Here are a few things to do to make an informed decision about ending a marriage. First put the focus on yourself, not your partner. Ask yourself some, if not all, of the following before making this difficult move:
What is my partner up against living with me?
Which of my behaviors triggers my partner’s worst behaviors?
How do I contribute to the stress in our relationship and family? Could that stress be impacting his or her increased drinking or acting out or shutting down or distancing?
How do I manage anxiety in the relationship? Do I blame, distance, get more overbearing, deflect? Do these ways of managing anxiety actually increase it and cause negative reactions in response?
Am I reactive or responsive to problems? How good am I at resolving them? Do I spend more time reacting and proving that I am right than trying to make things work better?
What role do I play in the family and in our relationship? How does this role impact what my mate experiences. Have I taken on the role of being responsible for everyone’s functioning – could that role make my mate feel disempowered? Does he/she then try to control things so he/ she can feel more empowered?
What do I expect from a relationship? Are my expectations reasonable and realistic? Do I expect a marriage to make me feel good or happy or cared for always? When I am not happy do I blame the marriage or my mate? What am I expecting of another person? Am I expecting my mate to be my parent or a savior rather than an equal adult partner?
Do I expect my mate to be joined at my hip always. Do I expect that he or she should always,” be there for me”, “be like me”, “think like me”, think and act the way I think he should or the way I would?” Am I a “one truth thinker”? When he doesn’t act, think, behave the way I feel most comfortable do I feel betrayed - as if he hasn’t been loyal to me? Do I feel threatened when he or she asserts his own independence or individuality? Could this contribute to his/her desire to stay late at work, hide behind his newspaper or alcohol or spend more time with the kids or friends than with me?
Do I align more with the kids or my parents leaving my mate feeling like the outsider in the relationship. Does this lend itself to his or her depression or need to overly pursue me? Do I then get turned off by his neediness? Could it impact why he dislikes my parents so much or is always yelling at the kids?
Do I always accommodate others or try to appease so things stay calm. Does that make me feel resentful or under valued? Do I then blame others for not appreciating me?
Am I influential in getting what I need or do I come across demanding and entitled and wonder why my mate won’t give me what I want in the relationship? Am I constantly on his/her case to change rather than clearly letting my mate know, with no uncertainty, what I can and can’t live with – what my bottom lines are for myself.
By Debbie Pincus, LMHC
Debbie is trained in Gestalt and Family Systems therapy. She is a parent and marriage coach and specializes in relationship counseling. She is the author of seven books on interpersonal relations as well as the writer of the CD series and book entitled, “Calm Parent, AM & PM.” She writes monthly online articles for Empowering Parents. Ms. Pincus facilitates parents and divorce groups and sees individuals and couples for therapy and parent/marriage coaching in Manhattan, Larchmont Greenwich, CT.
Please contact her at:
Phone: (914) 834-4965
Web Site: www.debbiepincus.com