Conscious Uncoupling – The Good (or Healthy Separation)?

Some relationships are not meant to last.

The inevitable niggles that crop up from time to time aren’t usually a bug bear for couples, when other aspects of their relationship are good.  However, there are some issues that are more complex and are not so readily solvable.  Unfortunately, there can be a type of denial where one or both cross their fingers and just hope it will all blow over.  There may even be one who is unhappy and the other thinks everything is fine and when they try to convey their distress, it is ignored or dismissed.  For the couple who value their relationship and believe it is worth saving, they are more likely to do their best to try and work out the problems by whatever means possible. They both have a common goal – they want to stay together.


It could be argued that marriage is not taken as seriously these days and people don’t realise that there are definite ebbs and flows to relationships;  that it does take work and not just by one person.  This is where commitment becomes so important.There are many reasons why people decide it is time to end it.  Some will be dreadfully hurt by the way they have been treated and there is no way back for them.   Some will hit a milestone age and are faced with the dilemma of whether the relationship they have is the one in which they want to continue.  Or there may be something else that has happened that has caused them to reassess their relationship in terms of its longevity.

No two people will decide that it’s over at the same time.

One may want it more and the other may be left wondering what they have done to deserve this.  It isn’t fair and in reality, everyone loses.  It might salve your ego to enter into the blame game but there are no winners really. People often alternate between feeling numb and feeling overwhelmed.  Once the decision has been made, anxiety strolls in the door and there can be an urgency to settle everything as quickly as possible in order to eradicate the pain of what’s happening.  It’s just very unsettling and quite natural to want to put it behind you and start afresh.  The need for security is very strong at this point.
Rarely is separation an event.  It is more of a journey, one that can go on for a very long time and one that expends considerable emotional and physical energy. Relationships give us a sense of belonging and purpose.  Regardless of age and gender, we are hardwired to seek relationships and many settle with the person they’re with even if they’re not really convinced they’re ‘The One’.  It is preferable to taking a risk and going it alone. Ergo, the end of a relationship is a significant loss, even if it was one that you wanted.

Unconscious Coupling

Unconscious Coupling has been described as the releasing of trauma from a breakup, reclaiming your power and re-inventing your life.  It sounds pretty straightforward and possibly would be, if you’re feelings weren’t involved.  Grieving is part of the journey, but it is a voyage of being both lost and confused and then found.

Recognising your role in the relationship can help you get a better understanding of the dynamics between you. It can give you a much deeper perspective on why you picked the relationship in the first place. There will be conscious and (far more powerful) unconscious reasons. It might be easier to blame the other person than take responsibility but every relationship has a co-dependant quality about it i.e the effect others have on us and in turn, the effect we have on them.

Looking Back…

It is particularly at, and following, separation, that we look back and try to analyse the relationship.  If we liken it to a jigsaw, one of the reasons why couples can run into difficulties is because part of their ‘fit’ e.g. where they believe that their partner has qualities not yet developed in themselves.   Separating can leave you with a sense of feeling like an unfinished jigsaw and the task begins for you to find those missing pieces in yourself e.g. if you are the calm one and your partner gets very emotional, you might both be carrying something for the other and might explain why opposites attract.

Putting The Jigsaw back Together

This can be a key part of the work for a separated person, as they begin to discover who they really are and begin to integrate the missing pieces of themselves e.g. you do not always have to be level-headed and it is perfectly okay to get very angry/sad/scared at times (and to let other people see it). Conversely, you can develop a level of objectivity and don’t always have to be the emotional one or feel like you’re the one out of control because of your feelings.   Usually, these responses are developed earlier on in life and if these behaviours are no longer working, it can be the ideal opportunity to change.

Gain from Pain

Once they have integrated the missing pieces and become more whole/complete, people generally feel much more comfortable and authentic in themselves. From a place of unbelievable pain can come great growth and personal power. There may be less fear/anxiety as emotionally, our feet are more firmly on the ground.  We know and trust ourselves better and have greater awareness of where our limits and boundaries lie, particularly concerning relationships.  In essence, we begin to have a healthier relationship with ourselves.  If we decide to enter into a relationship again, it may be more of a ‘conscious coupling’ than an unconscious one.

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