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Relationship breakup

When your relationship breaks down, the emotional and practical turmoil can mean you aren't thinking straight. Taking informed actions and looking after your health will help you start a new life.

Use this action plan to help you figure out what to do when your relationship is ending or has ended.

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Moving on after a relationship breakup

Take action to begin your new life apart after a breakup. 

  • Read our guide to relationship breakdown

    If you haven't already, read our guide to find out more about the emotional and practical impact of a relationship breakdown.

  • Go and see a relationship counsellor

    If your relationship is in trouble but you’re not sure that separating from your partner is the right path to take, make the decision to see a relationship counsellor. While they can help you make your relationship work, they can also help you realise when it’s time to start a new life apart. 

    If you're working, your employee assistance programme (EAP) may be able to offer you relationship counselling. Check on your intranet or speak to someone in HR.

    The charity Relate offers a range of counselling services. If you're a current or former bank employee we may be able to help you access these services.  

  • Prepare yourself for difficult conversations

    You and your partner may be at different stages in your emotions during your breakup. It will help you both to work together if you can recognise this difference and deal with difficult conversations in a considerate way.

    And if you have children, talking to them about separating from your partner can be one of the hardest things to do.

    Prepare for these difficult conversations with your partner or your children so you’ll be more likely to keep calm, be objective and offer support where it’s needed. Read Relate's guide on preparing for difficult conversations.

  • Consider using a mediation service

    If you need help keeping things civil during or after your breakup, especially if you have children, you might find it useful to get the help of a professional family mediator. 
    Mediation differs from relationship counselling in that it is typically used by couples whose relationship has ended rather than by couples trying to improve their relationship.

    Family mediators can help you reach decisions about who your children should live with, how they’ll stay in touch with their other parent, and how you’ll sort out any property or money issues. Read about how to access relationship mediation.
  • Look after yourself

    Take steps to look after your physical and emotional health. 

    When you’re dealing with upheaval, it’s important you take the time to be nice to yourself. Try not to endlessly replay what went wrong in your relationship or focus on things you think you should have done differently. 

    Get plenty of rest, try to reduce other sources of stress in your life and treat yourself with compassion and understanding. Look for a silver lining, whether it’s that a painful relationship is over, that you have the chance to do things your partner didn’t enjoy, or that you have the opportunity to re-discover who you are as a person. 

  • Make a plan to deal with any shared debt

    Deal with any shared debts you have.

    If your finances are connected to your partner’s, you may have shared debts which you’ll need to sort out. Look at the Money Advice Service advice on 
    managing debt when a relationship ends.
  • Work out your living arrangements

    If you lived with your partner, work out what your options are for where to live.

    Your housing rights will depend on whether you rent or own, and whether you’re married or not, so it’s good to find out where you stand. And if you need to move but you’re worried about your ability to afford this, there’s help available.

    Find out how to work out your living arrangements.

  • Work out your maintenance needs

    Work our what maintenance you need to pay or be paid.

    If you and your ex-partner were living together but not married, neither of you is obliged to support the other financially. If you were married, both of you can apply for maintenance from the other by voluntary agreement or through the courts.

    If you have children together, you’re both equally responsible for financially supporting them, whether you were married or not. If you had a civil partnership, this applies to you if you're biological parents or have parental responsibility. Go to the Child Support Agency for information on how to arrange child maintenance.

  • Check your benefits

    Regardless of whether you or your ex-partner were the main or sole breadwinner, it’s worth checking your benefits. 

    Benefits aren’t just for people who are unemployed. Depending on your circumstances, you could be eligible for: job seeker’s allowance, housing benefit, income support, working tax credit, child tax credit or council tax support. If you own your home and you’re struggling to pay the mortgage by yourself, in some cases you might be able to get help with mortgage interest. Use this handy benefits checker from InBest to find out.

  • Get help to deal with any abuse or violence

    If your partner is abusive or violent, your priority is to ensure your own safety.

    If you're experiencing abuse, there are a number of free helplines you can call to get support, information and guidance over the phone. If you're a woman, call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247. If you're a man, call the Men's Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday). If you’re LGBT, call the National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 999 5428 (10am-5pm Monday to Thursday, and 1pm-5pm Friday).

    As part of your planning to leave, read this guide from domestic abuse charity Refuge.

    Find out how to recognise domestic abuse to help you identify the signs and get support with domestic abuse.

Next steps

Choose the actions that’ll help you begin you new life. Add them to your to-do list and email yourself a link, then get started on taking your next steps.

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