More than half of all households in the United States are headed by single parents, both moms and dads, according to the Child Development Institute. Single parents face many challenges above and beyond those experienced by couples raising kids together. Here are a few of these challenges and ways to manage the emotions associated with each.

Coping with loss of partner/end of relationship

Walking away from a relationship is tough, especially if you’ve been with someone for many years. When kids are involved, it can get emotional fast. You can mitigate some of the negative feelings by first recognizing that it’s okay to feel sad about your divorce or separation; you’re grieving a loss. Know that your feelings may change from anger to sadness to confusion. Think positively and relish in the fact that your life molds into a new normal with each passing day. Make sure your kids know they can rely on you, and keep them far removed from any lingering conflict.  

Assuming additional roles and not having enough time for any of them

As a single mom or dad, you’ll take on many roles you’ve never considered. For instance, you may find yourself taking kids back and forth to school and sports when your partner did that before. One of the best things you can do for your family is to organize your home and life in a way that allows you to complete each new task efficiently and effectively. Make a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Don’t forget to add some downtime every few days so you and your kids can have some much-needed rest. Don’t freak out when you miss something. Simply move on and adjust your schedule to ensure everyone’s needs get met without sacrificing family time, which is by far the most important and rewarding part of your day.

Helping children adjust to their new living arrangements

Perhaps the most difficult and heart-wrenching aspect of your new life is helping the kids get used to change. Between learning a new schedule and having to adjust to different rules at each parent’s home, kids often suffer the most. Help your children cope by being open and honest about the situation, keeping their age and maturity in mind when you talk. Don’t sugarcoat things, and avoid using phrases such as, “It’s better this way,” which may discourage them from opening up to you. If possible, work with your ex to ensure the kids have a predictable routine at both homes. offers more tips and advice on helping your children deal with their emotions after a divorce.  

Reentering the dating pool

You may not be ready to consider dating now, but your brain is wired for romantic love. ABC News recently published an article that illustrates the reason why. It mostly comes down to the reward system of the brain. Eventually, you’ll have the desire for both sex and love, but dating when you have kids is tough. Before you dive into the dating pool, outline your intentions. Know ahead of time if you’re simply looking for a fun night or want to explore future long-term relationships. This will put you in a better mind frame when meeting new people, and guide you as you make introductions and set boundaries with a potential partner.  

This is just a partial list of potential challenges that most newly single parents must learn to overcome. Your experience will be unique, depending on how much support you receive from family and friends. But remember, even though your responsibilities have doubled, so too have the rewards you’ll reap as your children’s primary care provider. So take a deep breath, hold your head up high, and know that you can do this for yourself and for your kids.

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Healthy relationships can be exciting, satisfying, and a great deal of fun, but when partnerships become rocky, they can cause a lot of issues both mentally and physically. Ending a bad relationship is rarely easy, and there may be sacrifices that need to be made. Despite how difficult this kind of change may be, there are numerous long-term benefits to your health that come once you put a toxic partnership behind you.

Unhealthy relationships spark numerous health issues

A healthy relationship can spark numerous positive changes in one’s health, but unhealthy relationships can cause a lot of issues with your emotional, mental, and physical health. Fox News points out that a problematic relationship can not only generate stress, but one’s immunity can be weakened as well. Bad relationships can also spike your stress levels, cause you to gain weight, have anxiety or sleep problems, and spark issues with depression or alcohol or drug addiction.

Putting an end to an unhealthy relationship may take a great deal of self-discipline, as it can be difficult to walk away from what you have and face the unknown. You may need to make sacrifices in terms of financial security or relationships with others connected to the partnership, and these types of sacrifices are never easy. However, if there are signs that your relationship is damaging your health, you need to face making a change.

Recognize the red flags that point toward a relationship being unhealthy

Healthy Place details that some red flags that point to an unhealthy relationship include feeling controlled, afraid, or inadequate. You may notice a lack of communication or emotional intimacy, secrecy and lying, signs of alcoholism or drug abuse, or issues of insecurity with either you or your partner. Of course, if you experience issues with emotional, psychological, or physical abuse, you need to end the relationship.

