Ending a Relationship with Love & Respect
Sometimes relationships just have too much going against them to work. Whether it be different goals in life, different outlooks on life, incompatible needs, etc., there are many reasons to end a relationship. Go into this decision knowing that it has nothing to do with how much you love this person.
Love is not enough to sustain a relationship on its own, and I’m not suggesting that love be denied, not even a little bit. Love should never be denied. Still, it can be acknowledged that no matter how much you might love or care for another person, the two of you are just not happy together. You feel you are holding your significant other (SO) back or perhaps you feel they are holding you back. Perhaps you’ve just grown too far apart. Perhaps you’ve met someone else or you want to find someone better suited to you. Perhaps it’s just that you fight too much, and you don’t want to live the rest of your life fighting everyday. Every couple fights, of course, but are you fighting more than you are loving? Do the bad and stressful times far outweigh the good, fun times? If so, you need to seriously consider ending the romantic relationship, thereby freeing each other to find someone with whom they can share their life in relative peace and happiness. This can be an especially difficult decision if there are children involved. Far too many people stay together “for the kids.”
The kids know something isn’t right, and they are learning about how relationships should be through watching you and your wife/husband/SO. Ask yourself right now, would I want my daughter/son to have this relationship? Is this relationship good enough for my child? If not, then why is it good enough for you? Why is it good enough for your SO? And if you stay in an unhappy or unfulfilling or unloving relationship/marriage for your children, you are likely sentencing your children to the same future. They are learning from you.
So, you know you need to end it. Now let’s look at some ways you can do this without destroying each other, and your children, in the process. First, you must acknowledge and express that relationships evolve, and you feel that you both have just changed too much to continue. That you are not happy, and you know that they are not happy either.
If you’ve had an indiscretion or a full blown affair, I wouldn’t recommend telling them this while you’re ending it. I don’t often advise anything but honesty, but this might be an exception. You know your situation better than I do. If it is the only thing that will help you sever ties with your spouse/SO, then perhaps you should, but that will make an amicable break up that much more difficult, maybe impossible. For they will not only feel rejected but also deeply betrayed.
Continue the discussion by telling them that you will not just disappear. That you will ease through this transition with them, especially if you have children. Contact with them should be limited, though, and it needs to be kind, respectful, and serve as a gentle reminder that it is over. Again and again. At first, perhaps you should limit contact to only once a week. After a few weeks of that, you’ll want to go into no contact for at least three weeks or a month at a time. And no contact means not checking their Facebook status or Twitter feed. No texting. Etc. When you talk with them or see them after the initial break, don’t make love. Ever. Because although you might be lonely, it will be seen by your ex as an act of love and reconciliation. Then your work will start all over again and be harder than before.
After the initial shock and the reality of the new situation has sunk in, make a pact of no contact for three full months. You both need time to heal. Reassure your ex that you are not going away, but this is a necessary break for the two of you to start living separate lives. The course, Heal My Broken Heart, is an excellent resource that I can personally recommend.
And if there is someone else or if you meet someone soon thereafter, then keep it out of public for awhile. That means not to write lovey-dovey things publicly on Facebook or via Twitter. Keep respectful of your recent ex during their time of grieving, at least for a few months. Three at the very least, and better for six. It will likely take a full year to get over each other, if not longer. Don’t make it harder for them by flaunting your new love. After all, you care for your ex, perhaps the mother/father of your children. Show them the respect they deserve.
There is another way, of course, especially if you have small children. If you live together with or without children, this transition will be more difficult, but it’s not impossible. You have a lot of work, talking, and reassuring ahead of you. You can decide to remain living together, but you must start separating your (at least romantic) lives. Through some serious work and communication, you and your SO could come to a decision to remain together as parents, supporting each other as friends while raising your children in a loving environment, but acknowledge that the romantic part of the relationship is over. You would both begin seeing other people, and whether or not you talked about that part of your life with each other, would be up to the two of you. You would evolve into best friends, in a perfect world. If you choose this path, I wouldn’t recommend lying to your children about it. You define your relationship, don’t let society define it for you. As long as you are loving and respectful of your SO, in and out of romantic ties, your children will accept you and love you for it. There are many “non-traditional” relationships in today’s society, and what works for one couple will not work for the next. Children commonly have “two mommies” or “two daddies,” something that was impossible in society just 20 years ago. People, friends, family, and society adjust, if we can just be honest and real.
This path takes great strength and communication, as in cohabitation it’s far too easy to fall back into each other’s beds on lonely nights, and that can be seen as a reconciliation, as previously mentioned. That said, if you can open communication, respect, and understanding to have a loving relationship at home and have loving relationships with others, all the better for all concerned. You might end up in a polyamorous relationship after all.
Figure out what you want. What is your ideal situation? Then, try for that. Really, what have you got to lose but unhappiness?
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~ by omgrey on June 22, 2011.
Posted in Romance & Relationships
Tags: author, broken heart, grief, healing, heartbroken, honesty, infidelity, love, non-monogamy, o.m. grey, olivia grey, open, open marriage, polyamory, postaweek2011, relationship advice, relationships, romance, sex, shattered, steampunk