Seal Is Grieving, in Shock After Heidi Klum Split

01/23/2012 AT 10:15 PM EST

Despite the pain from his split with Heidi Klum, Seal says he believes the pair can avoid a messy breakup.

"In terms of our love and respect for each other, it hasn't changed at all," he says in an interview airing Friday on Tavis Smiley on PBS. "And I think that when two people feel that way about each other, it is easy – it is easier to make that transition."

Seal adds that their children "are our first priority" and that the pair can still remain friends "especially when there are other things to take into consideration like family."

"What one has to do in this situation is remain civil and to retain one's dignity and to be professional and to understand that we are not the only people on this planet that go through this," he says. "It is just unfortunately a chapter of life."

Seal Is Grieving, in Shock After Heidi Klum Split| Divorced, Heidi Klum, Seal, Authors Class

Ellen DeGeneres and Seal

Michael Rozman / Warner Bros.

Making the publicity rounds Monday to promote his album Soul 2, Seal also taped an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he explained why he was still wearing his wedding ring.

"It's just pretty much a token of how I feel about this woman," he says on the show airing Wednesday. "We have eight years, eight wonderful years together. Just because we have decided to separate doesn't necessarily mean you take off your ring and you're no longer connected to that person. We will be connected in many ways 'til the rest of our lives."

As to whether he'll wear the ring for the rest of his life, he says, "Who knows?"

"But right now it feels really comfortable on my hand so I have no intentions of taking it off anytime soon," he says.

The separation, he tells DeGeneres, left him and Klum just as "shocked" as everybody. But he says the pair found that "you just grow apart after awhile."

"It's a shame," he says. "To say that neither of us were grieving would be an out-and-out lie."

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