What do you do when a spouse is convinced the marriage is over? Unfortunately for many couples, they are unaware of how much havoc their minds can play with their thoughts as they struggle to make sense of their marital crisis.
So I thought it worthwhile to expand this topic to help you either avoid this or take action if divorce is on your mind.
I see a good volume of couples that have split up prior to seeing me and months/years later come to my session needing help to understand what happened and how can they ensure it doesn’t happen again.
When we experience relationship problems, of course, our feelings are real, but the meanings we put to them are not going to be as factual as we might think. A study was conducted and it revealed that at least 50% of people that chose to divorce regretted that decision once the dust had settled.
You can bet before their divorce they were 100% convinced this was the right decision.
I remember a couple in a session 3 years ago, she was hell-bent on leaving her husband, they had a two-year-old son.
She was shut down and totally detached emotionally. She said she had no feelings for him whatsoever and they were over.
I was not convinced she was doing the right thing and told her so, but she was on a mission to leave.
Three months after she left him she called an emergency session with me and flew 1000s of miles to spend a day with me. She wanted to know why she had wanted a divorce so passionately and why did she feel so different today?
She had a new brief for me: She wanted me to help her win her husband back.
This turned out to be impossible for her because although he never wanted the divorce he had quickly moved on to what turned out to be his new wife.
She was totally devastated and spent weeks with me getting over her decision.
This was a very sad story, many people are so unaware that their relationship can create such powerful feelings that can confuse their ability to make a decision that’s good for them.
Some people are divorcing their partner only to discover they experience similar problems in the next relationship.
Individuals come to sessions after multiple relationship failures communicating that they can now see the problem was not their partners or their relationships it was actually them.
In the severest of cases as a person moves towards divorce, the individual can seem to rewrite their history to be bad right from the start and be reluctant to even seek help because what they feel represents their new truth.
What they feel and have been feeling for a while has not helped them feel good and so they have attached that feeling to their relationship, but this assumption will always be an oversimplification.
They will, of course, have an answer for every challenge, turn any fact into more of a reason to leave and even be happy to make it all their fault, but this doesn’t make what they are saying true, but it will feel true to them.
One of the many challenges: The person who is feeling bad is usually unaware they are the one creating their own feelings and so the question that is left unanswered is what feelings are being created and what is really causing them?
What most people discover is what they think is not going to be their truth.
So if a person is shutting down emotionally in their relationship this needs to be expanded so they can learn if the relationship is really dying or is the person’s thinking is part of the problem.
What I usually find is both peoples thinking has been the problem and this is due to a catalogue of misunderstandings leading the couple to disconnect.
In my position, I know full well how much couples need to know if they are going to have a relationship for life. Sadly many don’t know what information they are missing and in the end, become too seduced by their reactive feelings.
One of the typical focuses is to keep all the wrongs they have experience alive in their mind. A person who feels wronged and keeps focused on those wrongs will eventually make a decision to detach and at that moment it’s only a matter of time till they feel so numb they now feel safe to leave the marriage.
If couples took a moment to explore their relationship and their own behaviours what many will discover is where they are is where they should be based on how they have reacted to each other.
Usually what’s at fault is the couples’ lack of knowledge of what has to really happen if they are going to keep a marriage alive for life.
Getting a divorce is a big decision and for many a big gamble and sadly they are not aware they are taking it. All they are focused on is getting out and feeling good again. Divorcing has lasting consequences not just for the couple, but also for their children not forgetting the extended families. So when they do get out of the marriage feeling good can be a short-lived relief followed by the real truth that any divorce will bring.