Are You Ending a Relationship? Do You Both Want to End Your Relationship With Respect and Care?

• Are you struggling to cope with the end of a relationship?
• Are you both facing confusion and pain and not necessarily sure you are handling things how you want to handle them?
• Are you and your ex struggling to make decisions regarding your children, pets or belongings?
• Have you and your ex been arguing in ways that are not productive?
• Do you wish you could both end your relationship in a way that allows you and your ex to move forward respectfully and with grace?

Break-ups are painful and exhausting. Maybe the break-up came as a surprise for you or your partner, and one of you is struggling to cope with intense feelings of anger or resentment while the other now feels guilty and concerned for everyone’s well-being. It could be that you both agreed to break up, but are unsure about the best ways to care for your children or/and your pets as you begin the process of parting ways.

The emotions that come with a break-up often cloud judgment and lead to feelings of uncertainty and pain. You and your ex may not be able to have a conversation without dissolving into tears or an argument. You both might feel as though the whole process is diminishing your sense of self-worth, and you just don’t know how to help both parties move on. Maybe you both want this break-up to leave everyone feeling better and more whole, not less.

Ending a Relationship Is Difficult

Breaking up is one of the most difficult things that people go through, and most adults have experienced the pain of ending a relationship with someone who they cared deeply about. Sometimes, break-ups come as a total surprise, which can lead to feelings of sorrow, hopelessness and helplessness. These deep, powerful emotions often make it difficult to operate at your best, most conscious self. During a break-up, usually kind, loving, compassionate people can behave in ways that make the separation even more difficult.

Ending a relationship often involves making tough decisions. Perhaps you and your ex-partner have to figure out childcare and a routine for your children. Or, maybe you and your ex have pets and are arguing over who will keep them. Although it can be frustrating and bewildering if your partner is acting in unexpected ways, it is also very common. During a break-up, it can be very difficult to figure out what is truly best for everyone. Thankfully, there are ways to work through these challenges.

Conscious Uncoupling Can Help You Both End Your Relationship With Grace and Care

Conscious uncoupling has gained attention recently thanks to celebrities, but it is actually a concept that has been around for quite some time. One of the primary tenants of this approach is the belief that there are no bad guys in a break-up. Instead, there are two individuals who are both experiencing their own unique pain and learning their own lessons through the act of separating. Each person brings his or her own unconscious and conscious minds – everything from the past and present – into the break-up. I often say that we “let the monkey drive” when we allow our unconscious mind to take over and make our decisions for us. However, through conscious uncoupling, you and your ex get to make a decision: Who do you want to drive?

In sessions, I will work with you both together, using an approach that is distinctly different than what many therapists use in divorce coaching or break-up recovery. In conscious uncoupling, I do not take sides. Instead, I sit with both of you and help you identify your values and needs moving forward. I can help you both move away from thinking of one partner as the villain and the other as a victim. Instead, I can help each of you recognize that both of you are human beings and that you once loved each other intimately. If you and your ex have children, this process of developing and expressing compassion and empathy can be a deeply nurturing thing for them to see. You and your ex don’t have to end your relationship – something that once brought you joy – with only negative feelings. Instead, you both can come to understand everything that you’ve learned in your time together. Rather than a step backward, a break-up can be another part of development and growth.

It is okay to come to counseling with a lot of anger. You both might want to just throw a bucket of ice water over the other’s head. Those feelings are completely normal. However, counseling can help you both better understand where your feelings are coming from. We can ask you both if it is really a higher self that wants to do this, or if it’s the monkey who is filling up the bucket. In sessions, we will not go through all of the past hurts that have brought you and your ex here. What we will do is talk about how you each are feeling in the moment so that you can make your choices with deep awareness of your values. Conscious uncoupling is about the present.

With help and support, you and your ex can figure out the best possible future for yourselves, your pets or your children. I can help you build respect for one another and make compassionate choices. A break-up does not have to be a disaster. You can end your relationship with a sense of peace and a deep awareness of all that your relationship has taught you. You and your ex-partner can move into your new future with wholeness and hope.

You both may believe that conscious uncoupling can help you separate more peacefully, but still have questions or concerns…

shutterstock_261840029Is this just couples counseling all over again?

Couples counseling dives deeply into emotional issues and focuses on the hurts of the past as well as how to behave differently in the present. Conscious uncoupling is about the present. Together, we will discuss what you need to do now in order to break up in the best possible way. I will help you both discover how to separate in a way that honors your values and respects the humanity of the other person. And, although this process takes a different perspective, I can also connect you both with a professional divorce mediator, Julia F. Weber, if needed. As I support you both in making the best decisions, she can help you work through legal issues.

Will conscious uncoupling take a long time?

This type of counseling will only take as many sessions as you both feel you need. Because we will work to establish a plan that is fair for both parties, you may find that conscious uncoupling actually makes the process of separation faster and smoother, especially if you are able to let go of some anger. I can help you and your ex-partner make effective, healthy decisions during sessions so that you don’t have to deal with the same mental weight when you are working or taking care of other obligations. When you and your ex are able to see each other as people and stop fighting, you will be able to end your relationship in a way that makes both of you feel happier and more whole.

Isn’t this just some Hollywood fad?

The celebrities we have recently heard say “conscious uncoupling” did not coin the phrase. This method has been around for a while, and it is an effective way to help you and your ex maintain your sense of self during your break-up. You don’t have to end your relationship with blindfolds on or with emotions tugging the process full speed ahead. Instead, you both can stay connected with your own highest values and make the process as simple as possible.

If you and your ex-partner are in the middle of a break-up and need help moving forward with conscious awareness, I invite you to call me at (415) 294-5007 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I’m happy to discuss your specific situation and answer any questions you have.