One of the few things harder than maintaining a thriving relationship is dealing with an ending. Whether from the loss of a partner to death, going through a divorce or dealing with a breakup after you’ve merged lives and finances, it’s never easy to move on in a different direction. Regardless of which side you might find yourself in the aftermath of a breakup and losing a partner, especially unexpectedly, the experience can be life altering on many levels.
No one begins a relationship of any kind with the anticipation that it will end.
There are as many reasons for new beginnings, as there are stars in the sky. Every day, my team and I hear stories of good relationships ending and it’s been our experience that there are quite a few things that you can actually do to make the most of this difficult situation.
We hear about the reasons behind breakups all the time…from a wife who might describe the demise of her marriage by saying, “we just grew apart” to a widow who’s lost her partner of fifty years.
While all of these situations are unique, here are six things that you can do if you ever find yourself facing a new beginning:
Keep a clear head.
Change is always difficult and it’s easy to get off-kilter. When you’ve suffered a loss, it’s imperative that you give yourself time to catch your breath and get your bearings. Though you won’t have to feel like you’re being selfish for very long, you have to keep the following mantra in mind (courtesy of our friends, the airline attendants):
“In the event of an emergency, please secure your mask before assisting other passengers.”
No matter how it may feel, it’s actually rare that any decision has to be made immediately. Remember that during the early days of a transition, you must take care of yourself emotionally.
Know your numbers.
When you enter a transition, it’s important that you assess your financial situation. It’s important to know your income and your outflow. Most people don’t love to budget (there’s a reason why financial stress is the leading cause of relationship problems amongst adults) but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Financial stress is a fact of life in your –new- life, at least for a little while.
There’s almost always someone “in this” with you.
When a relationship ends, there are always other people who are affected. Whether they’re your children, friends or family, it’s important to realize…
Your decisions create changes for other people.
If you’re a parent, in particular, it’s imperative that you focus on your children. Friends and family members will likely rally around you and offer you support and encouragement. Don’t be afraid to lean on them where it’s appropriate, but also remember that they will also have their own feelings to deal with around the loss. Decisions are never made in a vacuum and you don’t have to make decisions in a hurry. Just focus on making the next right decision.
Don’t win the battle and lose the war.
If you’re dealing with separation, divorce or family drama regarding inheritance, determine what the “high ground” is for you and when you’re involved in any negotiations, get to your high ground quickly. Allowing your transition to last too long is detrimental to your health, your business and your family… don’t do it! It’s common for egos to get involved when It comes to financial arrangements. While it’s human nature to want to win, I’d suggest that…
It’s better for everyone to find a way to “not lose” to some extent… and to do it quickly, rather than to concentrate on “winning.”
Focus on the next chapter.
After assessing your situation, decide what you want your life to look like going forward. If you’re dealing with a personal breakup, use this time to evaluate your priorities and to chart a new course. While it’s often scary, there’s also plenty of opportunity for excitement when thinking about aligning your money with your life. For some people, this change represents the first time in their lives where someone isn’t telling them how to spend their own money!
You can’t sail into the future with an anchor in the past.
Build a recovery team.
When you’re dealing with a transition, it’s important to have a group of trusted advisors. I’d suggest that you consider engaging both a family physician and a licensed counselor. On a personal level, these professionals make sure that you protect your most valuable assets : your mental and physical health. From a financial perspective, you’ll want to partner with a financial advisor, an estate planning attorney, an accountant and an insurance agent (preferably professionals who can coordinate with one another.) A financial advisor can help plan your financial future with confidence and coordinate with other professionals to ensure that you execute all the phases of your plan.
Being newly single can be overwhelming, both emotionally and financially, and it definitely takes time to adjust. It can easily feel like things are out of control, but it doesn’t have to. By focusing on these 6 financial areas, you can be confident that you’re taking control of your life as you move forward in writing your next chapter. Having seen new beginnings in my career, and having had some of my own, I can tell you from experience that your future can be brighter than your past and the best thing is that you get to create it from here.