Life does not stop after divorce, it begins anew!
I remember when I was in marriage counseling many years ago discussing the end of my marriage, it was one of the most difficult periods of my life. I had spent a lot of time contemplating divorce before I actually initiated it. I was the one who was filing because I was at the point of no return and just had enough. I couldn’t live the way we were living a second longer. At the time, my therapist told me a fact I had already known, that the majority of divorces were initiated by women. But interestingly, she also told me the number one reason she believed women initiated divorce more often: because the women felt alone in their marriage. The men were there, but were not present in their wives lives.
The men were either working many hours, golfing constantly on their time off from work, watching TV, or basically not paying them any attention or giving them much of their time. I am not saying that this is right or wrong or relegated to a problem only men are doing since many women do it too, but I do know that all people need to feel loved and if their partner is rarely around it can leave the person on the other end of that feeling cold.
When one of the spouses leaves the other out in the cold (man or woman) they leave their spouse with few choices: endure the loneliness, possibly have an affair, or leave the marriage.
Some marriage partners decide to cheat instead of leaving the marriage as a kind of testing ground to their attractiveness, since a disinterested spouse leaves the other spouse feeling insecure about themselves. According to M. Gary Neuman in his book The Truth About Cheating, both genders cheat primarily because of emotional dissatisfaction in the marriage. Well that certainly dispels the myth that for men, cheating is all about sex. At one time infidelity was a fear that women predominantly held regarding their marriages, but today cheating is nearly at equal footing between men and women.
Doesn’t it do your heart good to see women are catching up to men in that department?
With the rise of two-income families in the workplace, women have the same external pressures as men have always had, but the women still tends to do more within the family then their spouses, giving them even more stress. This may be one explanation as to why women cheaters are on the rise.
Let’s face it: when one of the spouses feels underappreciated, neglected, or ignored it is going to cause a problem between the marriage partners. Falling in love is easy; remaining in love isn’t always easy; sometimes it takes a bit of attention and effort. Some people equate effort with work and if there is one expression I despise that has become a mantra for many couples (and therapists) is -- “good relationships require work.” I believe that statement to be a misnomer. Relationships require time and attention, not work. When relationships, i.e. marriages, start becoming work, I believe that it is only a matter of time that it is nearing the end.
If you feed your partners soul by touching them when you are near them or listening to them when they speak instead of shushing and rushing them to finish a story, then they will feel your love. If you show your spouse that you appreciate them and they are an integral part of your life, they will want to spend time with you.
However, if partners assume their partner will always be there like a potted plant or the TV and does nothing to nurture the relationship, they should not be surprised one day that their partner took their focus and attention elsewhere.
Remember: Your presence and attention is truly required for the relationship to flourish.
So if you are in a relationship that you want to stay in, ask yourself if you give your partner the gift of your time and attention they need and deserve? If not, it’s not too late to start paying more attention to them and in return you will get it all back and more.
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