Soulwork Home Page

Check your spelling

Soulwork Online Help

Soulwork Humor: Funny stories


Soulwork Systemic Coaching: Summary

Soulwork Coach Training

Soulwork FAQ Questions & Answers


Emotional Issues
Anger & Rage

Eating Problems
Emotional Maturity
Grief & Loss
Inner Child

Pain Control
Stress Relief

Toxic Beliefs
Trauma & Stress
Weight Loss


Relationship Problems

Dissolve Conflicts
Emotional Blackmail

Enjoy Partnership
Evaluate Partners
Long-Distance Love
Love & Hate

Past Partners
Sexual Issues
Soul Mates


Family Challenges

Brothers & Sisters
Divorce & Children
Emotional Incest
Family Meetings
Family Secrets

Fathers & Daughters
Fathers & Sons
Learning Disorders
Mothers & Daughters
Mothers & Sons

Parental Alienation


Life Lessons
Bad Habits
Being Alone
Children's Challenges
Observing Feelings

Patterns in Love
Personal Growth
Quantum Leap
Self Esteem
Self Improvement
Self Intimacy
Stress & Relaxing
Therapist and Clients


Chaos Coaching

Inner Conflict
Expert Modeling
Learning Disorders

Sexual Abuse
Soul of Soulwork
Systemic Management
Therapist Abuse
Training Abuse



Interview with Martyn
Fee, Cost, Price

eXTReMe Tracker

Ending a Relationship: Why Partners Separate
Counseling for Marriages Martyn Carruthers 2008

Relationship Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

For every successful love experience,
there may be ten destructive experiences that
result in a cynicism that makes it difficult to love again.

From: "The Dialectic of Sex" by Shulamith Firestone

Were you trained to be a partner? Or did you learn how to express love by watching your parents, television and movies, or from the lyrics of love music? After a honeymoon, your happiness together will reflect your relationship skills. However nice your romance, how you communicate will make or break it.

Relationships would be so much easier
if we didn't have to communicate.
Common male belief

Relationships would be so much easier
if we could talk about everything.
Common female belief

Many people with limited relationship skills only seek evidence to confirm their hopes - and ignore everything else. They often refer to infatuation as true love ... and later, after the fireworks, accuse their partners of lying and deception.

How to Damage or Destroy a Partnership

How do most people end intimate relationships? The most common ways seem to be criticism, contempt and emotional withdrawal. Whether or not you want to leave, or whether or not your partner wants to leave you, some behaviors can accelerate frustration, depression, alienation and separation:

  1. Never, ever, apologize
  2. Believe that you cannot be wrong
  3. Blame your partner for your own emotions
  4. Make major purchases without discussions
  5. Ignore or invalidate whatever your partner says
  6. Be passive-aggressive - or just plain aggressive
  7. Be a bully - demand compliance and make threats
  8. Forbid or control behaviors that your partner enjoys
  9. Recruit your family and friends to punish your partner
  10. Punish or control your partner by withholding intimacy
  11. Put your own interests before important responsibilities
  12. Flirt with interesting people while your partner is watching
  13. Withdraw or "freeze out" your partner with your tone of voice
  14. Tell people that your partner has serious emotional problems
  15. Nag, nag, nag - repeatedly remind your partner of what you want
  16. Criticize your partner (again) for events that took place years ago
  17. Punish your partner for enjoying hobbies or sports that you dislike
  18. Resent and punish your partner for spending time with other people
  19. Use public criticism for those special moments of intimacy destruction.
  20. Fantasize the worst possible reasons for your partner's behavior - and accuse your partner of having those reasons.

My wife would exaggerate problems and blame me for her
exaggerations. Not, "You did that once" but "You always do that!"

He would tell me how I felt, why I felt that way and why
I was wrong, without asking me about my feelings.

She would read my private mail, and then criticize
me for not saying more nice things about her.

How would you react if your partner shouts at you for not cooking eggs "right"? If you are already dissatisfied with your partner, or with yourself, petty complaints can trigger aggression, depression, withdrawal and separation. How long will you suffer before you want your once-beloved partner - or yourself - to leave?

When does it start?

From whom did you learn your partnership skills? Besides parents and television, an uncomfortable answer may be love music! Consider those codependent lyrics which you probably listened to again and again. (What were your favorite love songs when you were a teenager? Consider those lyrics now).

You probably ignored the first irritations in your partnership, perhaps hoping that the problems would go away without having to resolve them. Shaving stubble in the bathroom sink. Lipstick on washed cups. A wet towel on the floor ... again.

But small issues build up. The more little things you carry in your backpack - the heavier it gets. Sooner or later you feel that you must do something. Or anything. Perhaps you feel that you will go crazy or get sick if you stay together!

Separating is rarely simple. Perhaps you have children. Maybe you own property or manage a business together. Perhaps your partner is passive-aggressive or threatens suicide. You may feel torn between conflicting responsibilities.

We prefer to help couples manage their issues while there is still hope.
Yet many people ask for help as a last recourse. See Partnership Breakdown.

Separation & Emotions

Do you wait until you are in crisis before you seek help? Perhaps you talk to friends or parents hoping for cheap counseling. But your friends and family may agree with your prejudices without considering your partner's perspectives.

Only about 1 in 4 of the separating couples we meet both want to separate. For many people, the end of an intimate partnership is as traumatic as a death in the family - or as liberating as a reprieve from a prison.

So many people tell us that they want to save their marriage, when all that is left is a burnt-out shell of a relationship. Yet even then, it need not be too late. We have helped many couples in deep crisis recreate happy lives together.

"Our love slowly evaporated until
all that was left was irritation and despair."

When partners separate, they may feel lost, haunted by broken dreams and guilt. They may ask their friends, "What did I do wrong?" or "What else could I have done?" ... but their friends may be unable or unwilling to tell them what they need to know.

Understanding your partner's problems is important, yet believing that you know why your partner is abusive may motivate you to let their abuse continue. Similarly, you may understand why you fear ending a relationship, but such understanding rarely reduces the fear and you may continue to cling to an  incompatible person.

Emotional separation may precede physical separation by months or years; and dissolving emotional bonds often takes longer than dissolving legal bonds. We can help you replace your emotional bonds to help you make better decisions ... calmly.

After Separation

After a divorce, partners may feel like they have infectious diseases. Married friends may avoid the partner that they consider to be most guilty and sympathize with the one that they consider to be most victim. However, both partners often believe that the other is the most guilty and that they are the real victims. Both may be shocked and defensive when their once-beloved partners accuse them of betrayal and abuse.

Do you grieve a relationship with denial, anger, bargaining and depression? Have you described an ex-partner as abusive, evil or a psychopath? Do you suspect that an ex-partner damaged you and your reputation - even years later?

We can help you stay resourceful under stress, manage your emotions and prepare for better relationships. We can help you:

  • make better relationship decisions
  • say "Goodbye" when you decide it's over
  • anticipate and defuse emotional explosions
  • manage your emotions to remain peaceful and calm
  • prepare for the reactions of your family, friends and colleagues

Online Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 2008-2018
All rights reserved

If you like our work, please link to us. If you know someone who might benefit,
please mention or

For online help, email us at:

Soulwork systemic coaching in America & Hawaii


Soulwork systemic coaching in England, Wales & Scotland

Soulwork systemic coaching in Croatia & Serbia

Soulwork systemic coaching in Poland



Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email