Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Goodbye 2014 - Hello 2015...!


After almost a year of being single, 31st December seems a good time to reflect on the past twelve months and see just how much I've achieved. While a relationship break up right at the start of 2014 and being part of a horrific police investigation in June (long story) must rate as the lows, I can honestly say that the highs have been more than I could've ever hoped for.

On the work front I had a pay rise, was given extra hours and more responsibilities which has not only boosted my income but also my self esteem. Regarding my health, I lost weight and got fitter, and on a personal level becoming closer to my children has obviously been the icing on the cake. I've also met some lovely new people, learnt different skills, featured in a local newspaper, attended several large events and even enjoyed a fabulous winter holiday in the sunshine.

Now I can't wait to see what the next 12 months have in store for me.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas Day With the Ones You Love...


Often, once you find out that Santa doesn't actually exist and after many years of naff pressies, being skint, dreary weather and endless repeats on the telly, Christmas can become a rather tedious affair. However, there are certain things that can lift the spirits of even the most un-christmassy amongst us. 

This year I've been treated to a wonderful Christmas Day with my precious daughters; plus one; and that's the most fabulous gift that any mum can ever ask for. Plenty of Yuletide hugs, bags full of lovely presents, much cheery banter and lots of laughter. We pulled crackers and wore party hats before tucking into cheesy biscuits, Pringles and filled rolls all washed down with bucketfuls of tea. I am a very lucky lady indeed this festive season. 

Here's to good health and continued happiness for 2015. Cheers!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Only Way is Topless..


Just got back from a fantastic week of winter sun in Gran Canaria and I think I'm still a bit tipsy.

A few thankyous; to Bex for being naturally blonde in every way possible, to Ian for being so sweet (and for explaining the lighthouse thing), to Carol for introducing me to Baileys on the rocks, to Paul for all those brandies, to Len and Maria for all those fascinating travel tales and to Stefano - REALLY?!

Also, muchas gracias to all of the very fit waiters for providing high quality Spanish eye candy for the entire 7 days. Those tight black t-shirts over rippling muscles made an old lady very happy!

I think I learnt more in the past 7 days than I did in the past 7 years! Apparently 9 Bailies on the rocks isn't enough to numb the tedium of Country music... but 10 is. Going topless round the pool is a liberating experience and hilarious to watch all those wives giving their husbands the evil eye if they so much as glance up from their kindles. And hangovers are easily cured via the late breakfast menu at the poolside bar - where all-inclusive alcohol provides hair-of-the-dog to accompany the 'full English'.

Feliz Navidad / Merry Christmas - hic!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Festive Cheers...


I'm not usually a fan of this time of year, quite the opposite in fact, and my first single Christmas could've seemed quite daunting had it not been for my wonderfully supportive friends and family members. My social life has come on in leaps and bounds in recent months and instead of potentially facing a rather uneventful yuletide, my diary is positively brimming.

So, while Jack Frost ensures the outdoor temperatures remain sub-zero, I've been all toasty and warm in my lounge writing on endless Christmas cards and wrapping an enormous pile of gifts; a task made all the merrier when accompanied by a large glass of mulled wine... without the mulled bits. Cheers!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Every Journey Begins With a Single Step...


If you've made some great new friends since being single, chances are they've recently introduced you to some equally great new places and experiences. This can be quite an eye-opener, especially if you've been a bit 'set in your ways' up until now. If you'd previously been too unsure of yourself to hop across the channel on a ferry, or not had the confidence to join an evening class, then these types of activities, along with hundreds more, can now become a regular part of your exciting new life.

Instead of being a hermit or sticking to a familiar routine to avoid anything 'scary', the world can now potentially be your oyster. Don't make excuses any more, jump in with both feet and allow yourself to feel truly alive.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Road Trip...


Every now and again it's quite nice to take the day off from work, household chores, general mundane necessities, or your ex - who's just added you on a social media site, and go on a road trip with some gal pals. It needn't cost a fortune, take all day or even be a long way from home; it's just good to get in a car and go somewhere different for a few hours.

