“When you love someone, truly love them, you lay your heart open to them. You give them a part of yourself that you give to no one else, and you let them inside a part of you that only they can hurt…” Sherrilyn Kenyon
“I don’t miss him because he never really shared that much of himself with me.”
With only a few words, my client expressed so much.
She has been separated from her husband for more than a year and still struggling with whether or not to leave the marriage for good or somehow re-engage with her husband.
When a couple separates, there is actually some good that can come from it.
When we keep doing the same things, engaging in the same way, we stay stuck in the same painful habits and patterns, hurting one another over and over again.
That space apart interrupts the day-to-day patterns so that each can learn to engage with one another from a different starting point, a different on-ramp to the relationship if you will….
That space apart gives you a different perspective on what the relationship has been and what it is capable of being in the future.
That space apart gives the struggling relationship – and both people in it – an opportunity to breathe a bit.
When we’re confused about whether to stay or go in a struggling relationship, we need some more information…and time apart allows for more information to be gathered.
Do you miss one another or does it feel like freedom?
Are either of you making lasting changes within yourselves that would benefit the relationship? Are you growing as individuals?
Have the difficult parts of our partner (their fears, their pain, their keeping you at a safe distance…) become more pronounced…or have they softened in some way?
This piece of information from my client during her separation is important as she comes to a final decision for herself, one that she can live with and not regret. She has found that she doesn’t miss her husband because he never really let her in, shared his heart or made himself vulnerable to her.
After all, that isn’t something we teach men how to do. Nor have we ever let them know that’s part of the deal for a lifelong, lasting, loving relationship. (We should add THAT to the marriage vows….)
So now she’s trying to know him differently….
And maybe he will let her know him at a deeper level…
And maybe he won’t.
Maybe she’ll forgive the hurts, let down her guard, and open her heart to him in a new way…
And maybe she won’t.
But either way, she’s gaining some important information about what’s possible for each of them as individuals and inside the relationship…and what’s not.
And that’s the information that can help lead her to clarity.