I HATE that I have to write about this unfortunate topic. For the record, I’m #TeamRelationships #TeamWorkItOut #TeamGetCounseling. Even in the worst cases of infidelity or irreconcilable differences, I’m always optimistic that a compromise can be reached.
However, just because I’m #TeamRelationships, doesn’t mean that others are…specifically the ones in downward-spiraling relationships. If I have learned anything as a Relationship Consultant it’s that I can’t force my personal values on someone else’s relationship.
So, in-spite of my best efforts to help a couple work it out, I’ve had the unfortunate task of walking some of them through the painful process of breaking up.
You might be facing this dreaded option yourself. As much as I would like to help you stay together, it’s unrealistic to believe everyone will make it to happily-ever-after. So…just as it is my joy to advise you on how to make your relationships work, it’s also my burden to advise you on the 6-steps to follow if it looks like your relationship is not gonna make it. (:o(
Give it all you have
This might seem like a given. But I’ve seen couples leave some meat-on-the-(relationship)-bone. Some have never been to counseling, never sought help from church, friends, or family…under the guise of “I don’t want nobody in our business.”
Stop being so prideful.
Instead of asking for help to save your marriage, you’d rather stay silent and let your relationship fail…talkin’ ‘bout, “We gave it a try but it just didn’t work out?”
Listen Linda, stop pimping yourself out to your pride. Rather, give yourself wholly to the supervised process of reconciliation before pulling the plug.
Express your needs and expectations
When communication breaks down during the downward spiral, the emphasis shifts to what is implied, rather than to what is expressed. Jill, for example, thinks her silent treatment is expressing that she’s mad at the way Jack gives other people more attention than he gives her.
But Jack interprets it as ‘Jill always ignores me so I go out and get the attention my wife doesn’t give me from other people.’ In the meantime…ain’t nobody verbally expressing their needs or expectations about nothing.
Open your mouth…homie! Or write it on a yellow sticky and place it on the refrigerator. I don’t care! Just express what your needs and expectations are.
Give a clear timeline
It’s unreasonable for you to have to wait 2-years for her to initiate sex. It’s also unreasonable for you to have to wait 6-months for him to pay his half of the agreed-upon household bills.
So…set realistic timelines for when you want your needs and expectations to be met. The key word here is realistic.
If the above doesn’t work, then separate. I’m not talking about moving in the other room and calling yourselves ‘separated-but-we-can’t-afford-to-move-out’. The reason to separate at this point is to:
1) give you some space to re-evaluate, and
2) experience what living without each other will be like.
This absence could motivate you to focus on what’s really important. Is this relationship really worth saving and trying something different…or not? You definitely need to work with a relationship professional during this part so they can make sense of all the emotions you’ll be feeling.
Start the legal process
If you still don’t want to reconcile, starting the legal process will make it really real…regarding the cost and impact of calling it quits. This is why the song, “It’s cheaper to keep her” was written.
If after all the above, you still decide to call it quits, then get yourself some professional counseling to deal with the grief of losing a relationship, and to help you process your emotions.
I recommend 1-3 sessions to help you properly frame what is happening, what it means to you, and what you should do thereafter. Because after it’s all said and done, you don’t want to be a bitter, broken soul trying to mask your hurt with pseudo clichés like, “I’m good”, or “I’ll be alright”.
Break-ups, separations, and divorces happen every day. But when it happens to you, it seems like your life is being turned upside-down. Follow these six steps to regain some semblance of order and structure in your life.
BMWK — Is calling it quits your best option or do you need to try these 6-steps?