Conscious Uncoupling: How to End a Relationship with Grace and Respect

conscious uncouplingAs a psychotherapist for about 7 years now, I’ve had the profound privilege of helping many couples move from conflict, anger, and pain and toward deeper, more conscious intimacy. But it doesn’t always go this way.

 

Indeed, sometimes couples realize in the course of our work together that their relationship, for whatever reason, needs to end. Many partners view the end of the relationship as a personal failure, blaming themselves. Others wallow in anger and resentment, sometimes lashing out in destructive ways.

 

Tragically, in these instances the circumstances that bring about the end of the relationship can have the power to redefine a couple’s entire story together. This is especially true with cases of sex addiction, porn addiction, infidelity, or some other form of intimate betrayal. Partners carry with them the pain, loss, heartache, and anger about the relationship long after it ends and can even carry it over into their next one.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s another path. That’s where Conscious Uncoupling, a method pioneered by psychotherapist Katherine Woodward Thomas, comes in.

What to Do When Your Partner Doesn’t Want to Come to Couples Counseling

when one partner doesn't want to go to therapyAll couples face challenges and problems. Perhaps there are problems in your relationship that feel too big to overcome alone, so much so that you’re thinking about getting help. Or maybe you’ve already talked with your partner about meeting with a couples therapist.

 

Either you’re not optimistic that he’s going to want to go to marriage counseling or couples therapy before you’ve talked with him, or he’s already expressed reluctance to meet with a therapist with you.

 

What do you do?

Three Things Couples Can Do Immediately After an Affair to Start Healing

Things Couples Can Do Immediately After an AffairMaybe you’ve just found out about your partner’s betrayal, and your world has been turned upside down. Your heart has been shattered, and you wonder how you can ever trust him again.

 

Or maybe your partner has just discovered your affair, or you’ve just told her. You’re ashamed and scared of losing her. You’ll do anything to save the relationship. You’ve tried apologizing but it only seems to make things worse.

 

After the discovery of an affair, whether it’s a one-time fling or a long string of intimate betrayals over many years, the relationship can only begin to heal once the storm of the initial crisis is past. So what steps can you take to calm the storm and start healing?

Why We Have Trouble Knowing Our Feelings: How to Recognize and Deal with Your Feelings (Part 2)

why you have trouble knowing your feelingsRemember the last time you felt something so strongly that your emotions got the better of you? Maybe you did something you regret. Maybe you spoke words that you wish you could take back. Or maybe you just gritted your teeth, trying your best to hang in there while it felt like the world was falling apart. Because in moments when strong emotions have ensnared us, it really does feel like the sky is falling.

 

Most of us, in moments like this, have at least some idea that we’re caught up in powerful feelings. What we don’t always know is what we’re feeling and why. As we’ll see, being aware of what you’re feeling is the first step to taking the reins back from your strong emotions.

How to Talk to Your Partner about Going to Therapy

how to talk to your partner about going to therapyWhen I get a call from a couple needing help, the spouse or partner on the phone usually says that the relationship is in some kind of crisis. Couples can sometimes struggle for months, even years, before something happens that at last causes the relationship’s ground to give way.

 

When this finally happens and partners talk about going to therapy for the first time, it may not go anywhere. In fact, things sometimes get worse. Fights get louder and longer. One partner might storm off or leave and not come back for the first time. Words are exchanged that can’t be taken back. Each partner feels like there’s nowhere else the relationship can go. Neither can see a way of working it out. They’re both at the end of their ropes. The relationship is crying out for help.

The Guide to Empathy for Sex Addicts (Part II)

Empathy, if you recall from part I, is the ability and practice of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Most simply, empathy is an effort to take the other’s perspective and share his feelings.

 

We went a bit farther than that, though.

 

Empathy is not agreeing with the other person (most likely your partner). It’s not sympathizing with her. It’s not just listening like a bump on a log. It’s not sharing “that-time-when-something-similar-happened” to you. It’s not fixing her or making her feel better (although empathy can and will probably make her feel better and more connected to you).

 

Instead, empathy means that you’re attempting to know and understand the other person’s perspective from within her subjective world. Empathy constantly seeks for avenues into another’s universe, joining her mind, her heart as she feels safe enough to open it to you.

3 Things Your Therapist Must Do in Couples Therapy

I recently submitted my first response to Help a Reporter Out (HARO). If you don’t know what HARO is, it’s a subscription service that connects inquiring journalists doing research for stories to experts hungry to provide them with a few good quotes (and get some publicity in the process).

 

Now, chances are I’m not going to get picked because these reporters get a lot of responses. So in the offchance I don’t get instantly famous, I thought I’d share my thoughts with you. Here’s the response in its entirety.

How You Might Be Avoiding Conflict in Your Relationship

After parking in your driveway, you notice that the walk from your car to the door of your home seems much, much longer today. You’re feeling uneasy about going inside as the going has been rough with your partner lately. It’s a stressful time for both of you, and you’ve been at odds more than usual. While you may not be concerned about the health of the relationship—you’ve weathered storms together before, you’ve understandably been texting and talking with your best friend about it as you’ve needed some support. The calls, the coffee meetings, the texts with your friend have been a breath of fresh air. Without even knowing it, though, the uptick in contact with your friend might be a way you’re avoiding conflict in your relationship.

The Best Resource for Making Your Marriage Sweet

“What resources can you recommend that will help us with our marriage?” As a marriage counselor, I hear this question a lot, especially from couples I see for the first time. Like so many married partners, these couples quite understandably want to know what they can do to make their marriage better. Of course, a number of books, articles, blogs, and podcasts come to the top of my mind in response, but when couples ask about resources to improve their relationship, my first answer is always the same: you. You are the best resource available for making your marriage sweet. 

5 Reasons to Do Premarital Counseling

Premarital CounselingWedding season is right around the corner, and many couples are busy getting ready for one of the most joyous days of their lives. All too often, however, in the hustle and bustle of preparing for their wedding, a couple may spend too little time preparing for their marriage. Premarital counseling—whether meeting individually with a therapist or participating in a premarital workshop—can help the couple strengthen their relationship to ready for a lifetime of love and commitment. If you’re getting married (or know someone who is), why consider premarital counseling?