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For anyone unsure of staying with their partner or having problems...


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I am reading a wonderful, very useful book - it's by the people who do "Relate - Marriage counselling"....Starting Again, Sarah Litvinoff...


First chapter is called : Do you really want to break up? ( I'm doing this right now, I have broken up and I am unsure whether or not to reconcile - ex and I are in LC )


You do the two tasks below, then you meet and discuss and talk about how you'd agree to change...( sounds rather scientific but I'm finding it's really sorting out my head )


Task 1: What went wrong - make a list of what makes you unhappy. Be specific - not "I hate my partner" but which aspects make you feel like this. There might be one major issue, or many ( many in my case! ). If there is more than one, transfer each to a separate sheet of paper. Then make a series of headings:


1) When did it start? Pinpoint when you noticed it making you unhappy, even if it was present from the beginning


2) Was there ever a good side to this? Sometimes an issue wasn't always disturbing. See if you remember it having the reverse effect, and why. For instance, a woman whose husband was sexually demanding remembered when it made her feel desired. A man whose wife was indecisive and fearful remembered when it made him feel tender and loving


3) Were there signs that this could happen? Sometimes you remember signs you once ignored. For instance, a woman whose husband got into debt remembered justifying times when he spent unwisely. A man whose wife was obsessively jealous remembered early episodes he had discounted


4) Have attempts to improve matters failed? Have you tried to tackle the problem? What did you do? What was the outcome of your efforts? Why do you think they didn't work


5) How I contributed - this is hard, but think honestly about whether any of your actions have made it worse


Task 2: I feel...


What it makes me feel- list everything the problems make you feel. Not just "sad" or "angry" but as many words as you can. For example "neglected", "frustrated", "worthless", "helpless"


Other times I have felt like this - cast your mind back to childhood, or later, when you had similar feelings. When events remind you of childhood misery they can affect you even more painfully


The outcome I want - what would you like to happen? If you find it difficult to think about this logically, award yourself "three wishes" that would make you happy, even if one of them is to part


What my partner could do to make it better- list changes your partner could make that would improve matters for you, even if you have to admit to "nothing"


What I could do to make it better- list changes you could make to improve matters yourself. This can include asking your partner for the changes you have listed. But it could also include any steps you could take to make yourself happier. This can include leaving


Voila! Then you just talk it all over with your partner...


Trust me, it's very illuminating and I hope this helps some people...Eclipse x

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thanks for posting this. i'm also in LC and broken up with my ex. i can see how these questions would help to get at the heart of the matter and whats best for my future.


does the partner also do the exercise? i don't think i could get mine to sincerely go through those questions.

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I'm glad I helped somebody magnoliasky...your partner doesn't do the exercise, I think it's just for you and it helps you find out what you truly want, I've found it extremely useful...


I guess you are in the same position as me...I'm in touch with my ex, writing little messages on Facebook, not much sweet or tender, we haven't met yet...I'm thinking of what the next step should be...good luck to you! Eclipse x

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