In the 12th episode of FP Guru Series, we chatted with Aurora Meneses da Silva, a psychologist specialized in Couple and Family Therapy, and the owner of Relationship Therapy Amsterdam. This is our second podcast episode with the participation of Aurora. The previous episode was dedicated to healthy relationships you can listen to it here.
What this podcast is about:
○ Sometimes, due to different reasons, people can't make a decision to break up. How should they go about it?
○ Do the stages of grief make sense?
○ Should you stay in touch with your ex?
○ Is it healthy to give it another try, when your partner asks you for it?
○ Do you believe one can forget an ex only after they meet someone new?
○ Is it healthy to go from one relationship to another?
Listen to the full podcast here:
Julia [00:00:02] Hello everyone. Welcome to the Fashion Potluck podcast session. My name is Julia and I'm the Chief Marketing Officer of FashionPotluck. Today I'm in the company of Luis, the founder of Fashion Potluck.
Luis [00:00:12] Hello!
Julia [00:00:13] And Aurora Meneses Da Silva, a couples therapist based in Amsterdam. Today we want to ask Aurora the most common questions about breakups. Hello Aurora, welcome back!
Aurora [00:00:26] Hi! Thank you for having me again.
Julia [00:00:30] The last time a couple of months ago we talked to Aurora about healthy relationships so you guys can go back into history and listen to that podcast. And today we want to focus on a slightly different part of a relationship which is a breakup.
Luis [00:00:45] The painful.
Luis [00:00:46] The end of a relationship. Which is one of the reasons why I'm joining as well, cuz generally I would not join.
Julia [00:00:54] Yes, today we would like to have two perspectives on breakups. So from a man, from women and also from people with different experiences tough and lighter breakups. And let's start. So our first question is that sometimes people can find themselves in unhealthy relationships but they have no strength to break up. And I think it applies not only to unhealthy relationships but to many different situations where people just have maybe a lot of things together like capital or they have an unhealthy relationship or they've just been together for so long and they cannot break up. What would you say like how should they go about it?
Aurora [00:01:39] Right right. This is a very good question right. And so, when I was thinking about this I was thinking about maybe what we need to start with is what are the reasons that that person, in particular, is finding difficult to break up the relationship right. You know we might be thinking about assets to have together, think about children they have together. So there's a lot of entanglements in that regard but also there could be maybe that the relationship has been worn down by a lot of conflicts, worn down by a lot of negative interactions that maybe they feel very helpless and they're tired or it can be maybe because there's just a lot of emotional distancing. So there are really different reasons why somebody could get to the point of not having the strength to do that, which is really understandable. But I think the points you're coming from is really what's going to make the difference in how they're going to go about this. But I think what's really interesting we were coming down in fact I guess if I can answer your question indirectly I think a breakup is always very difficult no matter what type of relationship you are in/ No matter how long you've been in this relationship and no matter how much dependencies meaning how many assets you have in common it doesn't really make it different. I guess it can make it different really. But at the core, it's always going to be difficult to end a relationship. And the assumption behind this idea is that when we fall in love with somebody and we enter a relationship there is an emotional bond and emotional connection we create with that person.
Aurora [00:03:14] And so this emotional connection we develop with that person we are wired for that as humans. Right. So we're connecting beings and we have this capacity to connect to others so when we're thinking about a breakup we're breaking up not just about dividing assets we're talking about breaking up and severing an emotional tie.
Luis [00:03:37] Curious, because from my feeling and I remember I had this relationship, my longest relationship ever. And there were two aspects even though we had moved together we had purchased the whole thing. It was literally like the beginning of a couple life and we had not married but it was pretty much the same thing. This relationship lasted over five years and there is a comfort zone, for me at least it became habitual like I literally became you know everything day to day was day to day. Sex was there and we had some connection. So, for me specifically, I wanted to break up because I knew that this relationship was not, it was not somebody that I could see myself like you know going forward, like being married or what have you. But I felt that because I was already together with her for five years that maybe I should stick to it.
Julia [00:04:47] Like an investment.
Luis [00:04:47] Yeah, It's almost like, Yeah it's kind of like that. So we had already invested emotionally, we had already invested monetarily into actually moving together doing the whole paperwork. What have you...
Julia [00:04:59] So, what was this strike that made you go?
Luis [00:05:02] I basically in my brain, and actually, in action, I literally tried it several times. I tried to break up several times and I would always go back and then go back on my own decision because then I would think well that's going to be talking with her parents... The cost of breaking up seemed higher than to stick with the comfort zone. As we had what you mentioned right now. We had a bond and we had an emotional tie. I remembered it just right now. I would actually give myself deadlines. I would say OK, Luis, your birthday is coming up, so it's not a good time to break up but let's break up...
Julia [00:06:02] I want a birthday present, haha.
Luis [00:06:04] But let's break up at the end of the month. But then, the end of the month would come and I would be like Oh no. Let's...
Julia [00:06:12] It's winter, let's make it summer. Winter blues. Haha.
Aurora [00:06:18] Hahaha.
Luis [00:06:18] And, then I would keep going. So yeah, I'm not sure if you experienced this or it has been different with your professional experience with people that you work with. But to me, that's what was one of the main issues.
Aurora [00:06:31] So I guess this is a really good point because I as you're asking me this question what really comes to mind is your experience plus all the other experiences I've observed with other people. And there's never one voice where people come from when they want to break up and therefore they're obviously not going to land in the same place after the breakup. But I guess what I hear you say is that there have been comfortability in a relationship, that has been something in a relationship have made you wonder and question the relationship per se. There was a lot of comfortability but there is maybe something that I would say that was not meeting what you needed. There is a level of something happening in a relationship I would and obviously, I don't want to dwell. I don't know how much privacy you want to keep it. We can have a live session here [Laughing]. But it sounds like if one is thinking about breaking up and there's a lot of comfort then there is something in a relationship that is not fulfilling. I'm wondering if there have been times in your relationship where you and she, you and her really talked about that when say "you know what I don't know if this makes sense to you...". Before we've been talking about breaking up or even before breaking up is talking about breaking up. The talking about you know "I have this feeling that I want to break up with you but then I feel this, this, this, and I'm attached to you, I'm attached to the house". These are important things, we need safety as humans. So the comfort is not something we should just get away with. We need comfort as one of our basic needs but it's more about how do we go about having these conversations that really make a difference. "Do you feel the same? Do you think about that? I don't know where it comes..". Just really opening the discussion.
Luis [00:08:27] One of the questions to follow your comments right now. So when I look at myself back then I realize that in hindsight that I was not emotionally mature enough to actually think about you know what you just mentioned right now. What would you say to people that are like in a similar spot as it was back then? Because right now we totally say, yeah, I've gone through this I know that the best thing to do is sit down with the cards on the table.
Aurora [00:08:53] That's the good thing about breaking up is that you also have these warning moments that are super important. But I think there's also the assumption when you enter a relationship you enter some sort of emotional contract right. So it's like you know you sign up for this...
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Aurora is a psychologist specialized in Couple and Family Therapy. She completed a B.Sc. in Clinical Psychology, in Portugal, where she worked as a psychologist for several years with low-income families. During that time, she developed an interest in understanding how people are influenced by the relationships with the people around them. For this reason, she joined a master's program in Marriage and Family Therapy, in the USA. In 2015, she moved to Amsterdam, where she is the owner of Relationship Therapy.
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