When you break up with someone, especially after a long time together, you go into a kind of mourning, unless of course you’re insufferably pompous like Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow and ‘consciously uncouple’ (pass the galvanized bucket and smelling salts please).
The longer couples are together, the more responsibilities they take on as a couple. House, kids, dog, loans, bigger bills and luxuries. It’s just what couples do. The more they earn, the more they spend, and they build a bigger and better life together.
But what happens when it all comes crashing down? It doesn’t matter the circumstances, whether she finds out her husband has a fetish for wearing lace underwear, or he finds out she quite fancies Gail in HR. Once a relationship is gone, there is no way of salvaging that part of the relationship.
It’s at this point, you have to both put all of your cards on the table. Clear the fog of war, so you both can see each other. The main thing is honesty, transparency, and keeping a level head.
If there are family aspects, you have no choice but to be a part of each others lives. You made the baby, you can turn your back on them now because you are no longer in love with the other parent.
You’ll have to endure graduation, weekly visits, milestone birthdays, weddings. Surely you can be civil for one night to each other.
The easiest way to achieve this, is to focus on the good times, and there must have been some, otherwise you wouldn’t have stayed together so long. Also, sending daily emails to each other is a good way to get the relationship (or lack thereof) alive without it being intimate. Simple ‘How are you?’ emails, Happy Birthdays and the like. Nothing too heavy, but still showing that although you’re not together, you can still actually care for someone and not want to take a sledge hammer to Great Aunt Ethyl’s priceless Ming Vase.
It is also imperative that you keep (in the early days) face to face contact to a bare minimum, even if that means you have to change jobs. That will only breed contention and resentment for both of you, especially if the other one moves on before you.
Eventually both parties move on, but be very careful with the subject. The last thing you need is a public bust up, especially on social media. Remove each other, block if you must, but for the love of Christ, I do not want to log into Facebook at 7am to have 300 updates on a spat between ex’s (you know who you are!).
Take time out for both of you to heal, but also think and discuss long and hard where you both think things have gone belly up, and how you think the entire situation could have been avoided for future reference. Ladies, pee on the toilet seat is not grounds for divorce!