TLS #108: Consciously Completing a Relationship with Katherine Woodward Thomas


This episode is very near and dear to my heart and I have been looking forward to sharing this with you, my dear friends, for a while now.

For many reasons which are explained in this episode, I have asked bestselling author, Katherine Woodward Thomas, on the show to share her new book, Conscious Uncoupling, which lays out her five step process to consciously uncoupling and living happily even after.

I have used Katherine’s process personally over the past few months, and it has transformed a potentially negative or destructive process into one of peace, joy, and love. Now, I’d like to share her approach with you.

This episode is perfect for anyone who wants to learn about a five step process to help lovingly complete a relationship wholeheartedly, or for anyone who wants to learn about a meaningful new chapter in my own life.







  • Katherine tells us how her life was defined by growing up with her parent’s divorce and how that evolved today as an author and psychotherapist.

  • She tells us the story of how she set intentions for her life and the beginnings of her inner journey of self reflection.

  • Katherine shows us how she used her own personal experience in creating her seven steps to help people with their relationships.

  • She tells us about her uncoupling with her husband and the positive outcome it had on her life as well as her family’s lives.

  • She describes that finding emotional freedom moves us from the difficult and emotional issues of a breakup to a more positive outcome.

  • Katherine explains that you need to shift your perspective and begin taking personal responsibility for your part in the relationship and thus reclaim your power and your life.

  • She talks about her ”source-fracture story” theory and  how it’s been the underlying cause of disappointing patterns in love which can help heal your heart.

  • Katherine says that couples need to see themselves as capable of generating a positive future themselves and everyone impacted by the breakup..

  • Katherine finishes with her fifth step which is to create your happily even after life by making wise and life-affirming decisions as they reinvent their life.
  • She tells us how “affect labeling” can help us control feelings and emotions.

  • Katherine describes how uncoupling can leave you better equipped to love with a bigger, more trusting heart.



Grace Bonney

Calling in “The One”

Design*Sponge at Home

Conscious Uncoupling

Ken McLeod

Matthew Lieberman








PS – If you’d like to read Mr. Lively’s post about the conscious completion of our marriage, you can do so here.


This Post Has 44 Comments

  1. Beautiful podcast! I am impressed by what you have learned through the process. I think it is wise that you both acknowledge that what the other person wants is equally important. There is no right way of living. Although I am happily married and intend to have a family, I found the podcast really refreshing and inspiring. Good job!

  2. S.

    Oh Jess, I ache for you. I’ve never commented before even though I’ve enjoyed your work for years but I wanted to say how much I respect and admire the kindness and maturity with which you have navigated this transition and shared it with your community. Please know that you have so much love and support from all of us as you move through your personal and private journey.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about the end of your marriage. But I’m really impressed with the way you’re handling everything. Sending you a virtual hug. 🙂

  4. Suzy

    What a beautiful podcast! I’ll admit I was a little hesitant listening to it, a podcast about a marriage ending and a book about it. But no, it was so touching and actually refreshing! Often we hear about the turmoil of ending marriages and it’s scary and ugly, especially when I’m married myself. So congrats to both of you and your amazing love for each other!

    1. It’s wonderful to hear you enjoyed the episode, Suzy. Thanks for listening with an open mind and heart. : )

  5. Kim

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. The only concern I have is that if you tell people exactly how you need them to respond to support you, you may have denied yourself input or wisdom that may or may not have affected your decision. A decision which seems so very fast if everything was a go as recent as your move to Ann Arbor. I don’t understand the rush, but concede that there is much information we listeners are not privy to. I have no doubt you will navigate the change with grace, kindness and love though.

    1. Thank you for your concern and kindness, Kim. I assure you that we made the 100% right decision for ourselves and are deeply grateful for our experience before, during, and after the completion.

      I hope you have a wonderful evening.

  6. Jillian Ehrenberg

    Much, much love to you! What a big story. Thank you for sharing.

  7. slimwhite

    From the perspective of a person who, at age 39, daily longs and prays for a husband & family of her own (even with all the pain & sacrifice that is often involved), this seems like such a sad and short sighted decision, unless there’s something Jess isn’t sharing, such as infidelity. A good man, and what sounds like was a good marriage, is hard to find!

