Recognising The End of a Relationship
Unsurprisingly, couples counselling is perhaps most about helping couples to fix their relationships. Most relationships, where both partners are willing and open to change and compromise, can find a way to recover; yet unfortunately there are some relationships that simply don’t make it. How do you recognise that it is time to give up and move on and indeed how do you start to recover from that shock to your world?
At some point the relationship will have been good - after all, you must have got together for a reason! Yet somehow, later in its life it turned sour and unmanageable. Looking at the reasons for this change will offer many clues as to whether or not to continue. Perhaps infidelity was an issue and you cannot find a way to forgive them - yet you don’t want to become the person who brings it up in every fight or worries each time your partner goes out on their own. Perhaps you have offered support for their drinking or stayed in the relationship because of the children, but daily life is now too much of a struggle and your partner seems unwilling to change. When you have tried to address the problem and there seems no hope even after trying to change, then perhaps the time to do something different has arrived. While you will have things that you like and dislike about your partner, when your expectations of them are greater than what you believe is good enough to continue the relationship then perhaps it is time to move on.
If you do take the decision to split up, as well as much practical consideration there will be significant emotional trauma, not unlike bereavement. Many of your normal routines and practices will be different and may feel uncomfortable. You may find yourself dealing with things that you have no experience of. You may feel upset, guilty or remorseful at the breakup of your relationship. Your self-esteem can be very low.
Recognising that you are in a new phase of your life and that you can make a real difference can be the key to helping yourself move on. Realising that many things have changed and embracing that change is important. Look at your life and friends; perhaps there are those who are supportive and make you feel good about yourself, and perhaps that there are those who are talking about what you have lost. The former will help you to move forward and make the changes that you need. It can be difficult at first to accept compliments from them. Perhaps you feel run down or unworthy; however, start with just thanking them for their compliment, and over time you will come to realise that they are expressing their genuine thoughts.
In fact, many couples successfully split and go on to form healthy, happy relationships with other people; so, if your relationship has come to an end, accept that you tried to save it but don’t spend the rest of your life wondering what might have been. Instead, look to what is possible for the future.
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About Graeme Orr
Graeme is a counsellor and author living and working on the south side of Glasgow. In his practice he sees a number of clients with emotional, anxiety and self-esteem that have relevance to us all. His articles are based on that experience and are offered as an opportunity to identify with, or to challenge you to make changes in your life.