October 21, 2021

Why Uncoupling & Letting our Partners Go can feel like we are Dying a Little.


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When we try to let go of a former lover, we die a little.

Beneath the pain, sorrow, and grief that we’re already going through, there’s also something happening in our subconscious that we are unaware of while it’s happening. And it’s not dependent on the type of relationship we’ve had (whether healthy, codependent, or toxic).

This is dependent on our primary instinct: survival.

The awareness about why we feel like we are “dying a little” while we’re trying to let go of our partners is often lacking in current society, mostly because we are lacking the connection with ourselves, our human nature, and where we come from.

What we are aware of: as a species, we used to live in tribes—communities in which we took care of each other.

What we forgot: our interdependent nature was much more obvious back then. Together, we made sure we were able to let each other live. Hunting for food, looking out for the children. We were in it together.

But if we decided to leave the tribe or, heaven forbid, were kicked out of it, then there we were: out in the wild, with no one around us. Having to find our own food and shelter, while trying not to get food poisoning or get eaten by some sort of wild animal. Chances of survival were small. And chances are, we would have died.

Now, let’s take it back to these times and how we are living now. Our tribes have become much, much smaller, and more importantly, more scattered. Usually, our most physical and practical “tribe” has become our romantic relationship. Our support system (usually our family and friends) is a part of our community, but we often do not share our lives, food, and nights with them on a day-to-day basis.

Our current community is based on a small group of people with whom we often share a household. In the Westernized world, this means you and your partner. Now, imagine leaving this tribe or being kicked out of it. By breaking up or going through a divorce, you are out in the wild again. No matter which side you are on: this counts for the both of you.

While our nervous systems are still living as a hunter-gatherer, there we (unconsciously) are again: out in the wild, alone, having to manage our own food and shelter. It’s part of our evolution and it has been passed on through generations that wouldn’t have been able to survive that.

It can really help to admit to ourselves that we might be dying a little while going through an uncoupling phase. It’s the things we do not have under control or are often lacking awareness of, like where we come from, which make us more aware of who we are now (and on which scripts and programs we all unconsciously run).

So, give yourself some slack. You’re in the wild, and you’re still just trying to survive this thing called life.


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Zoë van Liere  |  Contribution: 835

author: Zoë van Liere

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