A smart man once told me…if you see a woman with tears streaming down her face sobbing inconsolably, you can pretty much assume that she’s breaking up with her boyfriend. As we all know, the ending of a relationship with all of it’s consuming heartbreak can be extremely painful and emotional.
I’ve certainly been through my share of heartbreak and have seen how easily a relationship can devolve from love to anger and even hatred or disgust. But breaking up doesn’t have to be that way. It can actually happen with presence, intention, and deep respect and love.
Sadly, I have first hand experience around this. Over the past few weeks, I have been breaking up with my partner. Although we love each other very much, it has become clear that his need for more freedom and my need for more emotional security could not longer co-exist in the context of the relationship we created.
We made the necessary but incredibly painful decision to part ways but we wanted to do it in a manner that honored our love and our relationship. Luckily he is part of Steve Bearman’s Interchange Counseling Institute. Steve has created a Relationship Completion Conversation which we used and of course added some of our own flavor to it.
Six Steps to Breaking Up Consciously
Briefly, the breaking up conversation consists of six steps: communicating resentments, apologies, forgiveness, expressing gratitude, appreciations and what you will miss, and goodbyes.
What’s most powerful about this conversation is that there is no opportunity for discussion or debate. During the process, each partner has the opportunity to be heard and the only response from the other person is to say “Thank You”. For all the details, check out Steve’s blog.
What struck us both was the power behind this process. The tears flowed, and continued to flow, for both of us. The ability to speak about our resentments and lingering issues about what brought us to this point, that were never fully disclosed before, was very healing. And while we have always tried to be very emotionally honest with each other, this brought our honesty to an even deeper level.
In the biggest irony of all, we both felt even more connected and deeper love for each other after this process which of course made the decision to step away from it even that much harder.
I do question how this process would work in a relationship where there is a lot more anger, resentment, and bad blood. To do it on your own, takes a lot of emotional strength, consciousness and some skill. I definitely can see how helpful it would be to have someone else facilitate this closure process.
While no one wants to think about breaking up with their partner, it’s good to know there is a loving and respectful way to do it and a process that you can follow.