Uncoupling – when it’s time to leave a relationship

September 4, 2013

Breaking down of a marriage - Poor communicationThe other day while catching up with a friend, I listened while she told me of her recent breakup. It was inspiring to hear her perspective, one that came on the other side of the pain that the separation had caused. As I listened intently to her account of this most recent journey I was awestruck by her ability to see, in hindsight (and even a little while she was still feeling the emotional upheaval) what a gift it was that the universe had sent her when her long-time partner told her he wanted to leave the relationship.

It reminded me of the only time I ever had to end a relationship. It was the passage of time and the realization of the many lessons that the experience carried for me that helped me to heal, to let go and to move through the grief and the pain that I felt, even though it was my choice to end it. Even still one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was to tell someone I loved that I needed to leave the relationship.

I remember the look of hurt on his face when I explained that we were growing apart, moving in different directions. I cried when I explained that I was changing, evolving and my journey was taking me on a new and different path, away from him.

And although I had tried to make the relationship work, throughout my period of self-realization one of the things I recognized was that the relationship just wasn’t working anymore. We had become two very different people.

In past generations the idea of separation or divorce was one of those subjects that was spoken of in hushed tones. It was not as common as it is today and people who did divorce carried with them a sense of shame or failure because they couldn’t seem to keep the family together. There was a lot of judgment put on people who, for whatever reasons, felt it necessary to divorce, separate or move on.

But times have changed. The world is a different place than it was 40 or 50 years ago. Women are far more independent both emotionally and financially. Whether that makes it easier to walk away from a relationship or not, I don’t know. But what I do know is that breakups happen – a lot. You’re constantly shifting, changing, growing and not always at the same rate or in the same direction as your partner. It’s a fact of life, sometimes a painful one, but there it is before you and you know you have to leave.

Sometimes the wiser, more responsible choice is to end a relationship. It’s not about anyone doing anything wrong. There is no blame to be laid – there doesn’t have to be. And it doesn’t have to be ugly, no matter how much it hurts. There’s so much to let go of in a breakup – your history together, ideas of the traditional family and what it means to you, the hopes and dreams of growing old together, the home you’ve created with each other and the raising of your children as a united parental unit.

These are all great reasons to stay together IF you are in alignment and the relationship is a loving, respectful, honoring one, but if it’s not, then trying to stay together for any of these same reasons would be inauthentic, dishonoring and unfair to the highest good of both you and your partner.

If each person in the partnership takes care of their own emotions, who they are and what their desires for a beloved relationship are, they can acknowledge the truth oCouple in conflictf the situation, and perhaps can even support each other through the transition to some degree. It would certainly be a loving example for any children of the relationship.

Whether you are the one initiating the breakup or your partner is the catalyst of the changes, it’s never easy to go through. You have a choice as to how you want to see the whole experience. You can choose to be the victim and see that this is happening TO you or you can look at is as an opportunity to learn, grow and explore the person you are outside of a relationship. And that can be a pretty exciting possibility once the initial emotional upheaval is over.

If you allow yourself time to grieve and to feel the anger, hurt and shame that the separation brings you to, you can then be open to a whole new world of love, peace and joy. And you create the environment for attracting someone who is more in alignment with who you are.

My friend worked her way through all the emotions that her breakup brought up for her. She allowed herself the space and time to heal and understood the lesson that it brought her and came out on the other side stronger, wiser and more open to what the future may bring.

In the emptiness I felt at the end of the relationship I found myself, and in the space of that void I created a new life full of exciting new adventures and courage that I never knew I had.

Breaking up doesn’t have to take you to the depths of despair indefinitely. It can show you a new, bright world of possibility. And it can strengthen the most important relationship you will ever have – the one with yourself.

With love and kindness

Bettina

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