Sadly a married couple we are close to suddenly and unexpectedly split up last year. It’s got me thinking again about a conversation that I think all couples should have when times are good: “if we were to split up, how would we want to do it?”

My husband and I talk vaguely about this. We say all the right things about how we’d be reasonable and fair. But I’ve seen too many times how couples who once loved each other can get into drawn out, upsetting, expensive battles that leave no one a winner. It becomes about winning and losing, not fairness or happiness, and certainly not about the wellbeing of the children. The love they once shared is all but forgotten.

So I’m determined that this break up will be the one that makes us talk open and honestly about what our ideal break up would look like. Would we sell our house and both find somewhere new, or would one have to buy the other out? How would we split our time with the children and what would actually work for us around our other commitments? Would we agree on our “story” and present our break up as a united front with no victims or villains? Would one of us get priority when both invited to mutual friends’ events or would we both try to attend and be friendly? What about money, would we split everything 50/50 or would it need to be more complicated than that to be fair?

It’s a hard conversation to have, but it’s easier to have when your relationship is in a good place than when you’re at the end of it. My hope would be that we could turn to our notes from this conversation if ever we came to the point of break up and at least use it as a starting point to help us see past whatever anger or hurt was bringing our relationship to an end.

If you would like some support in having a conversation like this, please get in touch!