(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)
Dr T J Jordan
When a meaningful relationship ends, one that included intimacy and some degree of commitment, we often have feelings of pain, sadness, anger and even hatred. An impact of the loss we experience can be looking back at the relationship through a dark and clouded lens, mistakenly deciding that everything we experienced when we were together was not as good as we had thought. We often tend to toss the whole of the relationship into the over-generalization of a bad and miserable waste of time and emotions.
It has been argued that the opposite of love is not hate but indifference. The problem with indifference is that it connotes a permanent lack of caring about the well-being of the person with whom we were in love. When we struggle to maintain a sense of indifference, we tend to prolong our own suffering and essentially train ourselves to become uncaring people.
A preferable option is uncoupling as described by (Melchin)*. He suggests that what we are striving for is the degree of detachment that will help eliminate or reduce our long-term suffering while avoiding poor decisions about our relationship experiences.
What is uncoupling?
Originating in his work on conflict resolution through insight, and applying this work to the experience of love, Melchin describes how to change our perspectives to achieve healthier emotional responses. We want to uncouple in ways that permit us to find freedom in a degree of detachment that will prevent us from being enslaved by and even obsessed with painful emotions, yet permit us to be compassionate and caring.
Uncoupling guides us away from the generalizations that result from flawed thinking and poor decision making. The different perspective permits us to continue caring about our prior partner without being controlled by negative emotions.
By flawed thinking we mean a perspective that encourages us to believe that we are responsible for someone/everyone else. (This approach to a sense of responsibility is most deeply explored by the Russian philosopher Nikolai Burdyaev**. His work focuses on pain versus suffering, love, compassion and the unity of…