Session note Session notes

Session notes for When a relationship ends Stages: Multiple

Relationships can be hard work

Maintaining a loving and close relationship takes energy and commitment and can be hard work sometimes. When lives are full of other obligations and responsibilities outside of the couple, their partnership might be the first thing to give way under the strain.

It takes open and honest communication, time and 100% commitment from both partners for a relationship to be strong and lasting.

Pātai atu ki te whānau

  • How would you describe the relationship with your partner when you were together?
  • What do you think the contributing factors to the breakdown were?
  • What did you try to help keep your partnership going?

It’s never easy when a relationship ends, especially when the partners are parents together. And if the split has been the decision of one partner alone, the other half may feel both devastated and helpless.

Pātai atu ki te whānau

  • What has been the most difficult part of the breakup for you?
  • Who are your ‘go to’ people that you trust and can talk to about what you need?

Grieving the loss

Finding yourself single can cause big emotions, similar to grieving the death of someone close. Even if the split has been agreed on by both partners, they can be surprised at the level of emotion they feel because of it.

Pātai atu ki te whānau

  • How have you been coping emotionally since the breakup?
  • Has there been anything specific that has helped you when you’re feeling low?
  • Have you talked to anyone about what you might need in terms of emotional support or counselling?
  • Would you like help to look at options available or some contact names for you to consider?

Staying in control of our emotions

One of the most difficult things to do during a relationship breakdown is to keep emotions under control. If the breakup has been especially difficult, any interactions with the ex-partner can see emotions rising to a point that communicating positively seems impossible.

Pātai atu ki te whānau

  • Would you like us to talk through some of your feelings today?
  • Would it be helpful to have someone act as a go-between during meetings with your ex-partner?
  • Who could you approach who might be able to act in that role for you?

Keeping connected

When one partner isn’t coping well with the split, they may feel like staying away completely. They may feel it’s the only way to stay calm or deal with their emotions. This might seem best in the short term, but long term it isn’t good for them and especially for their tamariki.

If there have been issues around family violence and protection orders have been made, this can accentuate the problem of maintaining relationships with their kids.

Pātai atu ki te whānau

  • What has your ex-partner shared about wanting to be with your tamariki?
  • How have they managed to keep connected with the kids?
  • What do you think could help you and your ex-partner to keep connected regularly with the children?
  • Shall we make some notes so you can review them later and add any other ideas that come up?

Further information

Other resources from SKIP:

 Other resources on external websites: 

  • Ministry of Justice website

The Ministry of Justice website is full of helpful information for whānau going through a relationship breakuOpens in new windowpOpens in new window

Radio New Zealand Nine to Noon host Kathryn Ryan talks with education consultant and parenting coach Joseph Driessen about helping children to cope with divorce.

How does this relate to the SKIP resources?

Baby wall friezeKōrero mai, e aroha ana koe ki ahau.  Opens in new windowTell me you love me Opens in new window

It helps me learn what to expect from relationships with people I care about, right throughout my life

Six things children needTe aroha me te mahana.  Opens in new windowLove and warmthOpens in new window

Respectful relationships are at the core of positive parenting, and that includes everyone in the whānau


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