Too many couples think no further than the honeymoon plans when contemplating marriage. They have no idea about the complexity behind real relationship issues and the maturity it takes to create a successful, long-term outcome.
Divorced couples learn through hindsight about the challenges two people face when living together week after week, month after month in today's stress-filled world. It takes awareness, flexibility, great communication skills and the ability to understand your partner's perspective to make a relationship work -- and that's just for routine life experiences. Throw in accidents, sickness, job loss and other major stressors, not to mention the complexities that come with having children, and it's easy to understand why so many marriages fail and too often end in divorce.
Here are six behaviors and attitudes that may indicate it's time to leave your marriage and move on. Before you give up, explore counseling, which can be quite effective if there's an honest desire to change within both partners. If not, therapy and other modalities just won't work simply because that spouse just doesn't want it to.
1. Lack of mutual respect: When one or both spouses stop respecting one another, the foundation of the marriage is torn apart and little can be done to mend it. This is the biggest cause of divorce and is usually behind all the other issues involved.
2. Excessive control or possessiveness: A healthy relationship partner supports you in having your own life, interests, and outside friends without feeling guilty or intimidated. Be wary of a spouse who wants to know who you talk to, where you go and how much money you spend daily.
3. Blaming others for problems or situations that go wrong: Spouses who won't take responsibility for their own actions and find fault with everybody else, especially you, create a climate ripe for divorce
4. Too self-absorbed or easily insulted: If you have to walk on egg shells because you are fearful or uncomfortable speaking your mind and if there is no regard for your comfort or concerns, you're with a spouse who only cares about him or herself.
5. Consistently critical: A spouse who is critical, degrading, nasty, argumentative or moody is emotionally abusive. They instill fear, insecurity and doubt in their partners and can destroy your self-esteem.
6. History of past physical abuse: A batterer usually will not change unless they've had some professional intervention. They make you feel unsafe and are intimidating or threatening with their behavior or language.
Before setting out in the relationship world, work on your inner demons, let go of the baggage from previous relationships and take your time in getting to know the special partner you are choosing. There's no magic wand that will make your relationship succeed, but avoiding these relationship mistakes will set you on a course that will circumvent a lot of potholes along the road to happily ever after.
A good marital relationship feels safe, supportive, nurturing and respectful. The healthiest intimate relationships are based on mutual love and respect. You and your partner need to be sharing, growing, compromising and working together so the relationship keeps blossoming. If not, know when to call it quits!
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Divorce and Relationship Coach and founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network for parents. She is also the author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce and co-author of 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60! and True Love At Last for Women Over 40: Answers You Need for the Relationship You Want! Her free ebook on Smart Dating Advice for Women Over 40: Answers to Your Most-Asked Questions is available at www.womendatingafter40.com.
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