In the early days of a separation, when everything feels like it’s changing, it’s not surprising that many of us feel far from being calm, rational and practical. But the thing is, in order to make big decisions; you need to be calm, rational and practical! In mediation after separation, you will be making decisions that will impact the rest of your life. Yet you may still feel in deep shock and even feel somewhat detached from the reality of what is going on. If you feel like this, make sure you share your feelings with your mediator at your first meeting so he or she can support you appropriately.
In many ways a break-up can feel like a death, and there is a grieving process that comes with that loss of your relationship. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a ground-breaking psychiatrist, was well known for her work on grief and the stages people go through when grieving a loss. This is represented in the chart below. People going through separation may feel the same stages of loss. Different people go through the stages at different speeds and some don’t travel in a linear fashion, instead moving forwards and backwards through the stages.
After separation, it is normal for one person to be at different place in the journey to the other. This is especially true when one person has decided to leave a relationship and the other did not want the relationship to end. It can be intensified if one person is leaving the relationship to be with someone else. In these circumstances, it is easy to see how one person has moved through the stages and feels ready to begin a new life, while the other may still be in the denial and shock stage.
When this happens to people coming into mediation, it is important to slow down the process to allow time for the person being ‘left’ to catch up. Additional support like counselling is sometimes needed by the person further behind in the process. Slowing down the process can be frustrating for the person ready to move on and the aim in mediation is to go fast enough and slow enough for both clients.
Sometimes it is only time that can allow both people to process what has happened and to get themselves to a place where they can make decisions about their future. In these cases, then mediation may not be appropriate right now. But it may work later. And it may be possible to make some short-term arrangements that cover pressing issues and to agree to come back again in a few weeks to cover other arrangements.
So given this, do you think you are you emotionally ready for mediation after separation? Look at the chart and try and work out where you are most of the time. If you are milling around in shock, denial or frustration most of the time, then you may need some more time or support before mediating. Speak to your mediator and he or she can help you to work out the best route forward.
If you are not sure whether you are emotionally ready for mediation, book a confidential initial meeting and we can help you to work out your best route forwards. Call 07706 513496 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.