Knowing that you need to split with your partner is one thing, but following through and having the self-discipline to stick with it is another. The sacrifices that need to be made may feel overwhelming, but Break the Cycle has some tips for recovering and moving forward. As they point out, it is okay to feel sad about the end of your relationship, but remember the reasons for the split and don’t second guess yourself. Reach out to family and friends who will support you and help you focus on new experiences and try new activities, hobbies, or foods to distract you.

Going forward, focus on positive changes and self-care

It may be tempting to maintain contact with your ex, and Psychology Today notes that many exes do go on to maintain contact to some degree. However, it is important to develop self-discipline to avoid this when the partnership has become toxic. It can be easy to get sucked back into that unhealthy place, but focus on the positives about being out of that problematic partnership and practice some self-care. You will likely start to feel your overall health improve, and that should become a big motivator. You should begin to feel better and less anxious, and you may realize that you are embracing healthier eating and exercising more.

Use this life change as an opportunity for a total restart. Take a mental health trip to clear your mind, escape from the daily grind, and get a fresh perspective. The trip should focus on relaxation, so give yoga, meditation, or exploration a go. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn to surf or try your hand at pottery. This trip is about you, so do what feels right. If you aren’t ready to jet off just yet, minor changes such as a new hobby or finally painting your room the teal blue you’ve always wanted can be the reset button you need.

Healthy relationships can add great joy to your life and enhance your overall health, but unhealthy relationships can seriously damage both your mental and physical health. Know the signs of trouble and when you come to realize that you need to end things, do your best to look beyond the sacrifices that will need to be made, and create a new life for yourself filled with self-care, new activities, and a solid support system. It may take some time, but the health benefits to ending a bad relationship will soon motivate you to keep moving forward.

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PTSD can be caused by many different things, but it often takes a similar toll on relationships no matter who the sufferer is. Because PTSD is caused by trauma or extreme stress, it can lead to trust and communication issues that can break down a relationship; it can create intimacy issues as the sufferer finds they have no interest in being physically close with someone, or it can go the opposite way and the sufferer may feel an intense need to protect his or her loved ones, coming across as demanding or overly assertive.

Whatever caused the trauma, some sufferers find that they cannot stop thinking about the event months or even years afterward and have a hard time talking about their feelings. They may have intense anger or anxiety that causes them to lose sleep or interest in things they once enjoyed, which can lead to a rift in any relationship. Survivors of extreme trauma may push away the people they love because they feel guilty or ashamed, especially those who faced military combat. Having conflicting emotions about the things witnessed or carried out during battle is common in veterans and can also lead to substance abuse. In fact, alcohol abuse is common in veterans.

Drugs and alcohol often play a big role in the destruction of relationships, as it creates trust issues separate from the PTSD and can heighten anger, violence, and problems functioning in school or at work. Substance abuse can increase impulsivity, making it a dangerous combination with PTSD, which already carries the potential for depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s important for PTSD sufferers to seek help for any substance abuse issue right away, separately from any therapy that might address anxiety. Learning healthy ways to cope is essential in repairing and maintaining a good relationship with friends, family, and loved ones.

It may be difficult for spouses, children, or significant others to understand the feelings a PTSD sufferer goes through every day. It might be hard for them to sympathize because they feel like they are being pushed away, or because they don’t believe they can help. Communication is key in any relationship, and this goes double for individuals living with PTSD. It may be helpful to consider attending a therapy session together as well as one-on-one therapy.

It’s important to remember that having a support system is crucial in learning how to cope with PTSD. This includes social interaction as well as personal relationships, so sufferers should attempt to find ways to interact in a comfortable environment. This can include a support group, a book club, or a simple gathering of friends. It’s possible that certain places or people bring up bad memories or feelings of anxiety because they are connected to the event that caused the PTSD, so it’s imperative to consult with a doctor beforehand to find out whether it will be beneficial to treatment; some therapies involve learning to focus the mind and train it to face the bad memories in order to overcome them, but it’s not right for everyone at every stage of PTSD.

PTSD sufferers should always keep in mind that they are not alone, and that there is help available when they are ready to learn to cope.

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