Coming out of a long-term relationship can be an emotionally daunting experience, especially when faced with the challenges of finding a new home, income, and caring for children as a single parent. Amidst the uncertainties, you can find yourself going around in circles, feeling like you aren’t getting anywhere.
It helps if you understand that we all have a hierarchy of human needs that can guide us through the journey of rebuilding a new life. In this blog post, we will explore the priority of needs for individuals in the process of rebuilding their lives after a long-term relationship.
For the first four stages you are in survival mode trying to get your physiological and safety needs met. It may take from 3-6 months to just stabilise physically and emotionally.
At times like this, when often you can’t think straight for fear and worry, you need a Map!
Firstly there are our survival need for food, shelter, and warmth, so top of the agenda is where can you stay, and you can at least have your basic needs met while you work things out. These needs take precedence over longer term aspirations. Seeking support from friends, family, or social services can offer a safety net during this transitional period, ensuring that basic needs are met and allowing time for emotional healing.
Once physiological needs are met, the focus shifts to safety needs. Feeling secure emotionally and physically is vital during this phase. Ending a long-term relationship may evoke memories of past insecurities, making it crucial to create a safe and stable environment for yourself and children. This can be achieved through setting boundaries, seeking legal protection if necessary, and establishing routines that offer a sense of stability and predictability. Joining a support group where you can connect with others who have had a similar experience can make a huge difference.
So many things depend on having an income. Almost certainly you will probably be in reduced circumstances financially, having to watch what you spend money on. Once again, it usually takes up to 3 months to get income settled at even a basic level. It is worth being careful at this stage. If you have a computer and Wi-Fi, do what you can to generate an income online, which means you can stay home with the children and save on childcare. Not that easy I know, but it won’t always be like this. Your support group may be able to help you with suggestions about how to maximise your assets.
Usually the first few places you live when your relationship ends simply doesn’t feel like home, in fact you can feel like a displaced person, but remember, it won’t always be like this. You need a stopping off point where you can make a plan. You can ease your troubled mind by creating a sanctuary of peace in your own mind. I know that sounds a bit woo woo, but the power of a clear image of a chosen goal has been proven particularly in sport psychology. You can allow yourself to release the tension and build a safe home in your mind and allow yourself to gently wonder (not think) about the details of it. Enjoy those feelings. Juice them. Then you’ll find one day that it has materialised.
After 6 months of stabilising, where you live, schools, income etc. It’s time to build on these foundations. When your basic needs are met, it is time to start thinking about your inner world. Time to take a breath and look at what you have achieved so far. One of the best things you can do now is to allow yourself to grieve, what you thought you had. Journaling is a good way to do that, processing your feelings as you write them out. Or sharing in your support group
You are now ready to start moving beyond surviving to thriving. This is the time when it is not a good idea to get into a new relationship. Give yourself and your children at least a year to adapt to the new situation. Instead focus on building your own confidence and self-esteem.
Love and Belonging:
Ending a long-term relationship is rarely easy, even when you wanted to be out of it. Rebuilding a life, especially at the beginning takes getting used to not being part of a couple. It can feel like an amputation. The human need for love and belonging comes to the forefront. During a period of transition, don’t be surprised if you feel lost, lonely, and unsure about the future. It can be difficult to maintain connection with friends and family at these times when it’s all change. You may have children and are not free to go out in the evening and may not be able to afford childcare. Fortunately you can build a support system of friends, family, or support groups online. Connecting with others in a support group who have experienced and moved through similar challenges can provide a sense of belonging and understanding. It can also be reassuring and encouraging, which is what you need right now. It also helps you to feel less alone and isolated.
As you progress on this rebuilding a new life journey, fulfilling esteem needs becomes essential. Reclaiming a sense of self-worth and confidence after a long-term relationship end can be challenging. Many people feel like they have failed in some way. Have some compassion for yourself. This is a difficult part of your journey. Don’t fall into being a victim. You can get through this with a bit of support. After all nobody sets out to be in a relationship that ends.
This may seem like one of the worst times in your life, but you’ll look back on it some day and see it was one of the most growth producing times. Any activities that promote personal growth, such as reading, joining a group coaching programme for divorce recovery, pursuing education or career advancement, can enhance self-esteem. Setting realistic goals and celebrating achievements, no matter how small, can provide a sense of accomplishment and some confidence in your own abilities. Be aware that separation and divorce are renowned for triggering all your insecurities. You need to take positive action, and it helps to have encouragers.
After about 12 months, you will have stabilised and healed sufficiently to be able to see your way to a newer and better life. Self-actualization is the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, representing the fulfilment of one’s potential and the pursuit of personal growth. While self-actualization may seem distant during the early stages of rebuilding, it is essential to keep it in mind as an ultimate goal. As basic needs are met and emotional healing progresses, it’s important not to give up on your dreams.
It’s never too late to become who you might have been. For now, you are over the most difficult part of your journey. As you move on, you’ll feel a growing sense of accomplishment. Don’t forget the power of your imagination, you can keep feeding the steps of your journey alive forming a progressive vision, and one day you will get there. Self-actualising is a lifetime need.
Being aware of your basic human needs can be a guiding light for individuals coming out of long-term relationships and facing the challenges of finding a home, income, and caring for children as single parents. Prioritizing physiological needs, safety, love and belonging, and esteem, provides a strong foundation for rebuilding a new life. Engaging in self-reflection, seeking support, and focusing on personal growth can gradually lead to self-actualization—an empowering realization of one’s potential and a step towards a brighter, more fulfilling future. For ongoing encouragement and support join the REBUILD YOUR LIFE group.
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