By Leila Levinson, LMSW
Though classic Disney movies and much of mainstream entertainment present the narrative that we fall in love and live happily ever after, marriage requires hard work. Every day we need to consciously intend to be respectful, compassionate, understanding and accommodating of our partner. We need to communicate clearly and calmly and invite dialogue.
So if all marriages require concerted effort, how do we know when it is time to call it quits, that no amount of work will gain the intimacy and mutual support desired?
One of the most significant indicators that the marriage is no longer being viable is when you don’t have any motivation or desire to work on it. But if you don’t, the first thing you need to do is explore the underlying reason you have no motivation. Is it possible you might be avoiding working on yourself? Conflict between partners is never the result of one person’s way of relating but a dynamic between both of your emotional makeups. Each person must be willing to let go of their defenses and be present with their emotions. This often times requires that each person work with a therapist to identify and alter old patterns that interfere with intimacy. Before you decide that your marriage is over because you have no energy to work on it, you must be willing to honestly look at yourself and ask if it’s work on yourself you’re wanting to avoid. If that is the case and you do not pursue the work, you risk encountering the same impasse in future relationships.
When your partner has persistently declined to do the work, given that you cannot make them, nor would you want to even if you could, then you might want to consider ending the marriage. Conflict will continue unless there is mutual commitment to working on the underlying causes of the conflict. The downfall of many marriages is focusing on winning arguments instead of focusing on progressing.
Sometimes the absence of motivation might appear more subtly. Perhaps you don’t fight. There’s no obvious conflict. But the two of you don’t spend time together. You continually choose to be with someone else or yourself rather than with your partner. Then there may not be a marriage to preserve. Sometimes we make the wrong choice of a partner, marrying out of fear of being alone. Eventually the co-habitation is no longer enough. It has lost its usefulness, and feels empty. Then choosing to end the marriage is not only doing what is right for you but what is right for your partner as well.
If you find yourself no longer feeling physically attracted to your partner, be careful not to assume it’s a sign you should leave your marriage. Physical attraction can be mercurial, waxing and waning. And it can also be a decoy for avoidance of working on one’s self. After all, there’s no better distraction than flirting with someone who doesn’t know us as well as our spouses do.
The post Signs of a Marriage Being Over appeared first on Just Mind.
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