Ending significant relationships is difficult. In these situations there can be a great deal of emotion and uncertainty and often the decision to end the relationship is made by one of the partners despite the feelings and commitment of the other. In some situations, the overwhelming nature of the situation can lead to one partner feeling hopeless and suicidal.
In these situations, it is more often the person who feels aggrieved or abandoned who might feel suicidal rather than the person who has chosen to end the relationship. The person who made the decision to end the relationship has usually gone through a lengthy grieving and letting-go process before leaving the relationship, and in most cases they have already determined what their future will look like. They are much further on the journey of separation than the other partner. In contrast, while the person left behind might have been aware of conflict or problems within the relationship it often comes as a shock when their partner leaves. In some situations, the suicidal person may be saying directly that you are to blame for the way they are feeling. Alternatively, you may in some way feel responsible or that you have done something to cause them to feel this way.
It is important for you to understand that is usually not your fault. It may be helpful to remember the following if you are in this situation:
It is important for you to remember that your partner or spouse is responsible for their own thoughts and feelings, just as you are responsible for your own thoughts and feelings.
I can be very difficult to work out how much support you can provide your partner as they go through their personal grieving process following the end of your relationship. Even though you have made the decision to end the relationship, it can be very troubling to witness someone who you have had a relationship with experiencing such distressing emotions. While you may want to give the other person support, it is important that they do not get the wrong message about your thoughts about possibly continuing the relationship.
There are a number of things that you can do. These include:
If your former partner threatens suicide, you can seek the assistance of emergency services. If you believe their life is at immediate risk, it is recommended that you contact an emergency service such as the police, ambulance service or local Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (CATT). See Emergency information for details.