“I thought we were happy. He had everything done for him. I took care of all the major responsibilities, at least. Next thing I know he walks in and tells me he is in love with someone else and wants a divorce. I am confused because we never fought.” She didn’t realize that she was telling me the major issues in her relationship that led to divorce. Lying to ourselves is the worst injustice.
First of all, she took care of everything. She released him from most of the household responsibilities from paying bills to transporting their children to important destinations. He felt useless. Secondly, she silently disallowed him the freedom of making his own choices by making executive decisions without consulting with him. The things that made him feel like a productive member of the family were slowly taken away from him. She fell into a pit of denial about their infrequent sex life citing “sex isn’t that important to us.” The big clincher was that they never fought. Instead of sharing in the hardships with healthy fighting and tandem examination of their lives, they swept marital issues under the rug letting them fester until he lived a completely different life outside of the life they built together. She expected him to fall into line with the routine they kept for many years, yet they were not proactive in fulfilling each other’s needs and their relationship died. They continued on carrying out their lives living with the dead carcass of their relationship stifling the last ounce of happiness they tried to muster.
When a relationship begins the process of dying, it is not always noticeable at first because the partners involved have so much invested in said relationship that they do not want to see the truth and choose to turn away from the inevitable. They look at the financial foundations, the car, the house, the kids, and use them as buffers to the unhappiness that they experience on a daily basis and as excuses to stay. They create a foundation of escapism through work and other time consuming activities until one day there are two strangers living as roommates. When the relationship finally takes its last breath there is always one person that is aware, and it is up to him/her to speak up and ask for what is best for both parties in the relationship. If not, they end up living with the toxic stench of a rotting relationship that eventually infects all they have created with the disease of decay.
Have you been living in denial about the status of your relationship? Is your relationship in critical condition? Has your relationship been on life support for too long? It is time to wake up and sign the Do Not Resuscitate form. It is never easy to look truthfully about the causes to why your relationship’s lifespan has come to an end but it is necessary. You have to look at your responsibility in the death of the good times and the distance caused by a lack of attention to the important interests and goals of your partner. When you both can admit to the pivotal moments in which you have not done your best, you will be able to facilitate healing, forgiveness and a learned lesson for a healthier relationship in the future.
One of the most important factors to remember if you are living with a dead relationship is that if you have children, you are teaching them how to be unhappy. When you allow your fear to keep you from making the healthiest decision, you are doing your children a disservice that will be a handicap for them in the development of their own relationships. Remember, your divorce is not just your own, it will have a ripple effect in the likely divorces of your children. If you need courage to begin the process of releasing yourself and your partner from your relationship, practice the exercise of visualizing. Imagine the relationship itself as an actual third person in your life. If the relationship has died, imagine a dead body on your living room floor. Would you really want to live with that? Living with an unhealthy relationship is just as preposterous.