It really is amazing how much fun can be had on an autumn afternoon with a well-stocked picnic hamper, a couple of bottles of something that makes you feel all silly and a few hilarious mates. Cheers to the simple pleasures in life, and thank heavens for a corkscrew!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Make It Happen...


When the weather is cold / wet / miserable and the long-term forecast is for much more of the same, it's essential to avoid feeling down in the dumps, otherwise it's going to be a very long winter indeed. Instead of mooching around the house looking for biscuits to scoff on the sofa while watching trashy daytime telly, try to do something positive for yourself.

If you've been carrying a bit of excess baggage, use this opportunity while you're stuck indoors to address the issue, even if it's simply a case of dusting off your old exercise bike. If you're looking at increasing your job prospects do some research and use the internet to learn some new skills. If you're feeling a bit lonely take this opportunity to write a few long overdue emails to old friends (or, even nicer, write letters by hand!)

Just think; by next spring you could very well be slimmer, fitter, have new earning potential and have re-connected with some special people. Don't sit around waiting for good things to happen; MAKE them happen! 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Do Different...



This sunny, autumnal afternoon I was taking my usual route along a well-trodden path when the nearby sound of screeching children assaulted my ears (forgot it was half term). Keen to avoid anything spoiling my peace and tranquillity I took a left turn instead of going right, and there in front of me appeared to be a hidden pathway through the undergrowth. I never even knew it existed!

As I explored these unfamiliar surroundings I came across all manner of woodland treats such as beautiful dragonflies, a pretty little wooden bridge and the crystal clear water of a stream. Epiphanies can happen when you least expect them, and as I glanced at my own reflection, a metaphor for life entered my head;  If, when you get to a junction you always ALWAYS turn right, just for once in your life turn left. You never know what hidden treasures you might find...

How exciting!!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Pushing Boundaries...


Whether you work for yourself or somebody else, if an opportunity ever arises where you can mix business with pleasure don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take up the opportunity of networking. This can mean anything from accepting an invitation to join a breakfast club in order to gain valuable new connections of your own, to being asked to represent your firm at a large charity event.

I chose the latter and stepped into my boss's formidable shoes to attend a very posh and grown-up Cancer Research fundraiser hosted by an important client. A year ago I would never have had the self-confidence to take on such a daunting task, however, since being single I've been pushing my own boundries more and more by grabbing life with both hands and simply 'going for it!' I have to admit that spending an evening with lovely people, enjoying a superb buffet in spectacular surroundings while chatting informally over a glass of something pink, fizzy and mildly alcoholic was infinitely more enjoyable than sitting on the sofa watching repeats of old sitcoms with a cup of tea. In fact, I now can't wait for the next one. Bring it on!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Familiar Faces...


When you're moving forward with your new, single life, it's comforting to know that you can rely on close friends and family members to be there for you, and it's especially nice when your grown-up children decide that they want to play an even bigger part in your life now that you're living on your own. Even if you've always had regular contact with them, it can be extremely reassuring to know that there's still plenty of hugs and kisses for their 'dear old mum'.

No matter how much busier your schedule is now to what it was a year ago, and no matter how many great new people you've met and exciting new places you've been to, there's nothing quite like spending a chilly autumn evening enjoying an uninterrupted, cosy, fireside chat with those who always have been, and always will be, the most important people in your life.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

What Was That Song By Madonna?


Oh yes.... H-O-L-I-D-A-Y!

When the weather's turned decidedly autumnal, and the cold & miserable winter is looming on the horizon, there's only one thing for it - book a fabulous, all-inclusive holiday somewhere hot! Obviously, this won't be a practical solution for everyone, but if you try to plan ahead and put aside whatever cash you can, it might not be beyond the realms of possibility that while everyone else has their central heating on full blast and are frozen solid simply walking to the car and back, you and your mates could be lounging around under a palm tree, sipping cocktails while letching at fit Spanish waiters! It's certainly something nice to focus on to get you through the misery of dark, damp mornings and even darker, damper evenings.

Even if funds are a little too low to consider such a luxury right at this moment in time, if you enjoy foreign travel and feel in need of some RnR in the not too distant future, there's nothing stopping you from creating a 'holiday fund' which you can stash any birthday and xmas money in, along with any unexpected windfalls. If you shop around you really can find some extremely affordable deals out there. The world is your oyster - so tuck in!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

New Friends...


