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My Marriage is Falling Apart

Someone once said, “The day you wake up, look at your partner, and think ‘I’ve been swindled, this isn’t the same person I married’ is the first day of your real marriage.” That’s a tough pill to swallow. NEWS FLASH: marriage isn’t easy and takes deliberate and intentional work to thrive. ALSO NEWS FLASH: people change! And thank goodness they do. Being married to the exact same version of your partner from 10 years ago would be frustrating! Now, I know you are thinking maybe it wouldn’t be. I used to love the way he would make me laugh and his carefree attitude. Now he’s just annoying and irresponsible. Interesting how those are two very different perspectives on the same exact traits isn’t it?

Often in relationships, when our needs aren’t being met, we begin to get resentful. This frustration, resentment, and anger colors the way we view our partner and regular interactions we have with them. We put on negative lenses and begin to see everything with those lenses on. This further validates our view that things are just getting worse. And maybe they are. Those negative lenses certainly aren’t helping though. Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “I’ve tried to make it work.” “My partner just isn’t responding.” Here’s a few suggestions to consider before throwing in the towel on your relationship.

  1. Dare to rock the boat: Communicate your dissatisfaction with your relationship.

  2. Go after what you want.

  3. Seek counseling support.

First, daring to rock the boat. Does your partner know you are unhappy about things? I mean, does your partner really know what you wish were different about your relationship? Daring to rock the boat means you are willing to share those things, regardless of where they may lead. Another thing to consider that will get the message across loud and clear is to set limits. This can be a gradual thing. Start with not acting happy. Quit putting on the face that everything is fine. If that doesn’t work, then escalate your showing of dissatisfaction. This could look like not attending events with your partner, no longer doing things for them, explicitly withdrawing affection, separating, and ultimately leaving the relationship.

Second, going after what you want means just that. Tell your partner what you want from them. Be concrete and specific. Be careful though. One trap people, especially women, fall into is discounting their partner doing things for them that they have asked for. The truth is your partner is not a mind reader. Additionally, just because you’ve asked your partner for something does not negate that they can authentically and genuinely give it to you because they love you. Taking things one step further, ask your partner how you can support them in their pursuit to give you what you are asking for. For example, if physical touch is important for you, then tell your partner exactly what kinds of physical touch you enjoy and when. Then ask them how you can help them give you that physical touch.

Third, if you haven’t already done so, seek some relationship counseling. Seeing a therapist will allow you and your partner to identify your dance steps, the ones that get you both triggered and annoyed with each other. Therapy will also help you learn new dance steps that will improve how you and your partner move together in relationship. A therapist can act as a moderator during this process. A good therapist will take sides from time-to-time to help rebalance the relationship when necessary.

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