In my paralegal work after I stopped working for law offices, I offered a “friendly divorce,” which was an uncontested divorce which included a property settlement agreement. In it, everyone was in agreement and everything was done in one or two drafts. That’s a big difference from the knockdown, drag out War of the Roses some turn into. It’s like as a society we are somehow uncomfortable with changed intentions and endings. Not knowing how to handle it, we end up shaming and blaming. When it’s time to part, we don’t realize that nothing failed, we simply completed one phase and are morphing into another. A conscious partner can make the transition from romantic/sexual interest to non-sexual friends and allies while preserving a friendship. It is possible to have a conscious uncoupling.
People grow. Intentions change. You speak up as soon as how you feel changes. If the unhappy one has been faking it, their partner will be left clueless and blindsided, and that’s not how you treat a friend. You speak up, so no one labors under a false impression. It does not have to be a confrontation. If you ended in a blaze with past partners, make amends. The only way out is through. You can go in with guns blazing, or you can go in with heart blazing, recognizing your partner for what you once had, and eager to hear suggestions on how to move into the next phase of your friendship. This is how you stay conscious through a transition and remain friends after it’s over.
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