  8. Mae Deshommes

    I believe we’re seeing the work you’ve done inwardly being expressed outwardly in this podcast! I’ve been a HUGE fan of your podcast for a while now…never commented though…until today. Thank you for being so transparent and vulnerable during this podcast…your strength was actually demonstrated in a big way today! Thanks again Jess C(for COURAGEOUS) Lively?

    1. Thank you, Mae! I am so grateful I finally got to share this work with you through this episode. I hope you have a wonderful day!

  9. Lydia Tewkesbury

    This episode was beautiful and so brave of you. Thank you for sharing with us. Much love xxx

  10. Erin Anderson

    Thank you, Jess, for sharing your story with us. Divorce is mainly seen as a negative thing and it’s so hard to change that perception. I, too, went through a similar situation as you. After 10 years we realized that we were on different paths. We had a very amicable separation, including splitting up our dogs, and remain good friends. People in our lives were surprised that we could move forward with such kindness and love. To me, it was the only way to handle it. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but it has shown me that I’m happier on my own and I’m stronger than I think I am. I wish you and Ellie the best as you embark on this exciting new chapter in your lives. Much love xoxo

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience, Erin! I can totally relate to what you are saying so far in my own journey since this has happened – I am finding myself stronger than I thought I was. Thank you!

  11. I’m so sorry, Jess but it seems like it was truly the best decision for you both. I am divorced at 29, with a child, and it was a hugely difficult decision to make but I listened to my heart. My life has been so different and exciting after the ending of that life. Sure, there are days I cry and miss what I once had, but ultimately I feel gratitude (for how that relationship blessed me, changed me, and challenged me to be a better person), and I can tell you do too. We keep moving forward and keep aligning with what it is we want deep down. Wishing you the best of luck in the near future!

    1. Hugs, Vanessa! I hear you. I feel you. I’m grateful you’ve shared your journey and heart here with us. Thank you!

  12. Margaret B

    I’ve been binge listening to your podcast, Jess, and although our belief systems are very different, I’ve gotten so much value out of many of them. The beautiful thing about this life is that we’re all different, which means we all have different thoughts and opinions to bring to the table. I think there’s danger in embracing the idea that when a husband and wife’s values grow apart that amicably separating is a valiant thing. Every husband and wife will eventually grow in different directions. The brave thing isn’t to accept those differences, but to work tirelessly to honor the vows you made to one another despite them. Obviously, there are so many variables that can come into play, and I’m not trying to force my opinions on anyone – just sharing them. Thanks for being so open with this and allowing this discussion.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Margaret! You are totally right, depending on our Value systems, we can all choose to make very intentional decisions that align with what is true for us and our deepest knowing within – and may look different from other people’s choices.

      While our intuitions were leading us confidently down our path, someone else may choose – based on their own intuitions – to do things differently.

      The wonderful thing is that we can support everyone to do what is best for them personally without pushing our own personal Values upon them. Well said!

  13. Thank you so much, Mari! I know that if I can get here, after all I’ve overcome in my own past, that you can, too!! Taking it one day at a time, working with resources and guides that can help me see my blind spots, and a heaping loads of grace when I find myself acting from fear has been (and will continue to be) a lifelong journey. I wish the same for you!!

  14. JBC London

    Jess, I love and support you for the decision you and Mr Lively have made. How brave of you to share this all so publicly. My gift to you this Christmas is to let you know how inspirational you have been to me (and I believe so many others as well). You have a special light, Jess. May it continue to shine for a long time. And v selfishly, I hope you keep sharing it with us. xxx

  15. Kate

    Thank you Jess, I’ve very recently been through a break up and it helped to hear such positivity in your podcast today. Being kind to each other at this time is so important and you and Kathrine reaffirmed that. Looking forward to hearing how you’re doing over the next few months. Thanks again for sharing xx

    1. I’m sorry to hear you may be going through a difficult time right now – may this transition be filled with as much peace and love as possible. I wish you both the best in your new chapters!

  16. Le Genou de Claire

    I’ve came across your podcast only very recently and I admire and affirm your courage to live a life of your own values. For so many of us, it never occurs that conclusion to a marriage can be done in a conscious and mindful way. I applaud you and Mr. Lively for bravely taking on this difficult decision and new adventures. My best wishes to you both!

