Many people who are convinced they must leave their partner find themselves regretting that decision, so I wanted to share a new perspective to help.
When one person wants to leave a marriage, what are they really trying to achieve? For many people, they want to leave because they are genuinely suffering.
Their conclusion is they must leave to stop their suffering or leave to go to a better place. This is a natural and logical observation, but are they right?
The question they are not understanding is what has happened to help them to feel bad, is it really the other person and their marriage or is it something else?
The reality for many couples that come to see me is for them surprising.
One gentleman had interpreted his wife so badly he had made himself feel so bad when he was with her he had to leave her.
I asked him if he used to love his wife, he said: “yes she was the woman of his dreams but then over the years he felt she changed into something that he didn’t like.”
So your reaction to her in a bad emotional place helped you protect yourself from her and fall out of love?
“Yes I suppose,” he said
We expanded this so he could see what had really happened.
I asked him when she changed, what did that mean to you? He told me a fun-loving girl that used to laugh all his jokes became someone he could never make her happy, and this made life with her impossible.
“So you felt you were failing with her?”
“Yes,” he said
By discovering that she was no longer someone, he could influence positively, he realised he could never make her happy. This meant for him he could be in danger of not being loved or being enough for her.
“So because you loved her so much, her not loving you would be far too painful for you?”
He replied, “Yes, of course”.
So you’re not leaving her because you didn’t love her, you are leaving her because you did love her and you became afraid she wasn’t going to love you back and be happy with you?
He stopped and just stared at me. I said nothing.
His survival system then jumped in.
“But she said awful things all the time, and she was always angry/controlling with me.”
I helped him see that what sat behind her anger/controlling was fear, fear that it was you that didn’t love her.
She had hoped you would see her pain and look after her, and the more you protected yourself from her, the more afraid/angry/controlling she became.
She felt you were making her pain about you, and this upset her, you were not safe to be with but she loved you so she became lost.
I helped him understand that the reality was she was angry because she loved him not because she didn’t. If she didn’t love him, she would not say a word and would have simply left.
So the result was both of you had misunderstood each other and protected yourselves from each other.
Whenever this happens, one person will run out of emotional energy and want to leave.
You see the challenge from this couple wasn’t their love it was their total lack of understanding of their differences and how they approached problems so differently.
They were never on the same page, and this disconnect was planted in their marriage, and they grew it until it was out of control causing suffering.
Not one person said “what are we both not seeing” all they did was react badly to each other creating a proof of disconnect.
The result, they both focused on themselves and slowly killed a perfectly good relationship.
Fortunately, they were both bright enough to seek help that would educate them both to understand this better.
This is just one example of a couple misunderstanding their crisis.
What I ask my clients to consider is they cannot be safe in reacting to their feelings with life-changing decisions until they have understood the feelings and how they are creating them and why.
Remember reactive people (to their feelings) are out of control people so they must be guided to safety through understanding only then can they make a decision.
The alternative for many is they sit in being right about what they feel and they repeat their disfunction over and over in new relationships never experiencing true love and connection but blaming others for this situation.