Dealing with changing relationships

Activities for coping with work and personal relationship changes

Changes you may experience

All changes in life, good or bad, affect you and your relationships.

Changes that you have to deal could include:

  • new relationships, jobs, parenthood
  • bereavements, divorce, redundancy, retirement, bankruptcy
  • moving house or being evicted and becoming homeless
  • accidents and traumatic experiences
  • academic or professional successes and disappointments.

With some of these your role in society may change too. You might become a parent, carer, patient or well-respected professional. What roles you have had? What changes or feelings came with each?


Thinking about changes

Watch this video. Think of recent or big changes in your life or someone else's. Which were positive and which were more challenging? How did you deal with them? What would you do differently having watched the video?

Managing different types of change

Some things that change in your life will be down to your own choices, like a new job or getting married. Others you may not have control of. Sometimes those can make you feel sad, stressed or lonely.

  • Write down the most significant changes in your life
  • Next to each, write or draw how they made you feel.

What advice would you give to yourself? You could write a letter to tell your younger self how you coped. How could you use what you have learned to help others?

Explore the Robertson Cooper model of resilience

The Robertson Cooper model helps you understand how resilience is developed. It is broken into four key areas: purposefulness, confidence, social support and adaptability. The more developed you are in each of these areas, the stronger your resilience is and the better you will be able to cope with changes.


View the Robertson Cooper model



Ore on changes in his life

Ore, a British Red Cross volunteer, describes how he has been dealing with changes in his life over the past few months.

Have you been able to do anything similar?

What advice would you give to others?



Ore on keeping in touch

Ore talks about his 'physical friend list', a list he keeps to remind himself to catch up with friends and family he has not spoken to for a while.

Ore experienced a lot of change in the last year. How does his physical list help him deal with that? What ideas could work for you when you are facing changes?

Coping with loss 

Loss can be very difficult to cope with. There are different types of loss, all are challenging. Which types of loss apply to you? What other types of loss would you add to these examples:

  • moving home and losing contact with others
  • losing someone close to us
  • not being able to attend important events
  • job loss and loss of routine
  • not being able to go outside and not being able to meet others.

Are you currently experiencing loss?

Has your life changed in some way recently? Loss of connections, routine and certainty among other things can be challenging to deal with.

Study the Kubler-Ross curve in your wellbeing toolkitIt may help you acknowledge your loss, and understand new feelings you may be having.

Joining an organisation or community group can help, for example Gingerbread for single parent families, or the University of the Third AgeThis might be difficult during the pandemic, but you could call our free coronavirus support service on 0808 196 3651 to ask for information on community networks. It's open 10am to 6pm every day and can also give support with loneliness and other issues.

If you've moved home and are missing your old local places and networks, search online for a neighbourhood forum for your new area.

Sharing positive changes

Many changes are good, but even positive changes, like getting the job that you want, can feel new and different. Becoming a parent, even when planned, can change our perspective or the time we have available. Share your happiness, and worries, with friends and family.

More resources you might find useful

The British Red Cross has created a range of resources for building confidence and connecting with others. You can find out more about the project or click the links below to get started.

Make connections

Build coping skills