How To Move On Gracefully With Conscious Uncoupling

August 24, 2022

When I thought my future looked a certain way with a certain man in a certain place… it all crumbled. Like a tower moment, everything fell apart in a split second. We had a beautiful soul connection but we were not ready for it. The bond became a burden on both of us, holding us back from our healing, our growth. Not everyone is meant to walk the whole path with us. We are all letting go of a lot now as a collective; the old no longer serves us. The most painful part is to admit that our partnership is no longer in service to us both. When both parties know there’s no way forward together, separation has to come. Yet no one really talks about this.
The first part, the ugly crying on the floor, begging the the Universe and bargaining, wanting to take it back…

“I asked for it to change—but not like this.”

And then there’s expansion that also comes with the loss. Is it unspeakable?

At last, the grief of honoring the love that can’t match where you’re going and the bravery to let go.

Conscious uncoupling is a relatively new process pioneered by psychotherapist Katherine Woodward Thomas, though the word “uncoupling” has been used to describe divorce since the early 1940s. It helps couples to separate from each other without hard feelings, resentment, or unhappiness that could affect the ability to move on and build a brighter future.

Many partners view the end of a relationship as a personal failure, blaming themselves. Others wallow in anger and resentment, some lash out in destructive ways. The circumstances that end the relationship can have the power to redefine a couple’s entire story together.

Partners carry pain, loss, heartache,  anger about the relationship long after it ends and can even carry it over into their next one if not consciously released, by reflecting on your contribution to why it didn’t work, taking responsibility for it, and resolving to make different relationship choices in the future.

When we understand that both are actually partners in each other’s spiritual progress, conscious uncoupling can emerge.

The misunderstandings involved in a breakup have much to do with the imbalance between our own masculine and feminine energies. Choosing to hide behind a mask and get stuck in attack mode requires a great imbalance of masculine energy. Feminine energy is the source of peacemaking, nurturing, and healing. When our masculine and feminine energies reach balance, we can emerge from our old relationship and consciously call in someone who reflects our new world, not the old one.

Conscious Uncoupling in Five Steps

Step 1

Find Emotional Freedom –  lean into the dark feelings you probably have and use that pain constructively. Learn to manage your difficult feelings to resist destructive break outs and instead bring in positive change. This stage is about learning to manage your pain differently; honoring it by listening to it instead of acting impulsively and destructively on it.

Step 2

Reclaim Your Power and Your Life – letting go of the hurt, wounded victim mentality and taking responsibility for your part in why the relationship didn’t work. Honest self-reflection can make you aware of your own relationship patterns—people-pleasing, martyrdom, abandonment, etc. If you’re not aware of your stuff, you can’t change it.

Step 3

Break Your Pattern – discover the habitual ways  you learned to be in relationships, identify when and how you learned these patterns, and awaken to a new ways of expressing your heart. This step involves the hard work of excavating the past, learning from it, and using these lessons and new skills to ensure a better future.

Step 4

Become a Love Alchemist – take actions to break from old patterns and take steps to radically transform your current relationship with your partner. Any lingering anger or pain has to be dissolved so that you and your partner can move forward in new, life-giving ways. It means letting go of the past for the sake of a new, empowered, fulfilling future.

Step 5

Create Your New Life – Set conscious intentions about your boundaries, communication, co-parenting, dividing property, and other aspects of your relationship. Reach out for support from your family and friends and even having a Conscious Uncoupling ceremony that  completes your transition together.

Some people prefer to perform an “Conscious uncoupling ceremony” with their former partner which helps them to move forward more easily. It’s part of the grieving process of something both treasured once but was ultimately lost.

Here’s an outline of a ceremony you can build up your own (I believe every ceremony should be personalized):

Come together with your former partner in a time that works for both of you, when you can be unbothered and private.
Choose a place where both feel safe and secure.

You can build a bonfire on the beach or light a candle.
Write your new vows or letters for each other which you read out loud. Let your eyes meet and hold the gaze.
Reflect on the relationship over with your ex-partner. Be very mindful, discuss the good parts and what didn’t work, don’t blame but take responsibility for your part. Give and receive apologies, healing words. Share and respect new boundaries.

You can chose to burn your new vows or letters in the bonfire.
Meditate and let go of the pain and the relationship.
Separate with Love and gratitude

Generally both parties should choose to participate in a conscious uncoupling process or ceremony. However, your personal growth and receiving closure shouldn’t depend on whether or not your spouse chooses/is able to participate in it. You can still reflect on the lessons, resist being baited into dramatic arguments, and stand firm in your internal, spiritual support system. By choosing to handle your uncoupling in a conscious way you’ll see that although it looks like everything is falling apart; it’s actually  coming back together.

Despite all my efforts, I was unable to consciously uncouple from my former partner, and it wasn’t his fault. That can happen too.

So here’s the outline of the ceremony I performed alone:


I wrote a letter for him, with all my love and respect, including everything I ever wanted to say but couldn’t.
I went on a walk in the forest because that’s the most soothing place for me and stopped by ocean.
I sat on the shore until I felt the time was right.

I read through my letter and burned it while holding the image of my beloved in my heart.
I sat there, crying as I watched the letter burn and was thinking about all the beautiful memories we created.
I wished him all the best and healing.
Then I wrote a letter for myself, created a new vow for my new Self and life.

Watched the sunset and walked back home.


The truest expression of LOVE is not being together—but to love another enough to want what is in highest service for their soul (with or without you).

Get more like this—Sign up for our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!


Photo: Manuel Meurisse via Unsplash

Imola is a Hatha and Ashtanga yoga teacher, tree planter and writer and editor of Raised by the Wolf, an online magazine for Wild Women, with a passion for exploring and life outdoors. Originally from Hungary but currently planting trees and rewilding the enchanting forests of France. Hop over to RBTW magazine, and blog and follow her on Instagram @yogiraisedbythewolf


always stay inspired!