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Parents   »   Separation can cause feelings of loss

Separation can cause feelings of loss

Separation can lead to us losing things we have taken for granted. This can be relationships with friends and family members that come to an end or dreams that don’t come true. As parents, we can help our children handle the separation. But we also need to take care of ourselves in our own losses. Let’s remember to be kind and patient with ourselves and each other, as we all experience pain differently. We should believe that despite this difficult time, better days are coming.

A summary of this article below.

Create a mental positive image of your future

On the other side of the divorce, life may have settled on a new stable foundation. But before that, the thought of all that is lost in the separation can sting. When the feeling of infinite loss is at its strongest, it can help if we, both for ourselves and for the children, protect the thought of a better life further ahead. It may be a matter of months or half a year. So create a vision or a fantasy that you can escape to. Maybe it’s about a new cozy home where everyday life is stable again. Maybe you fantasize about a new love, someone who lights up your existence and makes you feel alive and attractive.

Your identity as part of a couple

Losing a relationship can be like losing a part of yourself. You may barely remember who you were without your partner. When a relationship comes to an end, it means you need to reclaim your own identity. Relationships shape us and when they end, other aspects of our personality can take up more space. The feeling of loneliness can hang over you and colour your view of the world, and the process of creating a new identity without your partner can take a long time. The fear, confusion, and bitterness can be very present in the beginning and need to be allowed to dissipate before the new can take place. In the long run, it may require a conscious effort to move on and not get stuck in feelings of loss and bitterness. Those who have gone through the process often describe that they have matured and found a new sense of security in themselves.

New practical skills

If you have lost your partner, you might also have to acquire new practical skills – for the inexperienced, everyday tasks like paying bills or cooking dinner can seem insurmountable. But when you get an understanding of what your partner used to do, you can grow. Maybe make a list of things you need to learn and start with the least complicated. As you succeed, both your confidence and your skills will grow.

Economic security

The economic standard you have shared as a couple may change when you live in two separate places. Especially if you didn’t want to separate, it can be painful to lose the economic security and standard you were used to. It might feel insignificant or shallow to mourn your house or apartment, but often our home is a symbol for the dreams and ambitions we had as a couple and as parents. But the financial worries don’t just affect us. Guilt towards our children is common and the financial burden can exacerbate those feelings.

Nuclear family

It can also feel like a loss to lose one’s belonging in the nuclear family. Even though we don’t have any normative ideas about what kind of family types suit others, our open-mindedness can be put to a stop when it comes to oneself. To be divorced or single can feel like a failure, like being selfish and not putting the children first – as if one’s civil status says something about their personality. One can also lose a social safety net or a social position that they had taken for granted as part of a couple.


  • Separation brings losses for both children and adults. If we parents are aware of the losses our children face, we can soften them in different ways. For example, helping the child to meet their aunt after moving further away and so on.
  • In order to help our children, we also need to process our own losses.
  • Losses can include a secure economic situation, all the things your partner did at home, the identity of being part of a couple.
  • When the losses sting the most, it can help to create mental images of how it may be in the future, and to find emotional comfort in them.
Malin Bergström
Child psychologist