If you have ever seen Gone with the Wind, then you know that when Rhett Butler says the infamous line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” to Scarlett O’Hara, he has crossed the line of giving a shit about her anymore. Unfortunately, this sentiment is shared by the many people that file for divorce. The once treasured relationship has gone south permanently, and one or both of the spouses cannot see their way out other than divorce.
As in Rhett Butler’s case, Scarlett kept mistreating him, believing she loved someone else, to the point of no return. And, when she finally realized she did love Rhett, it was too late for him. He had given up hope and was tired of her childish antics. For some, like Scarlett, they cannot see how good they have it while they have it, or believe the grass is greener elsewhere, only to realize too late that it’s not.
We have all had those relationships where we are putting in much more than our 50% share, while our spouse is barely at 10%. However, in good relationships it evens out and can oftentimes be overlooked if we are aware that our spouse is dealing with a lot. Conversely, there are those relationships that are built on one of the spouses doing the majority of the relationship work and that gets tiring even for those that are self-less.
Perhaps you can identify with Rhett and have had it up to you neck with your partner. Or, maybe you can identify with Scarlett. Have you or your partner given up on your marriage or relationship but don’t know it?
Here are 10 signs to look out for.
1. Eye rolling. How many times have you caught yourself or your partner rolling their eyes? It’s a sign you do not take your partner or their suggestions seriously. Your partner may even laugh about it initially, but eventually, the eye rolling will become bigger than the Black Hole. Experts agree that this seemingly innocuous pastime is a sign of things to come.
2. Taking each other for granted. According to a 2013 poll in the Daily Mail, couples start taking each other for granted three and a half years into their marriage. Once the honeymoon period is over, many couples often let bad habits take over, and forget to go the extra mile to make each other happy. Spending time with friends takes on a renewed interest, less kissing, cuddling, and hand holding, less spontaneous gifts bought, slacking on chores, dressing down more often than not, and less sweet phones calls and texts just to say hello. These are some of the most common signs of a relationship failing.
3. There’s always tension between the two of you. Are people stressed when they are with you and your spouse because the two of you get over-emotional, defensive or aggressive and switch tones from friendly to adversarial in a nano-second? This not a good sign, not to mention you will be kicked off the invitee list for future events.
4. Avoiding conflict and avoiding resolutions. Sometimes, it’s easier to overlook a few differences rather than pick a fight over it. But if you find yourself grumbling or eye rolling to yourself about something, be it the dirty sink or the clothes lying around, but you still avoid talking about it to your partner, it’ll do more damage than good. The rage and resentment that accumulates inside you would start to distance you from your partner.
5. You’re always arguing. In a relationship, a certain amount of arguing is normal. Arguing all the time is NOT normal. If you’re always in a state of conflict, that’s NOT a healthy way of relating to another person, especially someone you live with. If the arguments start increasing in frequency and you cannot reach a middle ground, then you are clearly on a path of falling apart.
6. Loss of trust and respect. Respect for each other is crucial in a relationship. If you don’t respect your spouse, s/he will start to shy away from giving suggestions or even playing a part in the functioning of the relationship which will then lead to checking up on each other. When trust and respect start to wane in one area, it can become open game in all others. This is usually when a spouse will begin to spy on their spouse. It may start with checking email, then progress to their cell phone calls, text messages, social media, suit jackets, pant pockets, pocketbooks, and on and on. All this does is deepen the fragility of the relationship. If you want to know something, just ask. You may not get an honest answer, but at least you are not stooping to snooping. Blanket trust should be an essential in relationships and if you do not trust your spouse it is usually a signal that help is needed in the relationship.
7. Silence. Talk may be cheap and silence may be golden, but not in a relationship. Communication helps you both open your minds and assists in creating a strong bond. But if you spend you nights watching television together and not talking, but yet you both manage to keep tabs on all your social media accounts, this lack of communication will disconnect you further from each other. And soon enough, both of you won’t have anything to share with each other because your minds and ideas are so far apart.
8. Sex, or lack thereof. One recurrent theme you will likely read about from many divorced couples is how they became nothing more than roommates over time. Sex was either an occasional thing or nonexistent for years. Both of those scenarios do not bode well for the longevity of a marriage since sexless marriages tend to disintegrate any chance for love to continue.
