Whether your relationship is 24 hours old, or 24 years, change is something that will occur within it. One of the hardest obstacles to overcome within any relationship is some form of tragedy. Tragedy is not just limited to the loss of a loved one, it can also come in the form of accidents, illness, financial pressure, and job loss – just to name a few.
There are coping strategies for people to help them deal with illness and loss, and these strategies can save your relationship – and your sanity. The article will deal with issues concerning care, finances, love life (before, during and after), and a whole lot more, so that you can prepare for the unexpected.
Unlike a relationship that slowly winds down, tragedy can strike out of the blue, catching most of us off guard. A common example of this would be an unexpected accident, which results in a crippling disability or death to either you or your partner. Tragedy can even strike away from your relationship, but the effect of it can create tremendous stress on you and your partner. A company goes bankrupt, and suddenly one of you is out of a job. Do you have enough savings to cope with either of these situations? Do you have enough time to commit to a long recovery? What about a substantial change in lifestyle? Here are some tips on how to deal with some of the more common tragedies that affect people.
People get scared, and then they panic. When an unexpected tragedy takes you buy surprise, the initial reaction is fear and panic. The best strategy in these kinds of situations is to come up with an immediate plan, so you have time to work out a long-term strategy.
Nothing will hit you harder than losing your girlfriend or wife, so you need to make sure you are prepared well in advance for this worse case scenario.
- You both need life insurance. You may not think this is a big issue – especially if you are young – but death can strike anytime, anywhere. Death hurts those that are left alive, as people attempt to deal with the loss as best they can. So you might not be able to work for a long time, and your bills won’t go away on their own. Insurance will help with both issues, as you will have time to grieve without having to worry about money.
- Get help from family and friends. Other people cared about her, and they can help with the details (funeral, legal matters, etc.). You should talk about funerals with your partner at some point, just so you are both on the same page as to what the other wants.
- Get counseling. Most insurance plans offer grief counseling, and most hospitals offer information on organizations that help people cope with loss. You may not want to be around other people at first, but you do not want to withdraw for too long.
- Get legal advice. Your lawyer should have current wills for both of you, and you should meet with your lawyer to discuss your partner’s estate. Plus, depending on the death, there might be other factors to be considered – like lawsuits, legal proceedings, etc.
- Start recovering. The length of recovery is different for everyone, so don’t expect things to return to normal anytime soon – how could they? Take your time, and avoid doing anything crazy – like giving away all of her possessions.
Death not withstanding, illness can be a major obstacle to any relationship. People get hit with cancer, diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and much, much more. This doesn’t mean you should be afraid of every little cough or lump, but getting blindsided by a debilitating illness can put major stress on any relationship.
- Get all the facts and information. Don’t just rely on your doctor; check out support groups and any other information you can get your hands on. You need to know what to expect, as there will be new financial and time demands placed upon you.
- Is it terminal? A terminal illness means you don’t have much time, so you might want to stop working in order to spend the rest of your days together. This means you need good financial advice, as you will need a plan to get through this time.
- Intimacy. A debilitating disease does not mean you have to forego a sex life. Even Christopher Reeves was intimate with his wife after his paralyzing accident; so neither of you should despair.
Financial tragedies strike often, and most of us aren’t prepared for them. And they come in all shapes and sizes – just look at the US housing market right now. There are lots of people sitting on bog mortgages for properties that have plummeted 30% in value. And companies love to lay off workers, even during strong economic times. So you never know when things might go wrong, and this type of strategy can cause tremendous pressure on relationships. Most of us define ourselves through our work; so losing our career can be devastating – financially and emotionally.
- Assess your situation. Once your career is interrupted, you need take stock of your current financial situation. Do you have savings? How many months can you go without a cheque? Do you have any job prospects?
- Legal advice. You might need a lawyer to deal with a wrongful dismissal claim or severance package.
- Starting over. Don’t waste time wallowing in the past, as you might need to retrain for a new career.
The old saying that whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger is not always true. Preparing for tragedy before it strikes is like wearing a seat-belt in a car that is equipped with airbags. You may never get in a car accident, but you prepare for it anyway. People can survive the negative effects of tragedy, but the better prepared you are, the more likely you will get through them quicker, and with your sanity intact.