Each and every break-up is unique, because every relationship is unique.
This means that in some ways no one has gone through exactly what you're going through now.
On the other hand it’s also true that whatever you’re feeling and dealing with right now, it's entirely possible for you to find balance and a sense of purpose once more.
The scenarios below, although drawn from real-life experience, are intended to represent general features of relationship break-down or break-up, not necessarily specifics that relate to you.
Do you see yourself in any of them? Maybe in more than one? See what you think.
You were married for years – 5, 10, 15, more. You have children and it seems that your whole life has been shaped around the marriage, the home, the family. The break-up feels so much more than just something between the two of you: everything's up for grabs. Sometimes it's simply overwhelming, you can hardly bear it. At other times you feel empty. Emotions can run very high, self-esteem can be very low. Loving again seems a lifetime away.
You’ve been waiting for the kids to grow up. Now might be the time, but you’re not sure. When ARE they 'grown up'? And it all looks so difficult, so many issues to deal with. People could get hurt. Maybe it’s best to leave it a bit longer. (How many times have you said that?) Part of you really wants to move on, part of you feels desperately uncertain. Maybe your partner will make the decision for you…..
This isn't the first time. Once again, a relationship that seemed so promising at the start has come to a disappointing end. You wonder if you're really cut out for marriage or anything resembling it. You wonder how much is your own fault, how much is theirs? Perhaps you're just destined to be alone?
It's not over yet, at least you don't think it is. But things between you are frequently really difficult. There's precious little intimacy or tenderness between you, and you're wrapped up in unexpressed thoughts and emotions much of the time. Sometimes you want it to end, sometimes you want it to carry on. Meanwhile life goes by and there's all these things you want achieve...
You're relieved most of the time, but there's SO much to sort out. You want to get it right, make the right decisions, but it's all so new and weird and unknown. You feel sorry for the ex, but also angry: how should you behave? How do you tell people? Should you keep in touch with the ex? Should you start dating again? What about his/her family? Who keeps what? What about the dog? And the money...oh, the money situation is really difficult.
You know you want a partner, but when is the right time to try again? How do you go about it? And you may be concerned that history will just repeat itself; the prospect of another 'failure' in love is too awful to consider. How can you ensure it won't all happen again?
If any of the above strikes a chord with you, then I'm confident I can help. Perhaps you see yourself in more than one scenario?
It's OK, I never forget that every break-up is unique.
My approach is likely to work well if you are EITHER
in a long-term relationship which is causing you high levels of unhappiness, stress, anxiety, anger, self-blame or other negative emotions
in the process of separating from your partner, and sometimes feel overwhelmed/uncertain by the emotions and/or the practical realities of break-up
now firmly single (probably living alone or as a single parent) but are struggling to adapt and find relief or contentment without a partner
simply overwhelmed by separation/divorce/being alone, no matter the reason