So very often, we work with clients who have realized that it’s time for them to end a relationship that hasn’t been working for quite some time. After making that decision and getting clear for themselves, we often witness them stall out and freeze; sometimes for weeks, months, or even years. It’s certainly a very serious decision and I’ve never seen anybody take it lightly. However, there are a number of obstacles that tend to come up that kind of keep folks frozen in place as well. So here are four strategies that might be helpful in getting you moving forward. First, be on the lookout for any negative, critical self-talk bouncing around inside your head. Thoughts like “you are a ‘failure’ if you divorce” or that “you are ruining your children’s lives” by doing this. Those types of thoughts are exaggerated, distorted, and they’re neither helpful nor are they fair to you. Secondly, don’t wait until your fear goes away to move forward. We often misinterpret the role of fear in our life and perceive it to be a stop sign, showing us that we should not move forward if there’s fear. In all actuality, fear is a normal part of change and it’s often present anytime we’re attempting something bold, like leaving a long-term relationship. So, I would encourage you to continue to take baby steps forward. I think that you’ll find that the road will rise to meet you even if your fear does not entirely subside. Third, do the work to understand why the relationship failed. The majority of us recognize that ending a relationship is a huge loss, one that needs to be grieved and one that stirs up a lot of emotions. In addition to process the emotions, most of us humans have a need to reach a cognitive understanding of what happened: “Why didn’t it work? What was my partner’s piece in it and what was my piece in it?” So, be aware that reaching that cognitive understanding (which is often done through therapy with a relationship expert) will help you achieve greater peace of mind in the coming months. Fourth, recognize that as you decide to end a relationship, the pain of not having your needs met slowly begins to become alleviated. We do not expect our partner to meet our emotional needs if we no longer have a partner. And what has the opportunity to come seeping in, in its place, is new hope. I would encourage you to spend some time clarifying what it is that gives you hope for the future. Now is a wonderful time to set intentions about the positive changes that you’d like to bring into your life in the coming months and even in the next couple of years. As you do this deep and profound work to release the old, you are also making space for the new. When we keep our focus on the things that we are moving towards, sometimes that gives us greater peace and greater courage to let go of the past.
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