– Breakup or breakthrough –
how to get off the fence
Peter en Anne – Tired of therapy; longing for clarity
When there’s a breakup, feelings of guilt towards the children are huge. Peter has had a mistress for 3 years, Anne and Peter have a kind of agreement on this. The mistress, however, becomes impatient, the children are adolescents now and withdrawing themselves from the family unit and at work, Peter has to deal with a reorganization. Anne started drinking wine on a daily basis. Both Anne and Peter use sleep medication.
2 weeks ago, they registered in my practice, as a last attempt after years of therapies with insufficient results. Their tension is tangible. Both are tired of trying to go back and forth on which way to continue, is best. They opt for the 2-day intensive approach, their question is; ‘Should we really divorce or not? As formulated by Anne; ‘Is there enough left to work with or should we stop trying half-heartedly and actually breakup, we really want to find clarity and decide, preferably in harmony.’
Even though every situation is different, time and time again when I encounter comparable challenges in my practice, the relationship reserves are depleted. Couples are sometimes so fed up with each other and yet they are still – also emotionally – connected. It is quite something, to really go through with a breakup and decide to divorce. It has a big impact on everything and everyone around it. This understanding is present, more often than not, with the couples I work with.
For me, it is important to try to keep away from the content of their differing viewpoints, but rather to let them arrive at a relational level. Only then, can perspectives change. What is actually happening? What are triggers and why? Where are they stuck and how to we break through resistance? We are talking about expectations in which taking responsibility plays an important role. Playfully, they learn to place oneself in the partner’s shoes, without having to put aside their own wisdom. With Anne and Peter, I paused for a long time at what both want to stand for in life, what is valuable to them and from what they derive meaning in life. That ultimately led to choosing for each other and keeping their family intact. Both Anne and Peter showed that they wanted to develop themselves- together – instead of taking different paths. After the intensive 2-day program tailored for their unique situation, they had enough insights to make that conscious decision. Their journey to a new connection then began.
6 Tips to get clarity to separate or not:
- Is there meaningful time for each other? Check whether you recognize yourself in this; do you still make the effort to pay attention to your partner? Do you live parallel lives? You can spend time together, which is not the same as sincere attention to each other. Do you notice that only the annoying habits of your partner stand out? Are there moments with feelings of true connection
- What does your gut feeling say? Our body often has a quicker understanding of what is going on than our brain. Does your body give signals? Can you pay attention to this? At what point do you have, for example, a stomach ache or a headache? Does it have anything to do with your partner? Or your togetherness?
- Is there any unwanted pressure? Find out whether there is any form of abuses. This can also be on an emotional level. If you are in a relationship where one partner is abusing the other, it is time to ask yourself what you are still doing in that relationship.
- Find out what your common values are. Determine whether you both find it important how and if you feel connected. Where do you want to be as a couple? Now and in the future? Are you prepared to make this journey towards your values together?
- How is your sex life? If you touch each other, do you really feel each other? No desire for sex is a common complaint but does not mean that your relationship is irreparably damaged. Check if your sex life is not what you would like it to be due to technique, to stress, to chemistry or to your own blueprint, that is often based on upbringing
- Is there really a relationship problem? See if you do not blame your relationship or your partner for a sense of dissatisfaction that may be caused by other sources of stress.
‘Breakthrough instead of breakup’
If you want to get off the fence, the Time For Each Other programs are a great way to do just that. These accelerated programs can provide clarity within days and not months, as with regular relationship therapy. As a registered BIG Psychotherapist and accredited NVRG Relationship Therapist with a lot of experience, I understand that more is needed than just love, for a strong and lasting relationship. Time For Each Other is exclusive and personalized, to both partners.