Health & Fitness

Seek professional help after separation


Depending on the reasons for separation, there may be need to seek professional help to deal with traumatic experiences. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Qn. “I recently separated from my husband of 10 years but my son seems affected by the whole arrangement when he has to make rotated stays in my house and his father’s. How can we help him because it is even affecting his school performance?”

You do not tell us why you separated from your husband of 10 years, and we are left to speculate about the cause.

It is for example, possible that you found love in the heart of an old classmate and that you are now living the life of your dreams with a man who makes you happy and complete. There are times when a person leaves a marriage to pursue a high school flame that did not switch off even with the passage of time. In such cases, a person could claim that hers was not a bad marriage, it simply did not have the warmth and comfort provided in the new arrangement.

On the other hand, you might have left your husband, not to go into the arms of another man, but in pursuit of sanity. If your husband was violent physically and emotionally and did not provide the love and care you and your son deserved, it is possible that even without another relationship you now enjoy better health and sleep than you did while married. If your son was in a home full of violence, then he might be happier now to have peace, but sad to be from a “broken home”. This latter fact could affect his school performance.

It is also possible that the separation had nothing to do with what you did or did not do! In such cases, you and your son are left to wonder what either of you might have done to deserve your new situation in life.

Your husband might have fallen in love with a university student who was an intern in his office! If for example, he is in his mid-40s, the so-called midlife crisis might have caught up with him. An enlarging tummy, diminishing physical and sexual strength could all conspire to make him feel the need to “prove himself” as still able. All your efforts to stay the course in your marriage might end up as nothing because it is he that has been attracted to the outside world. Your sadness and despair could be reflected in your son by his declining grades in school. Many lives caught up in this scenario go into states of depression and low self-esteem because all their efforts to have a stable family life have failed!

We recently saw a woman in a situation similar to yours. After 10 years of marriage, her husband came home to say that his mother had told him he must marry a girl from his own clan otherwise he would be cursed. It just so happened that he loved his wife and son, and he decided not to take his mother’s advice.

When he lost his job and was in an accident a few weeks later, he left his wife and son because these were the things his mother seemed to have predicted. On leaving hospital, he married the woman chosen by his mother.

His marriage to a woman from his clan was a disaster. His son’s school performance, like that of your son, deteriorated rapidly.

As you can see, people separate for many different reasons and depending on the reasons, solutions as to what happens to the children are different.

At the age of 10, your son should be able to understand the concept of friendship. If you and your husband separated by mutual consent, you might be able to explain to him that the two of you are no longer friends but you both love him very much and more importantly that he did not (as many children assume) caused the separation.

If your separation was the result of traumatic experiences, you and your son may need to seek help.