As a ‘Relate Certified Counsellor’ Mark can help you with:
Looking back, many people experience deep regret following the end of their relationship and wish that they had done something more to prevent it. A new relationship may have been in the offing at the time and the excitement and opportunity it offered seen as the more attractive option to end their unhappiness and give them the fresh start and future happiness they were looking for, not realising the depth and extent of the pain of separation, especially where children are involved and the effect it has on them. If their next relationship doesn’t work out as expected, that regret is simply compounded.
Parents are the role models for their children and without wishing to apply any additional or unwelcome pressure, owe it to them to make every effort to restore their broken relationship, because when those children grow up, there is a real possibility that they will go on to repeat the mistakes of their parents who they have observed so closely.
It is not unusual to hear couples talk about how their relationship broke down as if they see the relationship almost as a third person and that it was the ‘relationship’ which didn’t work and who was the one responsible for the breakdown. Clearly this is not the case. The relationship is made up of the two people in it and if the problems they have experienced are not fully explored, they are very likely to repeat those mistakes in future partnerships. Sadly statistics show that subsequent relationships are at even greater risk of breaking down, having not lasted as long.
Having gained fresh insights and had time to work them through, even at this late stage it is still possible for the relationship to be restored, but if after counselling it is felt that the relationship is simply too damaged to continue and separation is seen as the only option, knowing that you have made a serious attempt to understand what went wrong may help you to cope with any regrets you later experience, and help you to do things differently in the future.
Of course, many relationships do reach the stage of irretrievable breakdown and for good reason; partners come to a place where they don’t have the desire or energy to work at things any more. If you are reaching this point in time, attending counselling may seem of little value, but please be assured that this is not the case. From now on it is important to try and gain some level of understanding of what really went wrong. Counselling prior to separation gives one more opportunity to explore openly and honestly in a friendly and non-judgemental environment, how things have reached this point, and if necessary, the opportunity to end the relationship more amicably.