Blake & Sam…. the fairy tale is over but what have we learnt? (Lessons from The Bachelor)

No doubt some of you have been watching this season of The Bachelor intently, and it seems that it will continue to peak interest even after the show has ended.  Hearts have been broken, engagement rings have gone missing (maybe?) and social media followers have flocked to see every photograph or comment posted by the Bachelor, or the Bachelorettes.

This has got me thinking… what valuable family law lessons can we take from The Bachelor when exiting relationships?  Here are my top 3 tips from Blake and his ladies:

  1. Everyone will have an opinion about your relationship ending

As we’ve seen from the ratings peak for The Project’s interview with Blake and Sam, people are interested in the end of relationships.  They want to talk about it, share their views and experiences, and sometimes people will take sides – #teamblake #teamsam for example.

In ordinary everyday Australia, when people’s relationships end, others are interested to find out what happened, and will offer their opinion and perspective to you.  Particularly with financial settlements or parenting arrangements following the breakdown of a relationship, your friends, family and acquaintances will offer their opinion as to what should happen with your property settlement, how much you should get, what time the kids should spend with each parent and so on.

While these views are often given in a well meaning way, and from a place of love and support, it is important to bear in mind that the views of your friends and family are coloured with their experiences of your ex-partner or ex-spouse and also their experiences in life (i.e. perhaps their own separation).

When contemplating seeking legal advice, do your research and find a lawyer that you are comfortable with and that practices in family law.  Build a relationship of trust and respect with your lawyer, so that you are confident in their advices – even when others may be telling you that you’re worth “at least 70%” or that your ex-spouse can only expect every other weekend with the children.

  1. Look after yourself during difficult times

We’ve learnt from the bachelorettes to band together and support each other in a time of crisis.  We’re watching the photographs being posted to Instagram of the ladies coming together to support Sam and the public support for her is overwhelming.  A support network is invaluable after a separation, to help with child care or simply to be a shoulder to cry on.  Let people be on #team(you), but keep point 1 in mind.

It’s important to keep well – physically and mentally.  During a family law matter, you will have times of stress and frustration and you will have an easier time managing the stress and frustration if you are as well as you can be.  For parents, it’s a natural instinct to take care of the children, but you should also take care of yourself and be kind to yourself.  This could be simple things like taking time for you by walking the dog alone, or escaping to watch a movie.  Perhaps you might even take yourself out to dinner – #dirtystreetpie perhaps?

  1. The impact a new partner can have

It seems from media releases that The Bachelor has rekindled a relationship with one of the Top 3 Bachelorettes and no doubt there will be much discussion of this new relationship in the media.

Sometimes relationships end because there’s been someone else.  Sometimes, people start a new relationship very quickly after leaving the last relationship.  This can have huge impacts on family law matters.  Sometimes a new partner can distract people from finalising their financial relationship, or for separated parents a new partner can impact upon their co-parenting relationship or the time their children will spend with that new partner.

It’s a very difficult position to be in, and to manage the impact a new partner can have on the end of your relationship, it’s good to refer back to points 1 and 2 – whilst it’s lovely to hear the comments and opinions from your support network, try to listen with some objectivity and also, continue to take care of yourself and not become distressed by the new partner’s involvement with your ex.

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