Breaking up with someone, any long-term partner whether you have been married or not is difficult. Not only do you miss the closeness of having that one special person to share life with and to confide in, but also if it was a serious relationship, you inevitable have other losses.
One of the most difficult losses for me when I went through my divorce was losing a part of my family. Of course I was terribly hurt that my relationship had ended, but the loss of a number of people who I had been close to for nine years stung. I felt as though I had lost another set of parents, brother, sister, grandparents. People I had cared about deeply were no longer able to be close to me, as family loyalty of course comes first. Although I am still on good terms with my ex in-laws, it can never be how it was and of course we do not speak regularly although when we do I always greatly appreciate it. However it is nice to know that they are well and happy and still able to have regular contact with my son, their first grandchild. It is important for his sake to be able to have quality time with his paternal family and I am glad he is able to spend time with them every year for a holiday. He always comes back with lovely stories of how Nanna took him to the zoo and how he helped Grandpa in his vegetable patch. They live in a beautiful Cotswold village, just idyllic for a young boy to have wonderful adventures in the countryside.
Of course it is not only the family that you lose, but inevitable the friendships as well. Some friends, who knew one of you before you became a couple, unavoidably have to take sides. This is easy to understand as it would make their life extremely difficult to remain good friends with both parties, particularly in the early stages of a separation, but however logical it is, it does not mean you feel their loss any less keenly.
There are also the children to consider, despite how devastated you may be feeling; your child is undoubtedly feeling worse. Their whole world has been turned upside down and particularly young children cannot comprehend the reasons for this. Therefore it is particularly important to let them know that both parents still love them dearly and the separation was nothing to do with regards to your feelings towards them. My son still struggles with his parents being divorced and I still feel guilty that he may suffer some ill effects of being a child of separated parents. I feel that I was unable to prevent the hurt he must have experienced, however I try my best to make the situation as easy as possible for him. I want him to grow up feeling secure and loved by all of his family.
Life goes on and what is important is learning from these past relationships. I have learnt to be more cautious, but not to stop living. I have learnt that you need to trust again in order to move forward. I have learnt that there is no point in feeling guilty for something that you had no control over and finally I have learnt that every moment is precious. Things can change in a blink of an eye and so enjoy the present, laugh, love, experience the pain and the joy of living; it is how we know we are truly alive.