When making a new life for yourself it can be quite useful to make some new friends, whether this means joining a new group or club, taking up a new hobby or just frequenting a new bar. By no means does this imply that you should immediately abandon all of your old mates; quite the opposite in fact; these people always have been and always will be a very important part of your life (although I could've done without the unexpected 'chummy' texts from my ex 9 months after he left), it simply means that you will now have a brand new group of pals who have only ever known you as 'you' and not as part of a couple. A few months ago, I'd have gladly stuck rusty nails in my eyes rather than join a gym class, but join I did and in all honesty it's completely changed my attitude.

Meeting fabulous new people can lead to a variety of different and exciting experiences, including visiting places you'd never actually been before, trying out new pastimes and exploring ideas and concepts you never thought possible.  It also inevitably leads onto making even more new friends, which can only be a good thing. Highly recommended for anyone trying to start afresh.


Friday, 3 October 2014

Kerching!



I've spent most of my adult life making ends meet on a somewhat limited budget, so in January, when the number of household residents at Chez Moi became 50% less, it made sense to me to budget for 50% lower monthly Direct Debits for the utility bills.

Nine months down the line it appears that one of us in my previous relationship must've been using rather more fuel and water than the other, as both Eon and Anglian Water have now delivered me a lovely big refund due to my current usage now being just 1/3 of what it was this time last year. 

Apparently, several months of overpaying my bills equals an unexpected windfall which means I can really treat myself this Christmas, and the luxury of being single means I don't have to share it with anyone else! Ho ho ho!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

New Wicks for Old Flames...


When your ex finds a new love it can bring mixed emotions. Depending on the circumstances, they may have already begun this relationship before they became your ex of course, but even if they managed to keep it in their pants for a week or two after walking out of the front door it can be quite a strange thing for you to deal with at first. (Although it should hardly come as a surprise that they instantly swap your bedsheets for someone else's when your guitarist ex's favourite joke of all time is 'What do you call a musician without a girlfriend? Homeless!')

My advice is to resist the temptation to drag the nearest person off the street and swing them from the chandelier in a blatant act of revenge sex. This may make a strangers day a bit more 'special' than they imagined when they woke up that morning, especially if they'd just popped out to buy a newspaper(!), but in the longrun you'll just feel cheap and nasty.

Just sit back and feel smug knowing that once the 'honeymoon period' is over someone else is eventually going to have to deal with all of the challenging stuff which you went through. You can also take great pleasure in the fact that if she was remotely involved in his mysterious vanishing acts during his relationship with you it'll only be a matter of time before he's playing Secret Squirrel once again with somebody else - a leopard never changes it's spots. Simply count your blessings that it's no longer YOUR problem.



Thursday, 11 September 2014

Digital De-cluttering...


If your ex had any kind of business registered at your postal address, it's a huge
relief when you finally get all of the online listings removed. Obviously, there's
nothing you can do about any hard-copy evidence of his/her links to your home, but
it's a positive step towards erasing all traces of them from your new single life.

It's also very cathartic to trawl through your hard-drive and removing your ex from
your computer's memory. There's little point in keeping pictures and videos on your
PC of the two of you all happy and smiling on holidays and day trips unless you look particularly good in them or you're a whizz with photoshop & video-editing
tools. Often, the reality is that those moments of joy were fleeting and don't
reflect the true story. Don't delude yourself into believing things were all pink &
fluffy when they obviously weren't. Move on, ditch the past and focus on the pink &
fluffy future ahead of you.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

One-upmanship...


It's not an attractive trait, but most of us secretly (or not so secretly) yearn to be doing rather much better than the ex after a break-up. Whether it's the first one to find someone new, or to be clearly financially better off, or even to look younger / slimmer / fitter, it's often somewhat of a race to out-do each other (consciously or subconsciously). 

