" The best marriages don't necessarily end in the funeral home" - Ether Perel
Relationships, no matter how long they last, are gifts.
Much has been written lately about uncoupling. Whether one wishes to consciously uncouple, divorce with dignity or leave with love, breaking up is never easy.
But- it doesn't have to be traumatic. One of the greatest challenges is when one person wants to leave and the other doesn't want them too. It gets even more complicated when the children are still young and living at home. When someone wants to leave, it often triggers a primitive fear response that traumatizes all parties involved.
Endings are a part of life. While painful, what matters most is not that things end, but rather how they end and modeling healthy breakups for your partner and children. Many experts agree that parting in a loving way is far less harmful to the family system, then staying together when one or both people don't really want to.
Uncoupling takes time- though not as long as couples therapy does. It can last anywhere from 4-8 sessions (more if necessary) to help both people come to terms with the loss, understand the breakdown in the relationship, begin the grieving process and walk away from each other with lessons of wisdom learned and personal growth. Often one member of the couple will continue on in individual counseling to help continue grieving the loss, once the uncoupling has been completed.
And, just as I personally am not attached to couples staying together when doing couples counseling, I am not attached to couples breaking up when assisting them with the uncoupling process.