When a significant relationship ends, it can feel as devastating as a death. Divorce or breakups can be one of life’s most profoundly sad, anxious, and troubling transitions. This is especially true when we did not expect the ending, and thus, were wholly unprepared.

In Susan’s poem below from the book Rays of Hope, “Starting Over,” expresses it as feeling stripped bare in the temporary loss of identity that comes with uncoupling. To recover and move on, acknowledging mistakes and learning from them is an important growth tool. Finding the courage to rebuild our life and identity as a single person brings valuable lessons that are the gift of courageous honesty.

As with a death, we often experience shock, numbness, anger, and regrets or remorse when a relationship ends. Even if you initiated the separation, there is a surprising element of emptiness and lost identity to work through.


We were a couple; each one was a part.

Now we are singles, each with a new start.

We feel stripped bare, our identity unknown

We’re surprised at this part of being alone.

To find ourselves we look ahead and behind.

We hope we’ll discover we like what we find.

We see some mistakes sprinkled with pain and regret,

But the good we are learning we will not forget.

All lives have value even while they’re adrift,

The lessons received are honesty’s gift.

In the transformational experience of rebuilding, we can find many positive discoveries. This is especially true when courageous honesty allows admission of errors that can be resolved to prevent similar difficulties in future relationships that are “down the road.”