It is a common predicament shared by many. We find ourselves in a relationship with a partner that (we thought) met our initial need and then over time, poor communication, arguments, disagreements, lack of trust, and lack of common goals eat away at the love first experienced, and the feelings of love begin to fade. At which time, we are faced with monumental decisions to salvage a potentially destructive relationship or move on.
Early on in a relationship, differences in opinion and irritations are more easily overlooked. We tend to be more forgiving. There has been less opportunity for experiencing hurtful behavior. Perhaps we also think that in time, our partners will grow to appreciate us, become more like us, or simply we love and therefore willingly acquiesce to appease. We wear rose colored glasses. Compromising ourselves, our values, or our goals doesn’t appear to be at any loss.
As time goes on, the lenses clear. Unkind words cannot be forgotten. Personal trespasses are not forgiven. All of the burdens associated with compromising, become heavy and our perceptions change. What we willingly gave before begins to seem as though it is being taken from us. Simple annoyances compound and we begin to question the relationship itself. Is this all there is? Is this where I want to be? Is this who I want to be with? Can I become the person I want to be while being with this partner?
Most of us are hard wired to only believe it is okay to give up on a relationship if there is physical violence, emotional abuse, or infidelity involved, especially when children are involved. While I don’t believe you should rely on your partner to ‘complete’ you, is it not enough to call it all off when you learn that your partner doesn’t want to experience life in the same way you do and is unwilling to change? Life is so very short, and we are only given one life to live.
There is the aspect of being selfish because you are not getting what you want out of life, but if you fall out of love and your partner doesn’t want you to leave, is it fair to your partner to live out their lives without mutual love if you stay?
It would be lovely if divorce wasn’t a part of life, but it is. When you find yourself in the aforementioned predicament, what do you do?
If you think there is hope and both of you, I repeat, BOTH of you are willing to commit to it, therapy and couples counseling can be a very powerful tool. Oftentimes, problems are caused by miscommunication, which counseling can help with. Counseling cannot force you to accept change. Counseling cannot promise change. If BOTH of you are not willing to devote 100 percent of yourselves to rebuilding the relationship, you will be wasting your time. One person cannot save a relationship. It takes all parties involved.
If you decide to move on with your life and leave your relationship behind, you need to be prepared to accept the consequences of your decision. If you have children, you may be dealing with your partner in some capacity for several years if not, the rest of your life. You will also have the responsibility to help your children cope. Unfortunately, some exes are more pleasant than others.
Whatever your choice, don’t be your worst enemy by living in the past, beating yourself up, wallowing in guilt and self pity. Own your decision, forgive yourself, and look forward to each day as a new opportunity for living life. Being human means we all make mistakes. It is up to us to learn from them and make opportunities from them.