Starting over in love
Break-ups are never easy, but they can teach us a lot about ourselves and help us grow.
According to Statistics South Africa’s Marriages and Divorces 2014 study, the divorce rate increased by 3.4% from 2013 to 2014. Most divorces involve marriages that lasted between five and nine years, and the average age for
divorce is 43 for men and 40 for women. Over half of these failed marriages occurred in families with children under
18 years old.
The harsh reality is that divorce rates are on the rise. Despite how heart-breaking that is, it’s important to remember that if you’re going through a break-up, you’re not alone. More and more women are learning to cope with failed
relationships, and start over in love. Stacey Lewis, founder of Thedivorcesource.co.za and author of Divorce 101: Survive & Thrive, shares her thoughts on overcoming breakups in a healthy way.
‘Whether or not you’ve initiated the end of your relationship, it’s going to be a major life stressor,’ says Stacey.
‘Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you’re going through something huge that’ll take time to work through.’
- Surround yourself with loving, supportive people who uplift you and want the best for you.
- Pain, anger, and even guilt are normal feelings. But things will not be bad forever – it will get easier
- Realise that just because our relationships sometimes fail, doesn’t make us failures.
- Allow yourself to gradually let go of the past and the thoughts of ‘If only…’
- Transform your pain into energy to come out of your break-up happier, healthier, and stronger.
- Make a conscious decision to take small steps towards choosing happiness and rebuilding your life every
day. Try journal writing or finding three things that you’re grateful for each day.
Your Family’s advice
Janine Collins, Editor
‘Getting over even the most amicable divorce can take years. And if there are children involved, it’ll change your parenting landscape forever. Don’t rush into another relationship; it’ll only introduce another difficult dynamic for you and the kids to adjust to/ Cherish your children, help them heal, and adjust to the split together. Figure out who you really are; marriage, motherhood and divorce will have changed you.’
‘When you are ready, decide what you really want from a relationship. It’s not just about finding a partner to share your life with – ask what your children need from this potential ‘step’ parent. This person must tick many boxes and be ready to accept your “baggage” without compromise’
Carryl Bristow, Art Director
‘Life’s too short to wallow in a failed relationship. If a relationship’s been particularly toxic and you’ve been made to
feel inadequate, your confidence levels will be low and it’ll take time to feel comfortable with yourself again. Don’t pressure yourself into making big decisions in any area of your life. Instead, surround yourself with people who make you feel valued.’
‘Be your own best friend; do what makes you happy, process your feelings, understand what you need and want, and you’ll soon have the right mindset to make decisions.’
Margie Els-Burger, Food Editor
‘Now’s the perfect time to be selfish: cook the foods you like, watch the movies you enjoy, do everything you enjoyed before your relationship. Grieve, but never in front of your ex.’
‘Be positive when you’re out and about so that if you bump into him, you won’t feel embarrassed, but empowered.
Exercise, even if you’d rather just eat chocolate. Nothing feels better than getting into shape and knowing you
Joni Nel, Digital Editor
‘Don’t contact your ex for at least four months after a break-up. Speaking to them just brings back good memories
and makes you miss them, but you really need to establish how you feel without them. Sometimes when you text your
ex, you feel terrible and embarrassed the moment you’ve hit “send”. If you really need to send your thoughts and feelings to someone, send them to a friend you can trust. You’ll get it out of your system without any awkward or hurtful text conversations with your ex!’
Nomvuselelo Mncube, Food Assistant
‘If you’re thinking of ending your relationship, listen to your heart and don’t do anything you’ll regret later. Once the relationship’s over, accept it and give yourself time to grieve. Stay single until you’re really ready to commit again; don’t risk hurting someone who might be more invested than you are. Don’t let past hurt influence your new relationship.’
Elsa De Beer, Office Manager
‘Get rid of all the anger and pain by crying your heart out. If you have unanswered questions, wait until you’re less emotional before calmly asking your ex for answers and getting closure.’
‘When children are involved, never say anything bad about your ex in front of them. They need both parents and they should love and respect both parents.’
‘Move forward with your life; you never know what wonderful things are waiting just around the corner!’
Francis Germishuys, Marketing Co-Ordinator
‘The most difficult part of a break-up is adapting to change. We fall into a routine and comfort zone with our partners and the “change” of them leaving us sends our world tumbling down. This is the perfect time to be productive. Clean out your cupboards, throw out old clothes connected to memories, learn a new skill, or explore a new adventure. In the end, you’ll see everything happens for a reason, this is just a part of your life’s lessons, and it’ll only make you stronger!’
Candice Curtis, Features Writer
‘It might sound dramatic, but consider a few sessions with a therapist. An objective third party can really help you
put things into perspective and process your feelings. See your single status as an opportunity to redesign your life; put yourself first, learn who you really are outside a relationship, know your worth, love who you are, and get comfortable with your own flaws so you never change yourself for anyone. That was the best thing I ever did for myself!’
FEATURE: CANDICE CURTIS AND PHOTO: FOTOLIA.COM