If a relationship problem has not been resolved in the way the person needs, it becomes an unresolved problem for that person.
If the person continues to experience problems in the relationship then the unresolved problems start to stack up.
If the stacking of the unresolved problems becomes bigger than the stacking of the pleasurable feelings, then a person will hit a tipping point. This point is where they stop contributing to the relationship in they way they would if they were happy.
This process then helps this person attach painful feelings to their partner instead of pleasure, this is potentially dangerous for the relationships survival.
So now this person will experience emotional pain when they are with their partner for as long as they hold onto the problems. So why would this person not just let go of the problems and put it all behind them?
This person will not let go of their problems because they need them to remind themselves that they have felt significant emotional pain and so they need to be wary of their partners behaviors in the future that could potentially hurt them emotionally.
This person is now on red alert for problems. On red alert this person will naturally shift their focus from fun, love and passion, to trust, security and significance.
This will give the perception that the person has changed personality.
When the person changes their focus to cope with a relationship that feels wrong the changes will turn a naturally loving person into a negatively focused one in that relationship.
This change helps the person to feel even worse because now they are in conflict with their identity and so what they believe in doesn’t match what they are actually doing.
So the result is this, my partner can give me pain emotionally and I have to be on guard to protect myself. Plus, to cope with this I feel like I have become someone I don’t like in my relationship and I can’t find a way to feel good so leaving must be the best option.
Is this you? Is this your partner? Together it is possible to fix this problem. I have seen couples do this for years before they seek help, usually when one person wants a divorce