9. You’re always wondering whether you should be with this person. Like Scarlett, if you’re always thinking of what could have been with someone else or thinking about leaving on a regular basis then you should leave. That behavior is just torturous to the other person.
10. You feel dread when they are near. If you or your partner withdraws when you are near each other, that is a terrible sign. If you look at your spouse with hatred and disdain, and find everything about him or her repulsive, this would be a clear-cut sign that you are not just falling apart, but like Rhett, you frankly don’t give a damn anymore. And, that is a clear-cut sign it’s time to leave.
Throughout most of my adult life I have kept a journal. My journal knows my long-held desires, dreams, and secrets. My journal holds fast to the promise that I will not be exposed unless of course someone comes along and reads it. My journal has kept me sane!
During the best and worst of times, before and after divorce, I have written my heart out and it has truly helped me. During my marriage I wrote often and it was a life saver of sorts since it helped me re-trace events, see negative patterns in the relationship, and help me realize I had to get out.
Many people treat journaling as something they think they ought do, but rarely take the time to implement it. But, keeping a journal has many positive benefits.
It can help with your own personal growth and development, since you have the ability to look back and gain insight into your moods and behaviors over time.
It helps with stress-reduction and problem-solving since there are times we do not know what is going on within us, and only through the passage of time do we see our way through it.
Writing can do wonders for your health. Beyond keeping your creative juices flowing, regular writing can give you a safe, cathartic release valve for the stresses of your daily life. Not only does regular writing make you feel good, it helps you re-live the events you experienced in a safe environment where you can process them without fear or stress.
Writing in a journal is effective in the healing process as well, whether it’s a relationship or grief. Oftentimes we hold our emotions in and when we write our thoughts down it helps to free our mind of the clutter. Reading back entries has helped me reflect on where I was and see how far I have grown.
Writing about the ups and downs of your daily life can help you gain perspective on your experiences and find lessons in them. Keeping a journal is a constant and clear way to remind yourself that YOU are the author of your own life story.
The simple act of writing a few words, sentences, or paragraphs everyday can have a profound and instant effect on your life for the better. Journaling can change your life and make you more interested and interesting through the years. You do not have to be a “writer” to keep a journal, but you do have to be totally honest if it is going to actually help you. Write without abandon. As you get more practice at it you will hopefully write freely without any encumbrances or worry of someone reading it.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
--I personally love the feeling of physically writing down my thoughts in a journal notebook. When you are writing your innermost thoughts, putting pen to paper is the most natural way of doing so. I think it is more hack proof as well, as long as you hide it well or keep it with you.
--You can start with a simple, short bio of your life as to where you are now, your relationships, family, work, etc. Are you where you want to be? Are you happy? Are there things about your life you want to change?
--Another great way to start writing is in a “stream of consciousness.” Write for a few minutes your thoughts or feelings of the moment, or pick an issue you are dealing with. Remember to write without editing or censoring your thoughts.
--You can write about events or ideas that have impacted you.
--You can write about the goals you have. Not the daily to-do list, but long-term goals and dreams for your future. This is a beneficial tool to help you review your goals and objectives and to see if you are on the right path to achieving them.
--Write about the moments of joy you have. The little hugs from your children or spouse, the little surprise someone did for you out of the blue or the fabulous vacation you went on. These joyful moments can be forgotten about when you are in turmoil, so it is a great way to document your life.
--Another beneficial writing tool is to write about, or keep in the back of your journal a list of things and people you appreciate. It helps in cultivating an attitude of gratitude and it a great daily read to give you a boost of appreciation for all you do have. When we focus on what we love about our life we help to receive more of the positive in our life.
The benefits of journaling are different for each of us, but for all of us it does serve as a document of our life. Trust me, while you may think that you’ll be able to remember everything just as clearly in the future, you won’t. Remember when you were a kid and you thought your experiences would be easily recalled at age 30? Now what do you remember from those days besides a fight you may have had with a classmate?
As each year passes, the images of our memories burn out and the fog sets in. By age 80, you’ll only remember the faintest outlines of the big things that happened to you. But the stuff that’s really interesting is often the little, seemingly mundane details of life that we always want to remember.
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