Big life changes

A big change in your life can often trigger feelings of doubt, worry or uncertainty which is absolutely normal. If you're worried or need some help, there is support and advice available.

Some common changes in your life that can be difficult to deal with include:

Relationship breakdown

There can be a lot of emotion and uncertainty at the end of a relationship; and this can be a difficult time with a lengthy grieving and letting go process. In some situations, the overwhelming nature of the breakup can make you feel unhappy, hopeless and low. If the relationship has ended due to only one person's decision the other can often feel hurt or abandoned with uncertainty about the future.

A relationship breakdown can sometimes leave you feeling shock and disbelief; blaming your partner for the ending. If you've ended the relationship you may feel responsible and guilty for the decision.

You can seek support to get you through this difficult period.

Help and support

  • Relate provide relationship support and counselling for everyone

Changes in employment


The loss of a work role in retirement can be difficult to deal with and can be associated with a loss of:

  • companions and colleagues
  • social interactions
  • routine and structure
  • money and status

The transition to retirement can be a challenge particularly if you've lost an important role or contribution to society. These changes in your life may produce feelings of uncertainty and isolation. Men in particular may need more support during this time of adjustment.

Long term unemployment or redundancy

Work can play an important part in your life and provides a sense of purpose. Long-term unemployment for any reason can be difficult to deal with and can make you feel down, depressed and isolated.

Unemployment and redundancy can undermine your self-confidence and cause significant financial problems, especially if you've got a family to keep and a mortgage to pay. These building responsibilities can lead to feelings of worry and it can be difficult to see a solution to your problems. Help and advice is available to get you through these difficult times.

Help and support

Loss of a loved one

When a loved one dies, no matter the circumstances, it can be a very emotional and devastating time. It's important to give yourself time to and space to go through the grieving process.

Losing a loved one affects individuals in different ways and there is no correct way to deal with your feelings and emotions but there is help and support available.

Help and support


The diagnosis of a life changing condition or terminal illness can make you feel helpless and you may experience uncontrollable emotions. The shock of having to suddenly face and think about death can be really hard to deal with.

You may have to cope with challenging symptoms and experience a sense of loss of control in your life. These changes can leave you feeling very low and uncertain about how to move forward. Long periods of pain and suffering can be hard and make you feel powerless and withdrawn.

We all have our own way of coping with and handling unforeseen challenges in our lives but most of us will go through a similar range of feelings and emotions. Having someone close to support you through this time can help you cope better with the situation. This can often be a family member, friend, professional or volunteer.

Help and support

Time in prison

When someone is sent to prison it can affect the whole family. The prisoner may be battling with being separated from their family and friends – this can be one of the most difficult aspects of their sentence. It is understandable that they'll be feeling very low and vulnerable and family and friends can also feel as if they're being punished.

They may struggle with negative emotions and thoughts in a prison setting and when they've been released into the community. In the prison setting the fear of other inmates, consequences of their crime, or imprisonment, and the loss of a significant relationship are often very tough to deal with.

The adjustment to being released from prison and building a life can be a scary and uncertain time for prisoners and their families too.

Help and support