Obviously, in order to know if you're the one who's 'winning' you have to somehow find out what the ex is up to. Sometimes this can be in the form of interrogating mutual friends, although this is a risky option which can end up alienating you from people (opening a whole new can of worms when word gets back to the person you've been distancing yourself from emotionally & physically for the past few months). However, with the world-wide-web at your fingertips it can be as easy as typing a name into google... and here lies the thin end of the wedge.

At a time when you need to be moving forward with your new life, and leaving the past behind, DON'T be tempted to waste even a minute of your day spying on what he/she has been up to since you split up. If you find out they're doing better then you'll feel hideous, and if you find out you're the one who's currently on top then you'll want to keep checking back just to make sure you remain on top. Resist the temptation. You wasted enough days / weeks / months / years when you were with them... don't waste another minute of your life obsessing over someone who's not going to be a part of your future.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Unhappy Anniversaries...


Key dates can be an unwelcome reminder of a recently ended relationship, and anniversaries even more so. It's tempting to think of what your life was before you'd met your ex; how slim you were, how carefree you'd been and so on. However, this is seldom helpful for your rehabilitation into single-hood and will only lead to more resentment of years 'wasted' and regrets over what might have been if only you'd chosen a different path all those years ago.

Instead, ignore the fact that your ex has recently sent you an unpleasant text message just because you refuse to allow him to keep his credit cards registered at your address any longer, (almost 8 months after he moved out), and try to focus on all your post-break-up achievements, no matter how small. It may be a nice new friend you've met, a few pounds of flab lost, managing to fix something yourself or even a new job you've just started. Leave what's gone behind you and embrace what happiness and excitement the future can hold.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Milestones...



When you hit that milestone of 6 months post-break-up it's a good time to take a moment to evaluate. Quite likely by now you've managed to get the household bills sorted and done lots of new stuff by yourself. Things won't have all gone to plan; there's probably been several upsets along the way but you're dealing with it.

Six months ago, when it was all fresh and raw, you might not have believed you could manage on your own, but putting some distance between emotional upheaval and current reality things become a little clearer. You've been given an opportunity to show the world (and yourself) what you're made of, so don't waste it.

However, no matter how fabulous and independent you've become, don't be afraid to ask for help - you haven't turned into Wonder-Woman in the past 6 months, and if you weren't able to do certain stuff before your break-up there's every likelihood you still can't do some of it. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness and definitely does NOT mean you can't cope as a single person.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Unlearning...



After several years of using 'coping strategies' to deal with a declining relationship, it can take time to adjust to being natural once that relationship has ended.

This can mean being comfortable once again with using words or phrases that used to trigger a negative or unwanted reaction, being able to finally send private emails knowing they're no longer all being read by a 3rd party, or allowing yourself to relax when out with friends knowing you won't get the inevitable texts or face the Spanish Inquisition when you get back home.

Unlearning old habits may well take weeks, months or even years in extreme cases, but if you can try to let go and relax, and just be yourself, you'll soon find that your true personality will eventually shine through. You just have to let it.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Minus One...


The minute you're single, it seems that certain 'well-meaning' chums can't wait for an opportunity to drag out the clichés - "Plenty more fish in the sea" or "You've got to get straight back in the saddle" and my personal favourite "You're not getting any younger!" Since when has 'singlehood' been stigmatized to the point at which your nearest and dearest can't bear to think of you without some bloke hanging off your arm?!

Being 'single' isn't an illness you should be 'cured' of as soon as possible, nor does it imply you're utterly 'unlovable'. It just means that at this moment in time you're enjoying your own company, probably recovering from the trials and tribulations of a bad relationship and (for once) you're getting used to being YOU again.

If and when you decide that you're willing/able to begin searching for your next 'plus one' is entirely your own choice. Personally, at this moment in time, especially after my ex sent me stroppy texts for refusing to allow him to keep his credit cards registered at MY address three months after he moved out, Hell would need to be substantially sub-zero before I'd consider walking down that particular road again.


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Not So fast...



With your new single status and fresh enthusiasm for being 'whoever you want to be', try not to be too much all at once. While it's a really positive sign that you're focussing on moving forward with your life, and being pro-active regarding your new social life, additional work commitments, recently acquired hobbies and so forth, do bear in mind that there is still only ONE of you and unless you have a time machine stashed away in your loft there are STILL only 24 hours in any given day.

