Do You Feel Stuck In An Unhealthy, Unfulfilling Relationship?
Are you and your partner stuck in a make-up/breakup cycle that makes you seriously consider a separation? Do you feel as though you’re being squeezed into a shape that isn’t you and want to burst out of the strait jacket? Maybe you often feel irritable or on edge, dreading spending time with your partner, anticipating disappointment, arguments, emptiness or a lack of connection. Do you wonder what it would feel like to be free of this relationship, only to find that feelings of guilt or shame sweep through your body and wipe away any momentary glimpses of freedom and joy?
You may have worked hard to avoid the same mistakes your parents made, yet all you experience is a swing from being on cloud nine for a while only to sink to the depths of misery soon after, and then repeat this dance of agony and ecstasy. The ‘highs’ feel so good that at your lowest ebb you long for that ‘fix’ despite knowing you will come down again and feel dejected. That’s what makes it so hard to make a clean break. You probably fight and separate, miss each other, come back together and have a great time, only to return to the same upsetting cycle. Do you wish you could figure out what it is you really want and move forward with a sense of certainty, confidence and peace?
Contemplating the end of a relationship can be a confusing, stressful and even scary experience. You may love your partner, but feel exhausted and unfulfilled by arguments, disconnection or a lack of emotional intimacy in your relationship. Perhaps you have been together for years, and the idea of separating fills you with a sense of failure and defeat. Maybe you imagine being happier apart, but because you’ve worked so hard to make things work, you don’t want to give up on your investment. But, the make-up/breakup cycle, while perhaps once exciting and passionate, may now make your heart feel heavy and your life feel stuck. Although the idea of being single may feel invigorating, you might fear being alone or that no one else will want you. Perhaps you don’t want a permanent separation, but need to breakup so you can breathe and live a more comfortable life, keeping the relationship alive in the background. Maybe you don’t know what you truly desire, leaving you even more hesitant, confused and conflicted.
You Are Not Alone
If you’re struggling in your relationship and contemplating a separation or breakup, you are not alone. Although you may observe seemingly happy couples and families everywhere you turn and wonder what you’re doing wrong, many couples go through tough periods and question the viability of their relationship. Many of my clients tell me that their parents or other family members regret not leaving bad partnerships earlier, wishing they had the chance to find loving and satisfying relationships. But, they were either too scared or felt the need to sacrifice for the good of others. If you grew up hearing stories of family members sticking together for the sake of the children or it was expected that you tough it out, you too, may be caught in this trap of wanting to make a better choice for yourself, but constrained by the example of martyrdom you grew up with.
If your early home life was unstable, with short bursts of unity and comfort, you may be replaying that pattern. You may have had fantasies of running away when things were bad, but leaving wasn’t an option then. The difference now is that in your adult relationships, you have a choice to leave. You can choose something better and healthier for yourself. And, separation counseling can help. With the support and guidance of an experienced, insightful and compassionate therapist, you can create the foundation you need to separate from an unfulfilling, addictive or toxic relationship.
Breakup Counseling Can Provide You With Support And Empowered Direction
It’s possible to separate and live your life the way you want while having a different, more manageable relationship with your current partner. However, sometimes that option isn’t something both of you are ready for, and it might be better to have a clean break at the outset. While the thought of being alone may feel scary or depressing, the experience of separating from your partner and discovering your individual strength doesn’t have to be. It can be hard to leave a relationship, and the idea of dating may seem terrifying, but you don’t have to feel like you’re going from the frying pan into the fire. In secure, confidential sessions, you can learn how to move through the pain and confusion of a breakup.
Breakup counseling can help you build a safe and strong bridge and provide you with the insight and tools needed to transition from being in a relationship to being separate and able to take care of yourself. You can mourn the loss of your relationship, explore what it meant for you and tease out what’s important to learn from your experience. Previous losses and disappointments often get stirred up when we end a relationship, and breakup counseling will give you space, time and supportive care as you learn how to cope with intense and overwhelming emotions. In sessions, we’ll explore the positive aspects of separation while honoring the good moments and memories of your relationship.
If you’re struggling with the idea of being alone, I can help you address your worries and examine what is driving your anxiety. Perhaps you worry that no one else will want you or find you attractive. You might think your age or appearance works against you. Or you worry that there aren’t any suitable people out there for you. Together, we’ll work on expanding your options so separation doesn’t feel so risky. I can also help you learn the importance of creating and maintaining healthy boundaries so you can separate in an informed way, without feeling guilty or responsible for your partner. We can address any concerns around your partner’s experience or fears that he or she will retaliate or lash out at you. Breakup counseling can help you develop a realistic picture of your partner as a responsible adult. You don’t have to beat yourself up with ill-placed responsibility or guilt—it’s okay to honor your own needs.
You can create a healthy break from your partner and learn how to be content again. People leave unsuitable relationships all the time and go on to discover more about themselves and live happier, more fulfilling lives. In separation counseling, you can learn how to initiate and get through a breakup with the support, guidance and care needed to navigate the transition.
You still may have questions or concerns about breakup counseling…
We’ve been stuck in a destructive cycle for so long. I’m not sure that anything—even therapy—will help me leave and make it on my own.
Many couples get stuck in make-up/breakup patterns. You may leave for a few days, but always return. It might feel like you’re drawn back in like a magnet, hopeful that things will be good again. But, each time, you are bitterly disappointed. While this cycle is common, you don’t have to stay in this loop. There is another way to feel and live. In breakup counseling, you will have the safe, personal space to explore the emotional pull that keeps you in an unhealthy, unsatisfying relationship. You can also learn to create and maintain appropriate boundaries that can keep you connected to others, but not sucked into another unsuitable or abusive relationship.
I’m feeling embarrassed and guilty about yet another failed relationship. I’m not sure I could talk to anyone—even a therapist—about it.
While it’s common to feel embarrassed or like a failure while considering a breakup, there is no shame in seeking help. In fact, seeking help and wanting to figure out a strategy is a sign of strength. In separation counseling sessions, I will help you understand how your feelings of doubt and fear prevent you from accessing and germinating your hibernating seeds of desire that when watered will let you bloom naturally. Once you feel comfortable with your true self you won’t repeat old, harmful patterns of addictive, destructive relationships.
I’ve heard that breakup counseling can be expensive and take a long time.
I invite you to consider breakup counseling as an investment in your current and future well being. The length of time spent in therapy really depends on you and the pace at which you feel comfortable to take charge of your life. If you’re willing to engage in the therapy process, self-explore and take responsibility for yourself, you can make healthy changes in your life. And, having the support, guidance and care of an experienced therapist can help the healing and transition process go more quickly and smoothly.
Access your right to have a comfortable and satisfying life by calling my office at 310-985-2491 to schedule an appointment. I offer face-to-face psychotherapy in my office or global coaching if you live outside of Los Angeles. Your wellbeing is an investment that matters.