Once you’ve decided there’s no future in your relationship, the first thing you need to do is talk openly and honestly with your partner. Next, your children need to be told.

Only after that should you consider telling others.

You may find it hard to think about how to approach telling others about your separation, especially your parents, friends and colleagues. It can be easier if you first work out exactly what to say. You could try to talk to your partner about this.

Agree a statement

It can help you, your partner and your children, if you agree a statement. This shouldn’t carry blame and it should keep the reasons for your separation private. This can be difficult, especially if you’re still angry.

In time though, you may be glad you decided on one statement together. Your children may get to hear what’s been said to someone else and it won’t help them if it’s not the same as they’ve been told. Their trust in you will grow if there’s only one story and you’re both telling it.

Example statements

You could try using one of the following statements. They’re all neutral and will all keep your information private:

Telling friends and family

You may find that telling family and friends about your separation makes your situation all the more real to you. It can be hard.

You may find it helpful to think through the following tips first:

Maintaining relationships

You may find that some relationships with family and friends fade away or end. This may or may not be what you want.

Managing difference and allowing change to happen can be a real challenge.  Sometimes other people find it more difficult when you separate because they think they have to choose. For every friend you lose you’ll probably create new ones.

Deciding what to tell people about your separation

It can help to plan out the conversation you have with your ex to agree an official line about the separation. These steps can help you agree a statement you’re both happy with:

Working out how much to tell people

Try this activity to work out what you would like to tell different people about your separation:

Content originally produced for What Next? The Parent’s Guide to Separation © Copyright DWP 2015