Just because you made a 'to do' list it doesn't mean that you have to 'do' it all at once, no matter how much you want to. Try to reign it in a little and actually enjoy yourself rather than indulging in some manic, whirlwind of activities that can only realistically end with you holed up in bed suffering from exhaustion a couple of months down the line.

I know it's all new and scary and exciting and that once you get to a certain age, when you have more birthdays behind you than potentially ahead of you, it's tempting to make the most of every second of every minute, of every hour.... But do try to take a moment or two out of your jam-packed schedule to savour these new experiences. You'll get far more pleasure out of it if you do.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

His Stuff...


Its unlikely that when your ex moved out he managed to take ALL of his belongings with him. Depending on individual circumstances, you'll either be making a bonfire or putting his forgotten items to one side for him (or a mutual friend who's been delegated the unenviable role of 'official liaison officer') to collect it at a later date. 

Which ever route you take, I can strongly recommend setting aside a box (or boxes) in which to put his electric toothbrush charger, odd sock, 2010 Ferrari calender and so on as and when you find them. It's far easier to deal with his 'leftovers' if they're all in one place (preferably out of sight) rather than when they're littered about in full view. The last thing you need when you're moving on with your new life is constant reminders of your past, especially when you're trying to adjust from it being "our home" to "my home".


Spring Cleaning...



When dealing with a major change of circumstances, spring cleaning your personal life gives you a good excuse to spring clean your home at the same time. Chances are that when your partner left, they took a fair amount of household stuff as well as their belongings, which can be a bit of a shock to the system if it was done in a relatively short space of time.

When I was first faced with the sight of the lounge after the filing cabinet, CD racks and so on were removed, and cupboards and drawers emptied, I was shocked and overwhelmed. I imagined this must be similar to the feelings of seeing your home the first time after a burglary. Even though you'd possibly nagged for certain items to be tidied away, the fact they've now vanished completely can be quite unsettling.

However, the good thing now is that you can actually get to all those neglected nooks and crannies in order to give them a damned good clean. I have to admit that all that dusting, hoovering, polishing and scrubbing was really quite cathartic and did help to take my mind off other things. It probably helped burn off a few extra calories too. Result!

Weight...


As a habitual comfort-eater, I'd gained several pounds over the years (ok, stones), so it's come as something as a surprise that during this highly stressful period of adjustment in later life I've actually lost a couple of inches off my lower regions. Whether it's down to the fact I've done a lot more walking in recent weeks than usual (walking is when I'm better able to think through problems), or that my new shopping list no longer contains crisps, chocolates, cheese or white bread, I can't be entirely certain. 

I'm not too bothered about the whys and wherefores, but am delighted that I can finally get my size 18, non-stretch jeans past my knees. Actually, when I cautiously tried them on last weekend they squeezed up over all the flab and cellulite (gross) and up as far as my waist! True, I had to lay on the bed to zip them up, and I couldn't sit down in them for fear of rupturing vital internal organs, but hopefully in another couple of months I'll finally be able to get rid of my chavvy old elasticated jogging bottoms. Who'd have thought it?!

Yes You Can (Sometimes)...


When unexpected technical issues arise, if you're a bit of a Luddite like myself, you might automatically flick through Yellow Pages and end up paying megabucks for some young chap to spend all of two minutes solving your problem. That's fine if you have the funds to justify the expense, but if the purse strings are a little on the tight side, and you don't have a tech-savvy friend (or friend's husband) who's willing/able to help, you have nothing much to lose by taking a look yourself (obviously being EXTREMELY careful with electricity!)

When my TV stopped working, and the message on the screen said something about having no digital signal, after having a major panic attack I decided to see if I could see what the problem was BEFORE forking out a £65 call out charge to Sky.

Hidden behind the TV cabinet was a cable, with bare wires sticking out of the end. That's not 'normal'! After switching off all the electrics I traced the cable back to the satellite dish. Ah! THAT'S why there was 'no signal'. When I looked at the back of the Sky box I could see one cable-less metal socket thingy (technical term). Must've accidently pulled it apart when I  moved the cabinet to vacuum. Unsure as to how I could fit the wire back into the socket (without blowing up the telly) I went on YouTube - voilà. Several helpful videos on exactly how to fit a Sky Cable to a connector. I must admit, I was ever-so-slightly terrified when I flicked the switch back on, but when my TV came back to life not only was I extremely relieved, I felt a smidgeon of pride in myself that I DID IT!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Get Out...