  17. Namrita

    Beautiful and moving and strong. I am reminded of a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert, which I cannot recall exactly but she writes something to the effect that some love stories are multi-volume stories, some are short stories, some are novels, etc.. The length does not detract from the beauty or wholeness of the story, or of the love. But I also really like how KWT frames this as transforming the nature of the love and the relationship, so that it doesn’t end, but just plays a different role and serves a different purpose. Love is energy and expansive — like all energy, it can be transformed and take different forms.

  18. Jennifer Gee

    Not everything can be positive. I think its okay to admit that. How tiring it must be to constantly force yourself into positivity. You’re young and you’re getting divorced. You messed up. It’s not good. That’s okay.

  19. Lindsey

    This was a difficult but eye-opening episode for me to listen to. I have viewed ending a marriage as a failure in the past, and it has long been a paralyzing fear for me. When I first heard what this episode was about, I could feel my entire body tense up and all I wanted to do was hit pause. I stuck with it though, and I’m so glad I did. Yours (and Katherine’s) were the first truly positive stories I’ve heard about this topic, that didn’t just gloss over panic attacks and fights while pretending that it was mutual. I love how you talked about telling people what kind of reaction you wanted- and I hope your friends + family can all be supportive of you during this time!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings on this subject and how the show has helped you connect with a new way of approaching this subject. : )

      It’s wonderful to know it may not feel quite as paralyzing of a fear around this – regardless of whether it’s something you will ever deal with in your own life. That’s incredibly liberating no matter what happens. : )

  20. Hailey

    Wow. I am speechless. This episode was such a shock because of the news of you and Mr. Lively, but at the same time is was a warm blanket of encouraging comfort, strength, and wisdom that we all need in our back pocket (break-up or not.) Katherine’s voice was so calming! My heart goes out to you. I’ve been listening to your podcast religiously since June and I feel like we’re friends! If I could give you a hug I would. The place you and Mr. Lively have come to together is beautiful and inspiring. And for you to be with someone who is willing to go through such a process with you (following these steps and writing that blog post) in the way you have described makes you a very lucky gal. I’m happy for you!

    1. Thank you so much, Hailey, for your lovely warmth and support! I appreciate your virtual hug and I agree- Katherine’s voice is so calming. : )

  21. Jessy

    Wow- thank you for sharing your story, Jess. I haven’t listened to the podcast yet -plan to do so TODAY on my drive home. I am so sorry to hear about the break up of your marriage, though it sounds like you all are approaching things with a lot of love and awareness-good for you! I am newly separated and on a FULL roller coaster of emotions so I am really looking forward to a fresh and POSITIVE perspective on what we are facing! it’s hard, but I know I’ll be OK! THANK YOU for sharing so much of yourself. You are an inspiration!

    1. Thank you, Jessy, for sharing where you’re at in your own journey with us. : )

      I hope that you are finding peace and new opportunities in your current phase of life right now. And if you ever feel some great perspective on this subject, I cannot suggest Katherine’s book enough!

  22. Bobbie

    Thank you for being brave! I can not explain how grateful I am for your show. I recently decided to complete my marriage and was looking for resources. I love the show but did not think I could relate to it at this time. I decided to check it out anyway and was so in awe after hearing your story. I followed my intuition with this choice and feel like the universe is providing amazing people and resources for me to connect with. I love the Conscious Uncoupling book you recommended as I have also been trying to make a peaceful end for us. A book that helped me is Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay, by Mira Kirshenbaum, if anyone out there is ambivalent. I am also enjoying Divine Intuition by Lynne Robinson. Thank you.

    1. This is so wonderful to hear, Bobbie! I feel for you and any waves of various emotions you may be feeling right now and I appreciate your book recommendations, too!!

      May this new path be filled with love from all sides and within. : )


  23. That’s wonderful to hear! I would definitely suggest reading Katherine’s book. That’s the main/only resource I’ve used personally in this journey, so I’m not sure what other books to direct you to. However, “Loving What Is” and “The Power of Now” have definitely helped me in more oblique ways as well. : )

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