It’s been nearly three years since my husband and I decided to stop the hoping, trying, fighting and wishing and separate. I am in the process of changing my coaching practice so that it focuses heavily on couples, both in transition with having a baby, but also those on the South end of ending it and it’s made me think of what made my split from my partner of 14 years be what it has been.
I am not here to tell you it was sunshine and rainbows; it wasn’t. It was epically painful to unravel all of those years together and be faced with a do-over neither of us even really wanted at first. I remember a lot of tears, the occasional bout of euphoria, and crippling sadness.
There was a lot of mourning what would never be. There was a whole lot of feeling our feelings and letting them be. There were discussions with those who had gone through what I was, and the message was: you are not defined by the failure of this relationship, you will come out the other side.
And I really have. I go entire weeks without thinking about the whole thing very much, and it hasn’t caused me a lot of pain in a long, long time. And now I do have exactly what I wished for: a great relationship with my ex. I count him among those in my corner and will be putting him on my grateful list this coming Thanksgiving.
As I work with clients to create relationships (and the end of same) that resonate and matter, it seems to often come back to design. Much like I work with people in my life to make our relationships serve everyone and be satisfying, my divorce was no different.
Amongst the pain was a clear wish for both of us: to have a relationship and a friendship on the other side of it all. We had spent 14 years loving each other and being friends, so it seemed wrong to just drop all that and walk away. I recognized that even though I don’t wish to live with him anymore, my ex-husband is still one of the people I most admire in the world, and I would still trust him with my life. That’s important stuff.
I think the hardest part was getting through it all without the companion who had been my side for everything profound that had ever happened to me and giving our respective pain the space to just be in the midst of all those stupid logistics; selling houses, splitting up belongings, signing papers, and Moving On.
I guess I don’t have a specific list of Things to Remember when you are splitting from your beloved spouse, I just have a general thought on it:
Feel your feelings, allow your former spouse to do the same, be nice to each other, and show the biggest levels of compassion that you can muster.
It’s that simple. Notice I did not say ‘easy’ there.
I am happy to talk about this – it’s why it’s my business! So if this resonates, please reach out – you are not alone and it’s much, much easier if you can hear from the other side.