During this unprecedented time of quarantines and the Coronavirus, many couples in the process of separation or divorce are finding themselves stuck with the person they most wanted to get away from. Either because of the shelter-in-place orders or because of financial impacts of the current climate, many soon-to-be-exes are now in a place of feeling trapped in more ways than one.
If you are feeling emotionally trapped in your relationship as a result of the physical quarantine, here are some ways to find spaciousness and use this as an opportunity for healing:
Create as Much Physical Space as Possible
· If you have the ability, create separate living spaces using a spare bedroom, office or family room. If you don’t have this luxury, you can use room dividers or curtains to create space.
· Create a rotating usage schedule for shared space like the kitchen or TV room using specific hours or nights of the week. For example, a Tues/Thurs/Sat evening schedule or every evening from 5-6:30pm for one party and 6:30-8pm for the other.
· If you have children, this can be done with them as well. You can essentially create a parenting plan within the same house where one parent is “on” while the other parent is “off”. Communication with each other and the children is key here, and it’s much easier if the “off” parent is in a separate physical space during their time off.
Put Up Healthy Boundaries
· Communicate with your former partner about what you need, but be mindful of falling into old patterns and ways of being.
· Don’t rely on them as an emotional outlet as you process any fears or feelings about the current state of the world. Reach out to a family member or friend for emotional support and find a trusted professional to help process your emotions. Many therapists, healers, and coaches are working online or via phone to provide support at this time.
· Give them space and ask them for the space that you need. You should think of them as you would a roommate in this situation.
Allow Your Feelings to Guide You, But Don’t Let Them Take Over
· Understand that emotions are at a high right now. Internal and external defense mechanisms and fight-or-flight responses are being kicked up by the collective fear and triggering deep unhealed pain and fear within us. Things may feel and seem much worse than they are and you may be much more reactive or emotional than usual.
· Take breaks and personal space as often as needed and breathe through your emotions and fear, being mindful that you may be taking on fear from others and from the collective. Ask that anything that is not yours be released as you breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.
· Your feelings and emotions are showing you what is wanting to be healed. Use your triggers as a road map to see what is “up” for you at this time. For example, if you are triggered that your former partner isn’t helping around the house, this may be triggering an old wound of not feeling supported, validated or seen.
· Our feelings in adulthood are often reflections of a wounded childhood version of ourselves. You can sit with these feelings and allow them to lead you to your core wound, or what Katherine Woodward Thomas calls your “source fracture” in the Conscious Uncoupling process.
· Once these childhood wounds are seen, felt and validated, they can begin to heal.
· The most important part of feelings is to allow them, to be with them, to feel them. This does not mean to sit and think about the story attached to the feeling, but to actually feel the sensation in your body. To be with it and breathe through it, allowing it to release.
· Journaling and meditation can be a great way to navigate and process your feelings.
· Get help. As noted above, many therapists, healers, and transformative coaches are working remotely to help support you during this time.
Use This as a Catalyst for Change
You may be in a time of massive uncertainty, fear, loss and have no idea what to do next or how your world will look in one week, one month or one year. Let that be OK. You don’t need to know how this ends, only that it will be OK. You will be OK.
Everything is always happening for us, if we allow it.
This pandemic is a massive reset and wake up call for humanity. A time to reframe, go within, and rebuild from a more aligned place.
If you are facing job loss or business failure in addition to your relationship loss, understand that this is a new door opening for you. A new path or a new way of life that can be more aligned, but you must look for the opportunity, you must walk through the open door.
Take the opportunity that is being presented. Use this as the catalyst for change. Get back in touch with your deepest truth and look for the open doors that will allow you to step into a more grounded, peaceful, joyful life.
If you can’t see the opportunity, if you can’t find the door, sit with it. Sit with all of the feelings, all of the fear. Be with it, feel it, and love that wounded part of yourself. Get quiet. Go within. The door is there, ask to be shown the way.