5 Top Tips At The Beginning Of A Relationship Breakdown

At The Divorce Surgery we encourage all our couples to access help from the right experts at the right time. We would like to showcase what various professionals can offer separating couples, and will be regularly posting ‘Top Tips’ from experts across the field. This week our guest writer is relationship therapist Adele Ballantyne, who founded the Eleda Consultancy.


Deciding to end a relationship is a complex and difficult process and is not arrived at easily. Equally being told your relationship is at an end, is often a shocking and emotionally traumatic event.

It is common for those leaving and for those being left, to experience similar feelings despite how things might appear from the outside.

When you separate, especially if you have children you begin two disparate journeys;

  • The breakdown of an adult relationship
  • The beginning of a co-parenting relationship

It is important for your own sake and for the sake of your children, as you begin your separation, that you try to keep these two issues distinct.

Below are five top tips to consider at the beginning of your journey.



1. Don’t panic 

Try to stay calm. Your mind will be in over-drive, your emotions will be on a roller coaster. The desire to hurt each other and to defend your ground or punish will be huge.

Often, decisions made at the outset of separation can influence what happens in the long term. I would say that unless there is a safety issue, then taking time to pause and reflect before moving forward is more helpful to you, your children and your soon to be ex.

2. Get some help

Information, education, training and support from a variety of experts will help you to understand and manage the emotional journey, help you to help your children through what’s coming next, and guide you through the legal process in the best way possible, hopefully avoiding a trip to court.

3. Create a support network

Choose wisely the friends and family who you can lean on for emotional support and helpful advice. Try to avoid posting on social media, believe me when I say, it might make you feel better in the short term, but it won’t last and could make things a lot worse.

Find someone whom you can trust to get you through the emotional, co-parenting and the legal process. Seeing a Relationship Therapist, one lawyer together and a financial expert is a great start.

4. Communicate 

However you are feeling, and especially if you have children, communication has never been more important. A therapist can help you to understand how you communicate together and enhance it using techniques to develop comprehension and assertiveness, bringing much needed clarity to your conversations.

If you have both been working with a therapist, they can sometimes accompany you to legal meetings if you feel it will help.

5. Look after yourself

It is important that you look after yourself whilst you are going through these difficult times. Your body functions better when it has regular sleep, food and exercise. When you separate you experience loss, uncertainty and bereavement for the relationship you had.

Emotional and chemical changes happen to you which may cause insomnia, loss of appetite and anxiety to name but a few. Trying to eat regularly and getting rest (even if you can’t manage sleep) will give you strength to get through the challenges ahead. Importantly it sends a positive message to your children that self-care matters.


If you have more questions about this topic or any other legal issues arising on divorce or separation, please do get in touch as we are always happy to help. You can call us on 0203 488 4475 or email contact@thedivorcesurgery.co.uk.


Author Name: Adele Ballantyne
ABallantyne Adele Ballantyne is the founder of Eleda Consultancy Limited. Helping individuals, couples and families across the UK and working with organisations including, NHS Trusts and corporate organisations. More recently Adele has been providing seminars and workshops for family solicitors, barristers, mediators and judges, examining relationship break-down from a Relationship Psychology view point and providing strategies for improving outcomes with clients. Her work includes helping separating couples through the difficult process of divorce in a therapeutic way and by attending collaborative round table meetings with couples. A keen and active member of the Resolution Parenting After Parting and Collaborative Working Group committees and committed to ‘No Fault Divorce’ and non-court dispute resolution. The main focus of the work is to enable the process of divorce to change in order that couples emerge with a more positive outlook. Limit the emotional damage to children caused by this process and most importantly, co-parent their children in the future.

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