About the author: Valerie Abitbol, LMFT, owner of Flow Counseling, PLLC received her Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University. She is a counselor and therapist in Denver, Colorado who specializes in couples and women dealing with major life transitions. We have re-posted an article from her blog here.
What Happened When You Stopped Fighting
Did you know that over 2/3 of divorces are initiated by women?
You’ve had it. It’s been months or even years that you have given up on the relationship and have been slowly preparing your exit. You’ve reached a state of status quo in the relationship; no real interactions, just a few words exchanged to deal with the logistics of living together.
At some point, you stopped complaining about the relationship. You’ve grieved on your own, while your partner didn’t have a clue. I know, it may seem hard to believe that your partner didn’t read the signs and realize you were checking out, and yet most of the time, that’s the case.
When you stopped fighting for, and about, the relationship, your partner took it as a sign that everything was OK again. It may sound shocking, but bear with me.
The Bomb and It’s After Effects
Maybe in the past couple of years you went back to school, got a job, or even met someone new. Whatever action you took, you found something that helped you cope with your pain, loneliness and hopelessness about the relationship. You found something or someone that helped you feel alive, valued, loved, and feel good about yourself.
And here you are, finally ready to end it and move on with your life. At this point, I’m not sure who’s in shock the most: your partner who thinks you just dropped a bomb and who feels completely blindsided; or you, for not believing that he didn’t see this ending coming, considering you had told him over and over how upset and unhappy you were (prior to reaching the “status quo” stage).
This bomb is a huge wake-up call for your partner, but for you it seems too late. Maybe it upsets you even more to see your partner making all these incredible efforts to salvage your relationship. Why now, when you’re already on the way out?
You don’t even want to believe that these efforts could make a difference. You may even think that he’s trying to manipulate you, that he sounds fake, and that as soon as you give in and agree to stay in the relationship, he will go back to be less caring, loving, and ignore you again.
You have every reason to doubt his good intentions. After all, you’ve had months or years of feeling lonely, unloved, unimportant, so why would you trust him?
Caution is definitely important, and I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to protect your heart and your overall wellbeing.
However, if you’re even the slightest bit open to the possibility of making your relationship work, here’s what you should know about men. [And granted that I’m generalizing here of course, and that at times the situation could be reversed.]
Considering the Possibilities
According to Michelle Weiner-Davis, “The Divorce Buster”, women tend to communicate better with words while men are more action-oriented. So when you keep using words to explain to your partner that you’re unhappy, that you want things to change, he can hear it up to a certain extend, but it doesn’t always fully sink in.
Now, when you decide to leave, ask for a divorce or move in with someone else, you’re in the realm of actions and that’s something men get a lot more easily. That’s when they really listen, and they are willing to DO anything to make it work. Whether it’s spending more time together, stop unhealthy habits, going to see a couples therapist, working less, retiring… you name it, the impossible becomes possible.
You see that your partner is really trying, but your fears and grief may get in the way of being open and giving the relationship another chance.
Of course, there is no guarantee it would even work. However, know that this is really typical and that your partner will often do the work to change, and that if you don’t give it a try, the next person he will meet will benefit from the change, which you will probably resent as well.
So you’re at a crossroad, but know it’s not too late for you to try to save your marriage or relationship – if you’re open to it.
Find some professional support to help you navigate this major transition, and process all the thoughts, beliefs and emotions that come along with it.
Since 1975, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University has continued to be an international leader and pioneer, moving humanity forward in the areas of transpersonal research and transpersonal education. training clinicians, spiritual guides, wellness caregivers, and consultants who apply transpersonal principles and values in a variety of settings. The Sofia educational model offers students not only a solid intellectual foundation, but an extraordinary opportunity for deep transformational growth and personal experience of the subject matter. How does Sofia University accomplish this? The university builds upon its strong, whole-person psychological foundation to give students a greater understanding of the human condition.