"But I Thought You Would....:Unrealistic Expectations For A Break-Up or Divorce"

couple breaking up

       The old song, "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" still rings true in most cases.  Separations or divorce is never easy.  Other times, one or both partners see the breakup as an opportunity to start a new life or to expand their horizons. Sometimes couples try counseling and decide that splitting up is the best option for them.

         Sometimes when partners have separated, they may have unrealistic expectations of themselves and others. Having hopes about how things might go can give partners a positive sense of direction. However, relying on those hopes to make things better can lessen the control they have over their lives.  Nobody know what the future holds.

Below are some expectations that can be unrealistic or, at the very least, unlikely:

      -   Children always behaving well. There is usually a period of adjustment after a break-up and many children don't know how to express their anger or sadness any other way than by acting out. Be aware that this is a real possibility for your children, at least initially.

      -   Knowing what to do all the time. It's easy to fall into the mental trap of thinking that freedom from a partner will make things easier, when in reality the opposite can ring true.  There are tasks and things as simple as fixing a leaky faucet or knowing how to put together a piece of furniture that you took for granted because your partner did them.

     - Life going on unchanged. Let's face it, no matter how short of time you may have lived with your spouse or lover, NOT living with them will change your life. Being single has it's own set of challenges as well as advantages.

     - The same level of productivity at work. There is always a period of adjustment for you at work, whether you work for yourself of someone else.  You may find yourself unable to focus as well or maybe a little irritable.  Being patient with yourself and letting your co-workers know, if they don't already, can help to alleviate some of the stress in this adjustment period.

    - Unchanged self-esteem.  Break-ups can take a toll on anybody's self-esteem. There is inevitably questioning of oneself, guilt, remorse and a variety of other unwanted feelings. This is all very normal. Just feel them and let them pass through you.

    -  Unchanged friendships. Break-ups can have the unintended consequence of friendships changing.  Sometimes friends will take sides and align with one partner and this can be hurtful. It can be part of the break-up and sometimes shocking when someone you were formally close to suddenly abandons you.

    - Economic stability.  Some people take for granted that their standard of living will remain the same after divorce or separation. If both partners were employed, it's sometimes a shock to find that your income comes up short with bills and disposable income.

      Again, break-ups are never easy and some assumptions and expectations about life after a split are far removed from reality many times.  Counseling can help you navigate through a major transition and should be considered, particularly if your grief is overwhelming or depression sets in and affects your ability to function at your job or daily living.