Can separation save a marriage

How calculated a breakup can save the relationship! - These couple coaches give it away

Are you in a crisis? Congratulations! Because a crisis is the most precious time for any relationship. At least that's how Eva-Maria and Wolfram Zurhorst see it, and they should know

Ms. Zurhorst, Mr. Zurhorst, you are a couple coach, when was the last time you advised a couple to separate?

Wolfram: We actually recommend that to every couple.

I beg your pardon?

Eva-Maria: We call it separation in a relationship.

That sounds complicated.

Eva-Maria: But it's relatively simple. Most of the time it is like this: one person clings, the other flees. In order to change a relationship that is not going smoothly, both of you have to let go and press the stop button. Stop everyday processes, commitments, agreements, assigning blame. They don't have to eat together in the evening, sleep in the same bed, go to parties or have sex that one of them doesn't enjoy.

Do you grant a license to become an ego-sow?

Eva-Maria: No, but for personal responsibility. In most relationships, an entanglement between the two creeps in over the years, which leads to fixed roles, subliminal power struggles, mutual clinging and fleeing. At some point your own self disappears. Nobody can ask themselves: Am I actually satisfied with that? What I want? What is good for me and what is not? What am I missing? In which areas of my life am I not living the way I want to?

Me, me, me ... aren't two in a relationship?

Wolfram: Most who are in a crisis think: I have to change something with my partner, and ideally he has to change. But it does not work.

What works

Eva-Maria: I have to deal with myself, with my own software. With the program I learned about relationships.

Could you please explain this to a non-IT professional?

Eva-Maria: Our ideas about a relationship - questions like: What do I expect from a partnership? How do I behave in it? - are determined in the first three years of life, basically already in the womb. As toddlers we inhale how people around us deal with feelings, how they live together. With these ideas, a kind of automatic software, we walk around like a Duracell bunny for a lifetime.

Unless the bunny hits the wall.

Wolfram: Yes, that would be great.

You are not serious!

Wolfram: Yes! Only when the bunny hits the wall will it change something. Above all, a crisis is a precious phase.

Eva-Maria: I like to say to couples who come to us: Please bury your old relationship. She is dead. You can now build a new one.

How do you know whether a couple is able to change something or build something new?

Eva-Maria: As long as there is no violence or something really serious, such as the loss of a child, one can say: the vast majority of couples have the potential to approach each other again.

To draw closer or to reconcile?

Eva-Maria: It's not about reconciliation. It's more about forgiving and developing together. The past up to this point is the result of the old programs. Now it is time to grow up emotionally and develop together towards the respective needs of the individual. It's an adventure.

You write together on new software.

Eva-Maria: I would rather call it an update. Every couple starts with their own software and, like every computer program, it needs an update from time to time. If you've been together for ten years, the relationship is somewhere in the ranking. Before that come the children, the job, the school, the house, the garden, the parents ... And you hope that things will work by themselves . But it doesn't.

How does such an update work?

Eva-Maria: It often helps to pull the plug and ask yourself a few questions - or, if it's too complex, to let people like us ask you questions. Sometimes you have to put up a new system. But that doesn't mean that you have to throw away the whole computer because of it, that you have to split up or get a divorce. It just means that you need some kind of cleaning program, a virus scanner. By the way, a breakup would not do much, because then the virus would stay - and any subsequent relationship would hang up again.

When is literally nothing going on?

Eva-Maria: When someone clings hopelessly like crazy, holds on, endures, i.e. is the classic victim type. You'd like to say straight away: Get out, quickly! This relationship is not good for either of them.

Wolfram: Or if someone does not establish any contact with himself at all and continues to stubbornly switch to head or analysis.

Eva-Maria: Talking about a relationship with someone like that is like negotiating with a company porter. However, decisions are made upstairs in the executive suite and not at the entrance to the underground car park. A person who has no contact with his feelings can say ten times: “Yes, honey, I'll change something.” But if he has no contact with the executive floor, i.e. with his feelings, then of course he has no influence.

Is there one sentence that you would most like to go screaming about?

Wolfram: Oh yes: “That's just the way it is. That's me."

Eva-Maria: Or also: "The topic is not currently being discussed here."

Wolfram: Men are masters at it. We like to limit our emotional communication to Morse code.

And women?

Eva-Maria: Are experts in the opposite discipline, the dissolving of emotions.

Then we'd better stop here. Thank you for the talk!