Seperated person looking through window

Separated Wanting Different Things

Each of you will likely want something different. One may want to make a go of things whilst the other may want to get away from the relationship. Feelings and thoughts may fluctuate back and forth between stay and leave. All these positions are natural. Typically I would ask you to identify what outcomes you want for yourself. These may change over time but it is a good place to start even if you are uncertain.

Relationship counselling can help you to make better sense of being separated  and what is going to happen now. Life events and traumas can escalate leading to unexpected reactions and responses. What was once a thriving and supportive relationship can change overtime leaving you feeling isolated and alone. I will facilitate the exploration and consideration of options and possibilities to look at common ground as well as the differences.

Coping with Uncertainty

When a traumatic event like separation occurs there is often an urgent need to get some certainty in uncertain times. This can lead to hasty decisions that do not necessarily help you or the situation. Therefore I can help you to work on developing the capacity to stay with and to better tolerate the anxiety and uncertainty you are experiencing. This can help you come to a point where you feel you can make a balanced decision based on the circumstances and not solely as a reaction to the situation.

You can find yourself dealing with two very important issues at the same time ; one is around the relationship itself and the other is what to do about the shared elements and responsibilities when separated;  such as  children, family, home, friends, pets, home, money, debts, pensions, savings, security, transport, furniture, gifts and many others.

Considering out the two parts; the relationship and the shared elements can help to start focusing on what is important to you both. Often when in this situation it can become overwhelming. By finding what you agree on can start to provide some certainty or at least common ground from which to start negotiations from.

Roller Coaster Emotions

Having separated or contemplating this then different emotions are going to be often felt intensely. Each person may experience the same or different emotions to the other. It is likely that at some point you will feel sad, hopeless, angry, confused, shocked, relieved, guilt, helpless, anxious, scared, unloved, unappreciated, let down, deserted, trapped, bewildered and other emotions beside. These can and do change from day to day even hour to hour.

This time can be highly emotive as security for both is at risk. Often one or both persons feel wronged, taken advantage of and not listened to. What was to be an amicable agreement has the danger of becoming a series of combative wins and losses.

Constructive confrontation

To start from a joint position of being willing to compromise is the ideal. In this way no one entirely gives up everything nor gains everything. Otherwise it can often feel it is a question of who wins or who loses. At this point it can become a battle as both seek to hurt the other for hurts received now and in the past.

Being able to see that there are two points of view although extremely challenging can be helpful. This can help understanding and prevent escalation even when you do not agree with their position.

An important skill that I can help you to develop is to be able to define what you need and your position. Then to be able to listen to the other person and to understand their perspective. When hearing what your partner is saying, first acknowledge what they have said and play back what you heard. This way they feel listened to and valued, this helps diffuse the situation. Remember you do not have to agree with what they are saying and may have the totally opposite view.

Page 3 – Supporting Separating Partners