Real partners have real conflicts. People in romantic affairs
or couples who are emotionally separated may have few conflicts.
We help people recognize, survive and
manage their conflicts - to restore marriages - to start new
relationships - or to live independently.
We help couples rebuild their relationships
for lasting happiness, and sometimes we help couples separate peacefully.
For most people, the end of a partnership is as
stressful as a death in the family, and a mature decision to separate
comprises less than 20% of divorces. (See Jordan (1985)
Effects of marital separation"
Brisbane, Family Court of Australia.)
Perhaps we are playing a game -
a game called We are not playing a game.
If we talk about the rules our game
we break the rules of our game
(the game called We are not playing a game)
and we punish each other
Adapted from Knots by R.D. Laing
The breakup of a committed partnership can be a life crisis. Most
separating partners follow predictable steps as they try
to cope with the stress of their relationship breakdown. (See
Are your Relationships Healthy or in Crisis?
I composed this chart a few years ago for quickly checking partnership health. This chart helps me assess the health of other relationships.
gratitude to each other
|One or both are
irritated, depressed or critical
to most verbal
and nonverbal communications
|One or both ignore,
shorten most communications
|Partners review events
in their history
||They rarely review
their history together
|Partners greet after time
apart and ask about each other's activities and other news
||They rarely interact together,
without even silent intimacy
|Partners enjoy meeting
each other's needs for passion, intimacy and commitment
||One or both often ignore
criticize the other's goals and needs
|Partners discuss goals
and dreams, finding shared values and creating shared meanings.
||They rarely discuss
values or dreams
meals and housework together
||One person often
eats or cleans alone
|Partners often go out
||They generally prefer
to go out alone
|Partners create projects
require committed cooperation
|One or both often avoid,
give token attention to shared projects
|They wish to stay
together to enjoy sharing partnership happiness
||One or both want
to separate but do not because of guilt, fear or constraints
|They respect most of each
other's choices and decisions, and politely discuss differences
||One or both show contempt
for the other's decisions and angrily demand changes
|Partners want happiness
||One or both prefer
Children often carry the burden of their parent's
projections, while adults adopt the projections of
their partners and colleagues. How much of your behavior is a response to other
people's actions? Long-term partners need not be dependent.
Over half of first marriages end in
divorce, and even more second marriages or subsequent partnerships end in
separation. Physical health suffers - people in intimate couples live about four
years longer than singles. Ignoring partnership problems is unhealthy and expensive.
Unrealistic expectations are a root cause of
failed partnerships and play out in all
aspects of a relationship. 'I'm
not good enough' and 'You are not good enough'
undermine happiness in
partnership and in life generally. Marina Budimir
Where are healthy role models for healthy partnership? So many people
commence partnership with ideas based on their parents' behavior, television
shows, sports and media stars, often using popular music lyrics as toxic
affirmations. Few people seem to consider what beliefs and skills are
needed for mature partnership.
Psychologist Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad
found that partnerships characterized by ambivalence (inability to
decide) can lead to high blood pressure. Some people die of
I see few role models for peaceful separation.
Many people find themselves repeating the drama of their parents, relatives or movie characters. The role models and advice that
many people use to guide separation and divorce are often toxic.
Many separating partners seem to work hard to ensure that they and their
partners both feel bad!
People who recreate their childhood disappointments in their
may have associated love with unhealthy parental behavior.
Real partners have real
partnership problems - people in affairs and people who stay together
for economic, religious or social reasons often avoid resolving partnership
Unskilled mentors can damage relationships. Many
well-intentioned people not only lack maturity themselves,
they are unaware that mature partnership skills exist. They perceive happy
couples as lucky and unhappy couples as unlucky.
Here are some useful steps:
Most partnership problems begin before a partnership.
Unresolved issues from childhood or from previous partnerships
become a large part of the emotional baggage that people take into their relationships.
Some problems begin early in a partnership. Threats
("If you leave me I'll ...")cmay be one of the most
toxic, perhaps followed by betrayal of previous partners,
extravagant purchases and by living together too quickly.
We educate people about crisis
and separation, and seek solutions
that benefit both partners, their
children and future partners.
Some couples, after resolving their
emotions and beliefs,
request our help to start a new partnership
... with each other.
If you Separate ... How can you BOTH Benefit?
Partnerships reflect the intentions of the partners
when they begin a relationship.
If a partnership was built on need, guilt, anger or fear, or if it began
or dependent people seeking support ... perhaps a crisis has already
Contact us to better deal with these issues.
After separation, mature adults often choose a relationship-free
period; dependent and codependent people quickly jump into affairs; while immature
individuals may obsess about revenge and punishment.
Part 2 Solutions for
Crisis - Step by Step
Online Life Coaching & Counseling for Better
I thought you were just
another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
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