The end of a relationship can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. For both partners the feelings of anger, disappointment, and loss are often overwhelming. Working with a couples therapist during a separation or breakup can give you both the space to process those feelings and to find a way to separate while treating each other with respect and kindness.
When you think of couples therapy, you may think of solving relationship issues or saving a troubled relationship. You may imagine learning to communicate better, having fewer arguments, and moving forward together as closer, more loving partners. Certainly these goals bring many people to couples therapy, but what if you and your partner are considering taking a break or breaking up? Couples therapy can help with that too.
If you and your partner are thinking about a temporary break or trial separation, it is important to discuss what that will look like. Here are some of the important questions to consider before a break:
How long will the break be?
Will you be dating other people?
How much contact will you have during the break?
and most importantly…where will you live?
In New York, space concerns are very real for couples. If you have been sharing an apartment, there are practical concerns to discuss: who will stay, who will move, and what are the financial implications for each of you?
These are difficult conversations to have, but avoiding them can set you up for more pain and disappointment in the long run. Being clear with one another can help to alleviate some of the anxiety that comes with unclear expectations.
Perhaps one or both of you have decided to end the relationship, but you are struggling to part ways. A good couples therapist can help you to find some clarity by exploring each partner’s contribution to the problems in the relationship. Maybe you are having trouble moving on because you are convinced that if only you were more supportive, your partner would want to stay. Maybe you are stuck in a cycle of blaming your partner and expecting them to change. Challenging these narratives can be the first step toward finding some peace and acceptance.
Separations and breakups are incredibly difficult, but good endings are possible, and they impact how you will approach future relationships. Finding a couples therapist who creates a space for you and your partner to process your feelings and clarify what you want can ease the pain of separation. Click here to make an appointment to work with me or one of our couples therapists.