It can be really hard to know whether a relationship is worth trying to save or not.

Maybe you’ve been unhappy for some time. Maybe you feel you’ve tried everything. Even so, when you’ve children together it’s worth taking time to do all you can to make sure that separating is the right decision.

It sounds silly now, but when we first got together I thought that love would create happiness and we wouldn’t have any problems. But when the kids came along I wasn’t prepared for how this would change things. I blamed the relationship. Now I wish we’d worked together more rather than splitting up. It’s had a big impact on our kids, and on our finances.

Talk about your problems

It can be scary to talk about your problems and let your partner know how you’re feeling. It may make your problems feel more real. You may be afraid of starting an argument.

However, you’ll need to take a long, hard look at your problems if you want to find a way forward.

You’ll need to be willing to:

Even if you decide to separate, talking can help. It will help make your adjustment to being separated parents in the future easier.

If you find that your conversations go round in circles, or it’s just too difficult to start to talk about your problems, speak to one of our counsellors.

Accept the ‘non-perfect’ reality

Of course children are best brought up with parents who stay together in a stable, happy relationship. But for many reasons you may not be able to provide this for your children.

You might find it helpful to think about the following:

Consider counselling

It’s a big decision and not one to be taken lightly. Separating from your partner will have a big impact on your life and your children’s lives. 

Most people like to feel that they have done everything they could to resolve things before ending a relationship.

It can help to talk to a relationship counsellor. They can help you come to a decision that you feel is the right one for you. Relate counsellors will not tell you what to do and won’t take sides. A counsellor will listen and help you explore your options. You can come for counselling on your own or with your partner.

Coming to a decision

Try these questions and activities to help you think about what to do next;

1. Understanding myself

Write down a list of the 3 things that make you most unhappy in your relationship. For each thing think about (or write down);

2. Talking to your partner

Plan a time to talk to your partner about your relationship when you will not be distracted. You may need to have a number of conversations. Encourage your partner to answer the questions above and use your answers as a basis for your conversation. Take turns to talk about each thing on your list. Remember listening is as important as talking;

If your partner is not prepared to talk you will at least need to let them know that you don’t see a future together without resolving some of your problems.

3. Making a decision

If you feel you have done all you can maybe it is time to be making a decision about the future.

How we can help you

Before contacting us to make an appointment, why not try the Relate National “Ready to Separate?” tool – Facing the end of your relationship can be traumatic and confusing. This free tool can help you work out what to do next.