Sometimes, after a period of separation your nervous system may settle down enough to consider putting things back together. Maybe you’ve learned some things and want to try again with new tools. But how do you know if it will be different this time?
There comes a time when the emotions of the divorce settle. The two of you have gone through your individual transformational journeys as predicated by your divorce. You’re different. You’ve grown up.
At this time, one or both of you may consider reconciliation. It may even surprise you. The war is over and you may have become aware of the things that are truly important. But is this idea of reconciling merely wishful thinking, just plain stupid, or something worth pursuing?
Our relationships are tied to our hearts. A hurting heart can blind us to things in plain sight, much the same way we are blinded when first smitten with love. I will help you honestly explore the possibilities, and the pitfalls, without any coercion or expected outcome, just total freedom to explore possibilities.
Marriages can and do come back from all kinds of adverse situations–even affairs, even financial ruin, even health disasters, but you will need some help to make that happen. If betrayals have been deep, the two of you simply won’t be able to take yourselves deeply enough into the painful places you need to go to clean them up and heal them. . It’s kind of like doing your own eye surgery.
Without a third party guide, your conversations will either digress to the same places they’ve gone before or you’ll stay “nice” to try to protect a new connection. Neither of those approaches will work in the long run.
Couples who try to put things back together without a knowledgeable guide often end up right where they started, or worse, more polarized than before. It doesn’t have to be that way. If this is important to you, get help.
Give yourself some time to think things through, to allow things to adjust, to ponder a new reality. To get to know yourself again. You’ve changed. Your partner has changed. Don’t rush into reconciling too quickly. Your mind may be willing to trust again but your heart may not. You need time to sort things out so all the parts of you can be on board again.
Give yourself time to learn what went wrong, to identify what was right. You need time to heal. Time to express all the emotions that arise as you repair, knowing they don’t all show up at once. Time to learn how to do things differently and get used to those differences. You will need time to build trust again – in both yourself and your partner. Slow down. It’s ok.
When you think of reconciling you may imagine that you have to go back into the same awful situation you’ve been so relieved to escape. You don’t. Not at all. You have a chance to start over, to create an entirely new relationship that serves both of you today—to have things better and different. Reconciling done well will allow you to preserve your legacy and your memories and a new union as new people. Done right, it’s a win-win.
In some ways calling your relationship done has provided an important line of demarcation. Your old relationship is gone. Just let it be gone. It died. You are starting over.
If the two of you can successfully navigate the personal changes that ending your old relationship revealed to you, you can create a relationship as new and different people, based on healthier ways of relating.
Reconciling, if that is in the cards, gives you the opportunity to create a brand new relationship— one that you’ve always wanted—with the partner you’ve always wanted, without having to start over.
Even if your efforts to reconcile don’t work out as you’d hoped, you will learn a whole lot more about yourself, and each other, and understand why reconciling isn’t a good idea, instead of just wishing and wondering.
Either you will decide it’s worth trying or you’ll get clear on why it isn’t and can make a plan for separating ways in a thoughtful way.
Even if you don’t reconcile the romantic part of your relationship, this exploration may allow you to build a friendship or better co-parenting relationship.
John and Debbie speak to the need for time:
“I, John, went through Jeannine’s divorce recovery class when Debbie and I were divorcing for the second time. I was a wreck. I learned so much in that class and in her Discovery class, that I started making big, and overdue, changes in my life. I was proud of myself. I liked who I was becoming.
I, Debbie, wasn’t really happy being divorced but I couldn’t live with John the way things were. We weren’t good together. When I saw John making changes I thought maybe we could try again. That is when we started working with Jeannine. At first we needed to see her often. There was so much to figure out. So much baggage from our past. So many hurts to work through, and new things to learn so we didn’t blow things apart again. We didn’t trust each other very much. Jeannine knows a lot about how relationships work and what goes wrong when they don’t work. She helped us strengthen our weaknesses, avoid some pitfalls, and take charge of our needs in the relationship.
Through this coaching we were able to work through the challenges of moving back in together, redesign our relationships with our kids, clean out old wounds from when we’d significantly hurt each other early in our relationship, and learn how to be for each other. Rebuilding the trust between us has been slow but steady. We’re down to seeing Jeannine just once every couple of months now. We so appreciate those times to check in.” ~ John and Debbie
Let’s talk about your hopes, fears and/or goals around reconciling to learn if this is the right thing for you at this time. If it makes sense, we will proceed with a specific type of couple’s coaching that allows us to get to the heart of the matter.