I must admit, than when well-meaning friends offered to meet me in town for coffee soon after my break-up I was thinking of every excuse under the sun to get out of it. I wasn't feeling well (I was fine). The weather was too bad (it wasn't). I have to be somewhere else (I didn't). However, there's only so long you can keep fobbing people off before they give up asking, so I bit the bullet, brushed my hair for the first time in a week, put some shoes on rather than my tatty slippers and I walked out of the front door.

Real friends will understand that you're feeling a bit 'fragile' and will happily tolerate hearing all the boring details for the 10th time because they care about you. Once you've been out into the big wide world a few times your confidence will definitely grow and what once felt a terrifying prospect will become a real pleasure.

To Do List...



This might seem like a tedious chore, and to be honest it's not exactly a barrel of laughs, but it WILL help you to focus your mind and potentially keep you from wasting your life watching daytime tv.

Obviously, Post-It notes are great, but my preferred method is a text document on my pc. Write yourself a list (or several lists) of everything you NEED to do and then everything you WANT to do. Obviously, using the pc method you can edit it without the need for tippex, and move things around as your priorities change.

The need to do list is vital as it'll contain the boring but essential tasks like getting household bills put in your name, contacting the local council for your council tax 'single-person occupancy' 25% discount, cancelling any non-essential direct debits and so on. The want to do list is where you write/type all the 'fun' things which will prevent you from becoming a hermit, such as all the people you want to have coffee with this month, local events you fancy going to and anything else that floats your boat. Just because you're now single doesn't mean you have to hide behind closed doors...quite the opposite in fact!

Money...



Chances are, that now you're living on your own you only have YOUR income to rely on for paying the bills. This, for some, will be a daunting prospect (depending on your circumstances). Even though you'll be feeling emotionally drained and very fragile, it's important to try to get to grips with creating some sort of budget as soon as humanly possible, even though it's the last thing you feel like doing. Hiding under the duvet with a bottle of Southern Comfort and multi-pack of Quavers may seem like an excellent idea, but it won't actually balance the books and may well give you the headache from hell the next morning.

Whether you prefer using the old fashioned pen & paper method, or like to create spreadsheets (or even simple text documents) on your computer, the sooner you make a list of ALL your outgoings and income the better. Chances are, the bills total might just be ever so slightly bigger than the wages one.

If so, double-check the bills list, going through it looking for anything that's not absolutely essential (gym membership you haven't used in 6 months, newspaper delivery when you've been slinging the paper in the recycle bin without reading it etc) and cancel them immediately. I was astonished to find out just how much I'd wasted over just one year on a daily newspaper that I could read online for free! When I found out just how many free channels I could get with my existing Sky box I cancelled the £20 a month contract. That's an instant saving of £240 a year! To be honest I wish I'd done it years ago.

Firsts...



When you're newly-single, it soon becomes apparent that there are an awful lot of firsts in your new life, and none are quite so overwhelming as the first time you venture into Tescos to buy 'meals-for-one'. When you've spent all of your adult life shopping for children and/or partners, it's extremely strange to no longer need certain aisles. You end up automatically in the meat section - even though you're vegetarian. You pick up men's deodorant that's on special offer and ALMOST put it in the trolley. You look at enormous boxes of cereals thinking that will last a week when in reality it'll last 6 months or more!

The best thing to do when faced with this type of situation is not to ask too much of yourself. Don't try to figure out what a 'weekly shop' for one will involve, but just get enough to tide you over for a few days. Little and often will slowly re-build your confidence, and will prevent you from bulk-buying perishables which will end up in the bin. Now is not the time to be wasting your hard earnt cash.

Not So Happy Endings...



Not So Happy Endings.

