I’m thinking of leaving my relationship

Leaving a relationship is never an easy choice, especially if you have a child. But you can take steps to help you and your family cope with any changes.

It’s especially important to get support if you’re trying to leave an abusive relationship. If you or your children are in immediate danger, always contact the police.

The practical steps you will need to take might be different if you’re experiencing domestic abuse. You can get advice from Women’s Aid, Mankind and Galop, an LGBTQ+ inclusive UK charity with a confidential helpline.

Making a decision

You may have worries or doubts about the best thing to do. Relate has a section to guide you through thinking about:

  • If it’s safe to separate.
  • If you’re ready to separate.
  • Starting to separate.

Counselling or talk therapy can give support to the whole family. You can try couples counselling, family counselling, or therapy for yourself. Your GP will be able to help you start this process and talk about your options.

Think about any friends or family who can help support you through this time. You might not have anyone you feel comfortable speaking to yet. That’s OK too.

You can also get support online or over the phone. Use our live chat to speak to a family coach, visit Relate, or speak to your GP.

Taking steps to leave

If you decide to leave, work out the best time to tell your partner. Do you need a friend or family member with you for support? Try to do it when your child is out of the house if possible.

Give your ex-partner time to come to terms with things. You may have been thinking about leaving for some time, but they could be shocked.

Feeling more organised can help you manage the situation:

  • Think about where you’ll live. Can you stay in the family home? If not, do you have somewhere else to go? If you need other options, contact your local housing office or Shelter.
  • It might help to make a checklist of all the things you need to do, and who you need to tell. You can read and download a separation checklist from Relate.
  • Write down any practical and financial worries to discuss with Citizens Advice.

Supporting your child

  • If you decide to leave your relationship, you’ll have decisions to make for your children. This includes where your child will live, and when they see each parent. Read our advice on how to manage child arrangements.
  • If you decide to separate, you will need to tell your children in an appropriate and honest way. This may be a hard conversation, but there are ways you can prepare for having it.


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Talk to us

Free and confidential live chat with parenting staff. Chat online or request a call back when it’s convenient for you.

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