• Sharlene Halbert

Can all relationships be saved?

A Relationship Coach whose relationship has ended – now there’s a challenging story to tell!

I had been in a relationship for almost 5 years with a man I thought I would be with for years to come. But there were essential things that were not working and no matter what I knew or what I was learning as a Relationship Coach, I couldn’t seem to shift anything. I was embarrassed! I believe that most relationships can be turned around, no matter what the issue (I’m not speaking about physical and sexual abuse) and here I was, in a relationship that I couldn’t move forward or shift!

A deep conversation later, and we both realised that we had a completely different vision of what we wanted (why we didn’t know that about each other before is another story for another time!) He wanted a companion – someone to talk to, live with, sharing our lives as friends/companions. I wanted a relationship that was passionate, that was growing, developing and becoming stronger as the years went by. It was a sad moment, but it was clear that there was not enough to build on. I have always wanted a relationship that I could be proud of, one that was an example of what can be possible in relationships. It was painful to realise that this wasn’t it.

However, there was no anger, no bitterness, no recriminations… Just two people who love and respect each other, each wanting something that had very little common ground with what the other wanted.

Can relationships be saved? Even if it seem like the relationship is over? I know it is possible with the right support and when the most effective actions are taken and when you had, at some point, a deep love and a similar vision. I believe that relationships take effort, which doesn’t always mean it has to be hard and painful, but effort all the same. It requires taking actions that move you to a different place. But if you love someone and have loved each other at some point, you owe it to yourself and to your partner to bring that love back, to do what it takes and give it your best shot. That usually requires a different way of looking at yourself, your partner and your relationship, which is often difficult to see on your own. After all, we usually try to change things using the same knowledge and skills that got us into trouble in the first place. A new perspective is needed - one that involves finding what is good right now, what was good in the past that you can bring back, what you want in the future with your partner, who you need to be to make it happen and what actions you need to take.

But sometimes, relationships end. If it can’t be saved, you can end it so that you are ready for the next one, without taking the drama of the old one with you. You can be changed in the process so that you leave knowing you did all you could and that you can be free to find someone new, and create the most amazing relationship; to have a relationship with your ex-partner that enables your children to thrive and feel loved; to enable you to co-parent successfully; to be left with a sense that you have a new future open to you that is not attached to the past.

I still feel sad sometimes that my relationship ended; that’s a natural emotion. But I feel more integrity as a Relationship Coach and a passionate, loving woman, that I can now create a new relationship that does inspire me, and others. I am happy for my friendship with my ex and that we can both move forward to find what is next for us. What I AM proud of has been the beauty of our ending; the willingness to really listen to each other, to understand the other’s needs, to not judge or make the other wrong for what they want, to want the best for each other and ourselves, to be open to what could be possible... and then just a loving release. Since we couldn't find common ground, I couldn't ask for better - the break up of my relationship in a loving, supportive and respectful way. Sometimes love really does mean letting go...

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