When relationships break down, for whatever reason, it’s always a difficult time for all involved. Whether it’s the knee-jerk reaction from a massive argument or the inevitable outcome of a partnership that is way past it’s sell by date, the aftermath can be a real challenge for everyone who finds themselves caught up in the crossfire. This can put friends and family members into very awkward situations, which often ends up with people taking sides. This him versus her situation is something that isn’t particularly helpful as it simply adds another unpleasant dimension to what is already something horrid. However, if both sides can remain at least civil to each other, this can help to ease the pain a little. Mud-slinging and general ongoing accusations are not helpful to anyone.

Usually, someone (or sometimes both parties) have to move out of what has been their home for probably several years. Most of the time it’s obvious who should move out but it’s not always the case, which simply adds another objectionable dimension to the whole situation.

Once the decision has been made there are numerous issues to be dealt with immediately. Someone has to pack up their belongings and find a new place to stay, and at short notice this can be quite a challenge. Friends and family may offer a bed for a few nights and a garage or shed to store things, but a long-term solution needs to be found if the displaced person is to avoid living out of boxes for any length of time. For the person leaving, it’s often much harder.

Once the person who has remained at the property is eventually alone, it will most likely hit them like a ten ton truck. They may be relieved but it’s likely that they’ll also feel shock and sadness at the breaking of emotional ties. There may be financial worries or practical concerns to deal with as well. While it’s really difficult for the person who’s moved out of their home it cannot be assumed that the person left behind has an easy ride.

For the one now home alone, keeping busy usually helps to focus the mind but it’s only a temporary fix. Manic cleaning is therapeutic for a while but when there’s nothing else to scrub the feelings of loss can no longer be suppressed. It’s better to let the emotions out sooner rather than later, even if you don’t want to, as once this period of grief is completed the ability to begin moving on is made a little bit easier.

Communication during the breaking up process, without animosity if humanly possible, is the key to relieving some of the pain, although this depends on the individual circumstances of course. On a practical level there is the need for a forwarding address for mail, unless you can agree that the other person can collect it regularly, or send a trusted friend to collect letters and parcels. For the person no longer residing at the property, there seems an unending number of people and places to inform of the change in address; from GP the surgery, to banks and insurance companies.

If children are involved there’s the complicated process of access to go through. Again, this will very much depend on individual circumstances. For situations where children are not involved there will probably still be thorny points to address. This can mean anything from payment of bills to custody of a much-loved pet.

Once the dust has settled, the tears have dried and your stomach has settled sufficiently for you to think about venturing outdoors, there’s a scary new world of firsts to contend with. The first time you walk out of the front door as a ‘single’ person after a break-up can make a familiar street feel like an unknown route. The first time in a supermarket will see you wandering down aisles that you no longer need to be in. You may feel like you’ve become a very tiny person or that everyone is staring at you. The first time back at work can feel unnerving, but a necessary evil now that there’s one less income coming in.

Whether you choose to announce recent events on social networking sites, or take the more subtle approach of explaining to a small selection of friends and family members individually, word will soon get around of your new situation. The hugs and kind words are meant to be a comfort, but even though they are well meant they can often reduce you to a flood of tears. No matter how much the break-up was needed or inevitable, your emotions will be all over the place for quite some time and you’ll need to learn to adjust to your new status.

There’s also ‘protocol’ to follow. What do you do if your recent ex’s family or close friends want to stay in touch, for example? Every situation will be different for every person, but diplomacy will be needed to avoid appearing to be treading on any toes or to prevent being accused of deliberately stirring up trouble.

When you invest a lot of time and emotion in a relationship the last thing you want is to abandon it, but sometimes you have to admit to yourself, and to the other person, that the relationship has run its course. Sometimes this will come from a particular incident while other times it happens when you both finally accept that things simply cannot continue as they are and that a decision needs to be made to prevent any further unhappiness. It’s an immensely difficult thing to admit to, that a relationship has ended, but it’s also a very merciful thing to do.

Break-ups are often acrimonious affairs which are made all the more challenging due to the event, or events, leading up to the final split. However, if both parties can be tactful and considerate to each other, this challenging experience can be made a tiny bit more bearable. This can then smooth the way towards both people being able to move on with their lives in a more positive light.