The real emotional costs of rebuilding post-separation

Separation is an unfortunate fact of life for many Australians, and its effects can be felt for years after the relationship has ended. But whether it’s managing the emotional toll, the financial hardships or the challenges of raising children alone, rebuilding post-separation can be achievable – possibly much faster than you think.

According to The Real Cost of Separation report, which canvassed more than 5,000 Australians in various relationship statuses (married, living with a partner, separated and divorced), over a quarter of respondents (25.5%) who were separated or divorced said it only took one year to recover emotionally and financially. Let’s explore the research in more detail and find out how to rebuild your life post-separation.

The emotional impact of separation

Respondents to the report said that the 12 months following a divorce or separation was the hardest period of the whole process – but the good news is that there’s hope in the time that follows.

Both the emotional and financial impacts become less and less taxing over time, with the emotional impact being more prominent at the beginning (immediately after separation) while the financial impact tends to linger on for a while longer.

In terms of the length of time it takes to recover, around one in five (19.1%) said they got over their divorce or separation immediately, while only 7.9% said it took more than five years to recover.

The silver lining is that almost every respondent who has gone through a divorce or separation said they have grown as a person and become better adapted since they split up with their former partner.

Financial costs of divorce or separation

The emotional cost might be what we feel the hardest at the start of separation or divorce, but it’s typically the financial costs that cause the greatest challenges in the months and years that follow.

In Australia, the legal costs for separations and divorce ($3.7 billion) far exceed what we spend on dating ($3.2 billion) and things like childcare ($863.1 million), according to The Real Cost of Separation. In fact, divorce application fees alone cost Australians a whopping $45 million.

There are lots of ways these costs affect your life, with respondents saying the cost of establishing separate houses (35.5%) and the cost of legal work involved (26.9%) were significant burdens, while the cost of setting up independent finances (25.6%) and the cost of therapy or other wellbeing activities (19.6%) made a considerable financial impact.

Being prepared with life insurance

The end of a relationship is often a time for reflecting and determining what’s most important in life. It also gives us a chance to focus on things we may not have thought about while in the ‘comfort bubble’ of a relationship, such as whether or not to get life insurance.

When asked whether life insurance was an important consideration following their divorce or separation, 43.4% of respondents said that it was. Their reasons for why they looked into life insurance post-separation differed, depending on their family situation:

  • 54.1% wanted life insurance to ensure their children would be taken care of if they were no longer around.
  • 25.8% cited feeling more vulnerable with not having a partner around.
  • 18% said they were unable to rely on a partner if they were no longer around.

Tips to be better prepared for separation

Whether it’s looking into life insurance today – even if you’re in a happy relationship – there are many ways you can prepare yourself, both financially and emotionally, for the possibility of separation or divorce:

  • Make sure you have independent savings for emergency funds: 59.5% of separated or divorced respondents said this is the most important financial consideration.
  • Don’t be overly financially dependent on your partner: More than half (50.3%) of separated or divorced respondents agreed with this statement.
  • Take healthy emotional steps in your relationship: Respondents outlined their top emotional tips to alleviate animosity with your partner as: show each other respect (56.5%); communicate clearly to each other (54.1%); avoid being nasty to each other (50.9%); and be supportive of each other (32.6%).
  • Get professional help: Don’t be afraid to reach out to a counsellor to help guide you through the difficult process of a relationship breakdown. Seek out someone with experience in navigating divorce and separation, using a resource such as Relationships Australia.
  • Help your children navigate difficult emotions: If you have kids, then be on the lookout for signs such as anxiety or becoming withdrawn. Kids react differently depending on their age.

No one sets out for their relationship to end in separation or divorce, but it is a reality for many Australians every year. There is of course an emotional and financial cost to any relationship ending, but you can stay on top of these challenges by being as prepared as possible.

While you take care of being emotionally prepared for the potential of a separation or divorce, we can help you with a life insurance policy. Call Real Insurance on 1300 377 325 or request a quick quote now.