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Natural Awakenings Austin

Conscious Uncoupling: Can Lessen the Pain of Breaking Up

Jun 30, 2018 02:10PM
by Noelle Davis

Breakups are tough. They can leave us feeling heartbroken, angry and even empty inside. Conscious Uncoupling is a healthier way for people to separate, versus the more common painful breakup that leaves both partners wounded at their cores. Designed to minimize the hurt and resentments of separating, Conscious Uncoupling is a process that allows each person to leave the relationship with dignity, compassion and respect for self and each other.

It is human nature to desire love and companionship. Research shows happy relationships improve health, longevity and quality of life. The Pew Research Foundation reports half (approximately 122.6 million) of all American adults 18 years and older were married in 2016, and another seven percent, or 18 million, are cohabitating. None of us move into a relationship expecting it to end in heartache, yet many unions do. It’s hard to overlook that 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.

This five-step process of Conscious Uncoupling requires the courage to ask oneself tough questions, and to give honest answers. Th e reward is emotional freedom to move forward in a healthier, more empowered way.

Step One is about finding emotional freedom. Labeling feelings and breathing into them as opposed to turning away from them will provide strength to move to Step Two, where one will reclaim his or her personal power. This step is the scariest for most of us because it requires that we identify our role in the breakup; how did we not show up for ourselves?

Step Three explores our personal story—what we call in Conscious Uncoupling the source fracture story. Very few people get out of their childhood without a source fracture story. These are negative and often-unconscious beliefs that we have developed about ourselves that impact how we see ourselves in the world and impact most of our daily interactions. Getting clear about how these stories are not true is incredibly freeing.

Step Four is about creating a new story and setting intentions that will help shape a desired future. This is an especially important step when children are involved. An example of a positive intention is, “To foster an atmosphere of honor, respect and generosity between us so that our children can have a great relationship with us both.”

Step Five guides one to identify and complete the old agreements each partner shared, such as “till death do us part”, or “I will never love someone as much as I love you”, and to generate new ones that are appropriate to the new form the relationship is taking. Without knowing it, many people keep their agreements to their partner long after they have separated.

Katherine Woodward Thomas, a marriage and family therapist, developed the Conscious Uncoupling method based on the way she and her husband of 10 years moved through their own separation and divorce. Woodward Thomas shares her story and guides people moving through a breakup with her New York Times bestselling book, Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After.

Conscious Uncoupling has been shown to help people transition their relationships in loving and generous ways. In committing to working through these simple steps, it is possible to guide the self away from an angry ending and toward new empowered ways of being with oneself, others and life.

Noelle Davis is a certified love and relationship coach. She will host a free Conscious Uncoupling talk from 2 to 3 p.m., May 20, at the Blue Heron Center, 1310 Ranch Rd. 620 S. B201, Lakeway. For more info, call 512-766-5329 or visit

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