Relate offers help during ‘divorce month’


Christmas had brought it all - rain, debt, the in-laws and now divorce.

Cabin fever caused by the rain meant that couples were shut up for long periods together and according to on-line divorce specialist ‘Divorce Depot’, top of the list for marital disharmony among 1,000 people polled were financial pressures, drinking too much, and rows over chores and the in-laws.

January is sometimes referred to as ‘divorce month’ and if that’s not enough to give you the blues, ‘Blue Monday’ - the most depressing day of the year - was identified by academic researcher Cliff Arnell in 2005 as falling in the third week of January.

If divorce really is in the air, marriage guidance specialist Relate has just launched a new campaign, Being Parents Apart, to help West Sussex families facing separation in the New Year.

Manager of Relate in North and South West Sussex, Sue Quinn, said: “Deciding to separate is never easy, particularly when children are involved.

“But for some people it’s the best thing to do and the next step is to work out how to go about it.

“The process can have knock-on effects for some children including problems at school, alcohol misuse and mental health and well-being issues.

“But having strong relationships and knowing how to manage the separation process can improve outcomes for everyone.”

Marie De’ath, a counsellor with Relate, said: “Help children to accept the pain. Encourage them to talk about their feelings to you, another family member or friend.

“As parents you need to work on communicating from the start so the children aren’t stuck in the middle.” When it comes to handing your children over to your ex partner for a visit, Marie advises: “Even if you are seething inside, keep a smile on your face.”

Parents can visit for information about the Being Parents Apart campaign, including guidance on managing the practical and emotional realities of separation.

Relate services, including counselling to try to save a marriage, are available in Haywards Heath. For details please call: 01293 657055.