Even short-term relationships can bring intense emotions. The ways in which people treat each other when splitting up differ greatly, and depth of emotion is often to blame for the most bitter separations. While there is no right or wrong way to instigate relationship break-ups, being fair and still showing affection for a partner during separation can lessen both the immediate and longer term problems.
Splitting Up With Dignity
When breaking up, emotions run high; many couples run into trouble with arguments and accusations. Achieving separation with dignity and warmth, acknowledging that it hasn’t worked out but that there are still feelings of affection, can be very beneficial.
Saying sorry, even if not at fault, can douse flames of anger and resentment; it doesn’t matter whose fault it all was and both partners are equally entitled to express remorse. This is the time to draw an end to all talk of blame. What matters is a mutually positive walk-away with minimum upset and the door left open for further communications, especially if there are practicalities to address, such as children, property or pets.
Understand the Hurt of Breaking Up
The most vitriolic accusations and arguments tend to happen in the early days post-separation. If the ex-partner seems to be acting unfairly after a break-up, the cause is most probably a sense of hurt, confusion or rejection, especially if the other partner did not want a separation or if infidelity was involved.
In many cases, bitter or cruel words are not meant; try to allow them to pass without response, or offer a cordial reply such as “I am really sad you feel this way, but I understand.” Acknowledging the other’s sadness, fears or resentment can diffuse a negative situation before it becomes irretrievable.
Try to gain physical distance from a loved one immediately after separation, while keeping open and friendly communications as frequently as the other requires; this way, there’s no sense of alienation or avoidance which compounds communication difficulties.
Avoid discussing important matters while emotions are raw, and explain this to the other party. This step allows both partners time to calm down and reflect before discussing critical issues. Refusing to talk completely always inflames situations, however, and being available for an upset partner can help even if talk is emotionally charged.
Delay Talks of Financial Settlement
Don’t compound emotional injury by pushing for financial settlement immediately, even if it’s a major worry, unless both parties feel great urgency. These kinds of talks in the bitter emotion following a partner’s rejection, are salt in the wound. Although it feels difficult to postpone discussions, doing so lessens the hurt and renders amicable settlement more likely.
In the interim, maintaining warm dialogue creates a more amenable atmosphere for meaningful financial negotiations. Where a partner seems to become grasping by asking for more than he seems to be entitled to in a settlement, it is often borne of a need to cause hurt out of a sense of injustice. It can also happen where a rejected partner feels uncertain about her financial future. Simply saying “I know you must be feeling vulnerable because we have to sell the house, but you should know I want to do the right thing by you,” can help negotiations onto a healthier footing.
Third Party Involvement: Relationship Counseling and Divorce Mediators
Some couples benefit from relationship counseling via doctor’s referral or privately; this can help finalize the decision and ensure it is understood by both parties, thereby achieving a healthy state of mind for separation and for negotiations.
Divorce mediators can be appointed by solicitors or, again, found privately; mediators ascertain what each party feels they require, and try to achieve a middle-ground solution saving on legal fees and animosity.
The more cordial a relationship termination, the less likely that it ends in an irretrievable financial tug-of-war. Investing time and energy into a positive relationship end is worthwhile; it propels both parties into recovery and allows them to move into new relationships more positively.