For When All But Hope Is Gone

Paris, City of Love

So often I meet with couples who are on the brink of separation. It seems that even while there might still be a skerrick of hope they don’t know what to do about it and decide to separate because they simply can’t see any other way out.

Here is one question that came to me recently that follows this line.

“I have been married for ten years. In the tenth anniversary month, we are in the process of splitsville. One thing we both agree with is that the challenges “do not appear insurmountable”. But guess what, we just have not been able to crack. … No outings, limited intimacy living like roommates. At the moment we are getting ready for court, we are on the brink, what do we do, given that there is a sliver of hope?”

Deciding whether or not to end a relationship is just as hard as being left. Although you may be very dissatisfied or wonder if you have any love left, you may be reluctant to really make a break.

Tormenting yourself over whether or not to continue the relationship may interfere with looking at the changes you need to make in yourself. Don’t count on a new partner to take away any underlying insecurity you might have.

Before making the final decision to stay or leave, consider the following:

Do not expect yourself to feel love for your partner when you are feeling resentful. These two emotions are virtually incompatible. If you are feeling resentful at all you deal with that first. If you can’t talk to your partner about this just yet, speak to a professional Counsellor first to defuse it before it becomes too big to manage and it overwhelms you.

Imagine yourself living with your partner on even days and living apart on odd days. Contemplate what it feels like in each of these scenarios to test whether it feels more right to be together or to be separate.

Do not let anyone pressure you into a decision. Only you can make the correct choice for you. If you are not ready to make it just yet then it’s best to pause making any decision until you are ready. It might mean that your partner will make their own decision to separate in the meanwhile and if this happens you will have to accept the consequences.

I teach my clients a strategy which I call “Traffic Light”

Red stands for ‘stop’. So when you need to make a decision, or you are being asked to do something which you are not sure about, stop whatever you are doing and take some time to think about what is happening. This is represented by the yellow light; slow down and be prepared to take careful and well thought through action. Green stands for ‘go’. Take the action that has been well thought through and is the best action to take for the situation you are in.

Discover how you allow yourself to be a victim by talking to friends or a Counsellor. You will not stop feeling resentful until you stop giving up your power. You can control your life and what you think, do and say and know that if you take the time to consider your situation carefully you will make the right decision.

Identify one change you are going to make in yourself to develop your decision-making skill. Make this change consistently until you sense that you are no longer acting like a victim.

Make a final decision only after making these necessary changes in yourself. This will give you a much better sense of what you need to do next.

Often people, by their inaction, stay in relationships far too long often until they have no love left. If this sounds a bit like you take action now. Don’t let the situation go until you get to that point of resentment. And if there is any hope at all make a commitment right now to do whatever you need to do to really give this relationship the best chance you can give it.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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