At This Point in Your Relationship, Are You And/Or Your Partner Considering Divorce or a Breakup?
Are you uncertain about the future of your relationship?
Does it feel like one of you is more invested in the relationship than the other?
Do you worry that your relationship can’t recover, but fear the finality of a breakup or divorce?
Are you feeling utterly confused and alone, with no one to talk to about your concerns?
Do you wish you and your partner could find the clarity you need to make an informed, measured decision?
Is divorce the right choice? Should we break up? Few questions are more difficult to answer. You might find yourself cycling though uncertainty, torn between the care you feel for your partner and the awareness that something just isn’t working. Or, maybe one of you is confident that the relationship has reached its end, while the other resists and refuses. If you and your partner are married, you may have even started the divorce process, but still have doubts.
No matter your specific situation, if you are wondering how to know when a relationship is over, you may feel isolated, overwhelmed, and fearful of regret. You might not want to broach the subject with family members and loved ones, especially because you don’t want added pressure to break up or stay together. Maybe you’re already facing an avalanche of outside opinions, and you don’t know how to distinguish your own thoughts from the slush. More than anything, you and your partner need help determining the best choice for you.
Uncertainty About Relationships and Regret About Ending Them Are Very Common
Many people believe that considering a breakup means the end of the relationship is inevitable. However, this is not the case. In fact, parting ways isn’t a certainty even after the divorce process has begun. Many couples question their decision, even as they coordinate with lawyers and live in separate homes.
A 2011 study found that, during the divorce process, about 25 percent of individual partners demonstrated a belief that the relationship could still be saved. About 30 percent were interested in reconciliation services.
Further, another study found that after divorce, 75 percent of couples included at least one partner who felt regret about the breakup. I think this is tragic—something beautiful was lost, and it didn’t have to turn out that way.
Whether you’re married or in a committed relationship, you and your partner are not alone in your struggles or your confusion. And, with help, you can take the right steps toward a decision you don’t have to regret.
Discernment Counseling Can Help You Find Clarity And Direction
You don’t have to make this enormous choice alone. As a couples therapist, I offer a specific, research-based form of counseling designed for partners who are unsure about the survival of their relationship. If you are weighing the possibility of relationship or marriage counseling against the possibility of breaking up, discernment counseling can help.
This is not marriage counseling, which means we will not work to address and resolve present conflicts. Instead, the goal is greater clarity and confidence in a decision about the future direction of the relationship, based on a deeper understanding of what’s happened to your connection and each person’s contributions to the problems.
We will look at the three options for your relationship’s future:
Keep going the way things are, at least for now. This may be tolerable, and it may be best for your children, families, and finances. A few agreements and adjustments may be enough to keep the wheels from falling completely off.
Get a divorce or split up. If this is your clear decision, then we can talk about ways to make the process as peaceful, inexpensive, and constructive as possible. The way you part ways will affect both of your futures, and the well-being of your children. We can also discuss lessons you have learned from this relationship, in the hope that you won’t repeat these patterns in the future. It’s amazing how we humans tend to do this, over and over again!
Commit to six months of intensive couples counseling. If you both agree to this path, I will work with you to find a mutually acceptable therapist and help you get started. I freely admit that I will hold hope for this option, because I think loving relationships are worth saving. I won’t push this choice on you, but I will work hard to help you decide if this is option is possible.
The decisions you make are completely up to you. Counseling is not about adding more confusion and pressure. Instead, it can help you understand your options and make the right choice for your future.
You may have additional questions…
I can’t tell what my partner really wants. Will this process help?
During sessions, I will spend time with you and your partner separately and together. We will focus on understanding how each of you feels about the relationship, ways it has gone awry, what it will take to restore it, and whether you both have the desire and energy to do the necessary work. You can gain insight into not only what your partner wants, but what you really want as well.
My partner blames me for everything! How can you change that?
A big part of counseling before divorce or a breakup is understanding the ways you both have contributed to the problems between you, and what you each would have to change in order to heal the relationship. It is often much easier to blame our partners than to acknowledge our own failings… easier, but unfair and unhelpful. I’ll help you both get more honest about the positive and negative things you’ve been doing. Then you can decide what you are willing to change about your own behaviors.
Is Discernment Counseling expensive?
Not compared to living in a decaying relationship! The first session lasts 2 hours, for which I charge $300. If you decide to continue the process, the following sessions are 1½ hours and cost $250. The entire process will be complete within a maximum of five sessions.
If you have additional questions, I invite you to send me a message or call (303) 449-4162 to arrange a free 15-minute consultation. My offices are located in Greenwood Village, and downtown Denver, CO. I’m happy to speak with you about how counseling before divorce can help you attain clarity and confidence about your relationship.