub saying I was a mad woman and physcopath! I had a few to drink with his friends and told them what he was really like - he is charming when he is out with his mates, but behind closed doors he is very abusive, which has affected my confidence immensely. After I left the pub, I went round to his house and we had a huge row - he was laughing at me saying I was pathetic - I smashed some items up in his house and flew into a rage, which I deeply regret now and am sorry for. His family have just found out and told him that I am a nutter - they have not seen the years of abuse I have endured for years and are taking his side, he does everything for his daughters, but they do not see the horrible side of him. I do not like to gossip and tell them that there dad is not as he seems, but he is so charming when he is with other people. My father died just over a month ago and I had to use my ex-partner's car to go to the hospital - when I met him, he told me how bad I looked and when I returned the car to park it properly! He works a few miles from where I live, but decided to go home instead of being with me. I went out with some friends for the first time in ages a week ago and spoke to one of his friends about how well my sons are doing - my ex-partner found out and called me a slag! He has accused me of being at places, when I have actually been at work. I do not need any financial support from him for me and my two sons, but emotionally I feel drained. I feel worthless, stupid and inadequate - my job and my sons are the only thing keeping me going at the moment - I am now scared to go out. Please help - what do I do? I do not feel I can carry on. Love Lorraine x

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