Breaking Up with Your Long-Term Partner: The Essentials

by Justin on December 21, 2016

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Breakups are never easy, especially when you have been with your partner for a long time. Apart from the painful emotional implications, there are the “practicalities” that you need to take care of like possibly finding a new place to live, division of estate, dealing with any joint investments you might have, as well as reviewing custody of children if they exist.

However, before you are able to make any proper decisions or enter into discussions with your ex, there are a couple of things that you need to do for yourself.

  1. Evaluate Your Health

The stress of a breakup is enough to push anyone over the edge into a myriad of mental health issues from depression, anxiety, or a variety of personality disorders. Don’t shy away from seeking professional help from a psychologist or doctor, or if you’re uncomfortable, perhaps an open support group. This is a vulnerable time when you can easily fall into destructive habits like drinking, self-abuse, or even drugs.

In addition to evaluating your mental health, it might be time for a physical checkup as well, especially if there was unfaithfulness near the end of the relationship. Ask your doctor whether you should be tested for STDs, even if you aren’t showing any symptoms.

  1. Come to Terms with Reality

It’s important that you find closure as well as sense of peace with the status of your relationship. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to be happy about the situation for a while, or perhaps ever, however it cannot define you. Reflect on the good times and the bad, see what lessons you have learned through this experience and how you would like to see your new relationship with your ex. Would you like to be friends? Is that too difficult a reality? Will there be situations in which you won’t be able to avoid him or her, like care of common children or the same workplace? How will you react to seeing your ex then?

  1. Make a List

If you were together for a long time, it’s most likely that you have acquired quite a few things jointly. Some as small as a concert poster, others as big as a house, these items should be fairly distributed between the two of you. Take this opportunity to make a list of things that you really want to keep, items that you wouldn’t mind splitting or selling off, and another of items you willingly allow the other person to keep. Go over your last few major purchases and don’t be afraid to point out when it was something that you paid for in full yourself.

  1. Find a Mediator

Though you might not need one, it could be worth having the number of a professional mediator in your pocket. This person, who has no legal standing, works with both of you to address the points you cannot agree on. It’s cheaper than going through the courts, and it’s better for your relationship than if you got a common friend to do it. Unbiased and detached, the mediator will help you find a fair middle ground with which you both should be equally unhappy.

  1. Connect with Your Lawyer

If you had been living together for a while and assumed common-law marriage status, getting a fair division might be more difficult than you think. Once again, it may not go to the courts, but reconnect with your lawyer and let him or her know of your situation. They might have some legal advice to give you before you enter negotiations or discussions with your ex. These suggestions might protect you from awkward or dangerous situations later.

Remember that before you can properly finalize your relationship, you need to take care of yourself. From evaluating your health to seeking legal advice, make sure that you are yourself before you head into unraveling the mess that your breakup has caused.

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