You thought you would be together forever, yet here you are, faced with the reality of dissolving your relationship. You’re reluctant to announce your breakup, worried about what others may think. You fear being labeled a failure. You have no obligation to share any details but making the choice to say something about your exit reduces the likelihood of people making wild, inaccurate assumptions and/or gossiping about your situation.

Formally announcing your breakup can serve as a ritual to provide much needed closure, as well as enable you to begin establishing healthy boundaries with others – defining what is and what is not okay to discuss. Most important, being candid opens the door for friends and family to provide the emotional support you so desperately need. You do not have to endure your breakup alone. Remember that nearly 50 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. So, take advantage of some of the lessons learned by those who have gone before you as you heal and move forward.

Don’t trash-talk your ex

There are a few key concepts to remember as you announce your separation and begin the hard work of unraveling a relationship with someone you loved. First, keep things positive when you speak to friends and family about your breakup. Publicly criticizing your former partner or the relationship itself has no upside. Disparaging your partner puts you at risk of being perceived as a disgruntled individual who is at worst, incapable of selecting a good mate. When you make a conscious choice to enter suddenly single life with grace and dignity, you set the tone that everyone else will follow. Look to actor Sandra Bullock for inspiration. As her devastating divorce unfolded in real time, she never once provided a detailed statement about her husband Jesse James’ flagrant infidelity with multiple women. Why? Because Bullock (and her publicist) understood the concept, less is more. As a result, the story died rather quickly, and the public moved on to the next public “scandal.”

Craft and share a positive message about your breakup

You must invest your time and attention into whatever you want to expand or get bigger in your life. So, when personally disclosing your exit, anything you say ought to be positive. Craft an explanation that accentuates optimism. Here is one example,

“Life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect it to. Our relationship has come to an end. ______ and I have decided to part ways. Looking back, I’m grateful for the good times we’ve shared. I wish ______ a happy and healthy future and I hope to enjoy the same. We respectfully ask that everyone refrain from making any public comments. If you wish to send messages of support to either of us, please do so privately.” 

After you deliver your statement individually or via social media to your friends and family, it is time to begin building an entirely new foundation for yourself. The silver lining of becoming suddenly single is that you become the architect who gets to decide how to redesign your life 2.0. The very thought of doing so may overwhelm you.

Conscious Uncoupling accentuates opportunity not failure

There is a useful framework you can use as a roadmap during this difficult time – one that emphasizes moving forward in an optimistic, empowering, and solution-focused manner.

Conscious Uncoupling is the act of ending your relationship in a benevolent way that enables you and your partner to embrace your exit as an opportunity for personal growth and evolution. The term was first introduced to popular culture in 2009 by Katherine Woodward Thomas. You may recall hearing it for the first time when actor Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin separated in 2014. Uncoupling consciously allows you to shed those negative feelings that could impede your ability to move on and build a brighter future for yourself. Becoming the very best version of yourself will only enhance any future relationships you choose to invest in.

You cannot change your past. But as you heal from your breakup, you get to decide how the seeds you plant today will bear fruit in your future. So, instead of dwelling on feelings of resentment and vindictiveness, make the choice to cultivate acceptance, forgiveness, and adaptability. Doing so will enable you to forge ahead feeling unburdened by past pain so you can embrace the endless possibilities for the healthy life experiences and relationships that lie ahead of you.

After you break the news, focus on loving yourself again

In every relationship, even healthy ones, we tend to abandon valuable parts of ourselves – relinquishing hobbies or interests that our partner may not appreciate as much as we do. Now that you find yourself with more free time, use it to reclaim activities and pursuits you once took pleasure in. As you begin to rebuild your life from the ground up, commit to spending your time in ways that will bring you joy but also add purpose and meaning to your daily life. Engaging in physical activity or volunteering for a cause are healthy, productive ways to spend your time.

Transitioning into an unknown, uncharted future feels downright terrifying. But remember, the only way you could ever see clearly into the future would be within a dry, flat, barren desert, void of any life at all. What kind of life would that be?

You will thrive post-divorce—if you remain optimistic (most of the time) with your eyes toward the future. Take ownership of your current circumstances. Be honest about what you can and cannot control. Trust that things will unfold as they should, eventually. Whatever you are enduring now will come to pass. Because everything always does. And then one day you will too. The days may seem long, but the years are much too short. As you make your exit, don’t waste a single moment living with regret. The canvas of your life is painted with your collective daily experiences, behaviors, reactions, and emotions. You’re the one controlling the brush, and you can use as many colors and brushstrokes as you like!