BREAK UP

What is Conscious Uncoupling?

Some of the people who begin this process of discernment realize they want to end part of their relationship and still stay in loving compassionate partnership or friendship at the same time.

There’s not a lot of support in our culture for more creative relationship transformations, but that is often what folks are seeking when we talk about conscious uncoupling.

Conscious Uncoupling Expertise from the Source

Watch this Wanderlust talk by Katherine Woodward Thomas, author of the book Conscious Uncoupling about what this means if you think that may be a path forward for you.

Here are the basics of Conscious Uncoupling:

  • It is natural to want to stay in connection with past lovers. Historically we stayed in lifelong connections with interconnections rather than end relationships without any further contact.

  • It is possible to have a loving happy post-divorce (or break up) family if all partners are committed to that vision.

  • With clear intention, self regulation and support you can share generous care for your partner- even if your relationship evolves more into friendship than romantic partnership.

Questions to Ask When Deciding to Break Up

Making the decision to break up isn't easy. Most of you reading this have good reasons to both stay and go. For the most part, people felt super ambivalent about their relationships even if the decision seems pretty obvious. Most people have baseline dealbreakers that often go out the window when they meet someone and feel a strong chemical reaction.

Over time we start wondering if compromising those standards and some of our independence was really worth it.

Others start feeling stuck in unresolved conflict and unaddressed resentments that block our ability to deeply connect.

It’s hard to end a relationship for many reasons. If nothing else, there’s no way to end a relationship without facing the reality of loss and grief. But sometimes loss and grief are what you both need to build fuller, more enriching lives apart.

Questions to Ask When Deciding If You Should Break Up

Breaking up is obviously never easy. However, these 18 questions are designed to help you find some clarity if you're having difficulty deciding what to do:

  1. Have I been feeling unsafe, intimidated or threatened in this relationship?

  2. Have I been criticized, degraded or disrespected on a consistent basis?

  3. Have I been regularly interrogated about who I talk to, where I go, how much money I spend and related issues?

  4. Have I been walking on eggshells because I’m fearful or uncomfortable speaking my mind in this relationship?

  5. Does my partner always blame me or others for their problems or things that go wrong?

  6. Is my partner excessively possessive, calling or texting constantly, visiting expectantly to check up on me?

  7. Does my partner make me feel inadequate?

  8. How is this ending going to improve my life? The other person’s life?

  9. Does my partner keep their word or promises? Do I?

  10. Does my partner take responsibility for their actions? Do I?

  11. Is my partner willing to see things from my perspective? Will I see theirs?

  12. Does this person make me happy or would I be happier by myself?

  13. Have I asked for my needs to be met directly and respectfully?

  14. Am I expecting my partner to be the only one who changes - am I willing to make serious changes in order to make this work?

  15. Have we adequately tried to resolve conflicts and stuck points? Are we willing to hire help if needed?

  16. Do we have the same values and goals for the future?

  17. Am I ready to walk-away or am I going to end it and get back together?

  18. Can I handle being single and finding other supports for my grief through this break up?

At the end of the day, no one can decide what you should do about your relationship but you. But if you really take the time to think it over, you'll make the right decision for you.

If you want help sorting through this decision please give me a call for a consultation. I’ve supported hundreds of great folks as they decide to stay or go and I’d be happy to help you.


Gina Senarighi Madison Couples Counselor

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in healthy communication, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

She co-hosts the Swoon podcast and coaches clients online all over the world and leads retreats in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest United states.

When she’s not working she’s tending her urban garden, traveling with her partner, raising her toddler, listening to podcasts or walking her little dog, Frida in Madison, Wisconsin.

Three Books to Help Heal Your Heartache

A good friend of mine wrote the other day asking for suggested reading after her recent break up from her sweetheart of years.  Breakups can be so painful, and it can help to have reliable words to lean on when you are going through difficult times.  Here are the books I recommended she read.  I hope they might help you through difficult times.

These first three are best for you if you just need to heal your heart and move on.  They can help, but the best remedy is a combination of time, friendship, good self care, and coaching (call me if you want help with that last one).

Comfortable with Uncertainty- Pema Chodron

One of the more troubling parts of a break up is the loss of an imagines future you planned to share with your loved one.  You may have felt very sure things were heading in one direction only to be surprised that they are headed down a very different path.  This fantastic book can help you work through

Happiness - Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the hardest things to get through is grief and loss surrounding a break up.  This book will guide you through daily actions you can take to re-orient yourself toward happiness without avoiding the emotions connected to your loss.

The Happiness Advantage- Shawn Achor

Its not easy to think about happiness after a big heartache.  Give yourself some time, and know that when you are ready to start rebuilding this book has some simple actions you can take to help get you there.

Remember to give it time, and focus on your feelings first.  As one of my great mentors used to say, you can't force anything good.  If you find you are trying to force yourself to move on too quickly stop, slow down, and spend a little time just being gentle with yourself.

You'll get there, I promise.