Britain is set to leave the EU after UK voters decided to bring an end to a relationship which spanned nearly half of a century. The further announcement today that David Cameron has resigned as PM sent another shock wave around the country and world-wide.
After a long-term relationship with the EU we must now part ways and in doing so it is to be expected that we will experience a range of emotions in reaction to this breakup. Social media has been on a fire this morning with people expressing thoughts and feelings and even arguing with one another. Amazing how much emotion can be evoked using a world-wide platform from the comfort of our living rooms! Uncertainty and change can most certainly cause a range of feelings from excitement and curiosity, through to discomfort, anxiety or even despair.
In true politics form, the last few months of campaigning has included heated debates, scare mongering and racist accusations, people have wanted to ensure their voice has been heard and understood. But now the votes are in and the results announced we must live together as a nation with the outcome. Like many divorcing couples, the separation is just the beginning of continuing a life apart from one another, yet we cannot ever undo that the relationship existed in the first place and that it will forever be a part of their lives and histories.
With any relationship breakdown we experience loss and people grieve differently, some will grieve outwardly and express their emotions while others grieve inwardly and silently. The universal five-stages of loss model proposed by Kubler-Ross (1969) may help to explain our emotional reactions in response to the breakup:
The healing process of this breakup will certainly take some time, and allowing the dust to settle after a day like today is important. None of us really know what the future will hold, as couples do not know how their future will look when they separate and move apart from one another. However, after the initial pain and anguish of a separation new lives can be slowly rebuilt. How and what exactly we will build is now for us to decide together as a nation. Whatever you feel today you won’t be alone.