Tuesday 2nd of July, 2024.
Written by General Psychologist, James Blaze.

Love Lost and Found: Navigating Relationship Transitions with Resilience


The nature of change

Many parts of our life can be subject to change, whether it be moving out of home, switching jobs, financial changes, new parenthood, separation, retiring or health concerns. Change can be an unavoidable part of life, for better or for worse. Transitioning between role associated with change can often involve a loss of lifestyle that we may not be open to at the time. This might include a loss of physical ability, loss of financially flexibility, loss of freedom, loss of dependence and loss of time to travel. A common change in life for many people may be the loss of love resulting from a failed relationship. This can be daunting and if not adjusted to well, holding possible negative impact on our mental health.

Experiencing the impact of change

It can be difficult to adjust to disruptive or unwanted changes in our lives. We may perceive the world to be hopeless, disconnected with optimism and that our suffering may endure forever. A passageway to easing this process is spending time acknowledging the loss of a role that was once so embraced. Cherishing the memories of how our lives used to be by allowing ourselves to feel positive emotions around memories that were so rich can be very helpful. This may look like reminiscing over the good times with a former partner, sharing mementos of holidays and special occasions. Counter-intuitively, allowing ourselves to experience current difficult emotions that make it so hard to part with our old way of life can also be useful in moving forward. This may involve grieving the loss of a future with that person and the dreams and aspirations that were once shared and now let go. Slowly allowing ourselves to sit with our ambivalence to change might bring about less resistance and more openness to getting through difficult changes.

Balancing our view of change.

In such a state of loss, we may end up ignoring negative aspects of how thing used to be and pay so much attention to how good things were. We might forget the arguments, neglect and mistreatment associated with what our situation may have actually been like. Likewise, we may disproportionately see our next steps in life as overly negative, overseeing potential opportunities and possible learnings. That is, we might discount the opportunities to identify the negative qualities we would like to avoid in a future partner and the priorities and values that are important to address in future relationship.

Coping and moving forward

During this role transition proves, there may be smaller issues that might be problem solved using well thought out solutions to support the process. We may seek practical help about potential accommodation and temporary financial support while we adjust to leaving behind a relationship. Major changes may make it possible to reconnect with old supports such as friends, colleagues or family, developing new relationships or attending to old ones in new ways. Opportunities to connect with a new sense of purpose and fulfilment might present themselves through community engagement in volunteering or perhaps prioritising caring for ourselves in a way that may have once been ignored in a lost relationships.

Resilience to change for the future

The transition between a formerly beloved role and an unwanted new one can seem intimidating. By sitting with the loss, balancing our view of the change and when ready, mobilising action towards things we can change as well as rallying supports, we can build our skills in coping with the seemingly unavoidable nature of change whenever it is bound to occur in our lives.

Is there a change going on?

If you have not been coping well, ask yourself if there have been any recent or major life events that may have triggered this. Have you recently reached any major milestones, been placed with expectations, limitations or predicting major upcoming changes? If so, consider reaching out to supports immediately available or consider touching base with professional help in best guiding you through such a potentially difficult change.


Stuart, S. and Robertson, M.D. (2012) Interpersonal psychotherapy 2E: A clinician’s guide. London: CRC Press.

Weissman, M.M., Markowitz, J.C. and Klerman, G.L. (2018) The Guide to Interpersonal psychotherapy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.