Drifting Apart

drifting

Drifting Apart

It stuns you when you first realize that you and your sweetie, you seemed like the perfect couple, are drifting apart. Sometimes just as perfectly as you fell for each other, as if it were only natural an event like a natural disaster, an earth shattering union over which the two of you had no control. But just as powerfully so too can each party find forces pushing them apart, and these can occur just as naturally and as inexplicably.

Sometimes we end up in a comfortable relationship that has no future. This kind of relationship has dueling emotions inside you. On the one hand you have your life goals. On the other you love this person and perhaps fear being single again and facing a big, black who-knows-what. Sometimes the fear of the unknown makes us stay in an uncomfortable situation. But the problem with that is we die a little inside for we are born to seek out our dreams. Scientists have proven that parts of the brain showing good, sound judgment shutdown when we fall in love. As the relationship progresses more and more we get to learn about our partner and deal with their shortcomings, and our own.

Once you have that down, you think you’ve got it all figured out. And you’ll live happily ever after. Or not. More likely it will be like a series of hurtles you’ll have to jump over. You’ll dodge them and do okay. Once in a while you’ll have a victory to celebrate. At other times a defeat to mourn. But when people have different priorities or if their values change, as are natural to do over time you can find the couple naturally drifting apart. The question is how far is this drift going to go? Can you relate to one another anymore? Is there trust and respect? Can you build a deep bond of connection and intimacy despite these differences? Each couple has to decide for themselves. It takes a big conversation.

Some long term couples and married couples decide to live together despite their differences. They share what they can but each also enjoy their separate lives. Others seek out a partner who fulfills all of their needs. Then there are those who try to change their lover, or spurn them for not being the person they fell in love with to begin with. Instead, talk about it. Discuss the drift. See when it occurred and why it occurred. Figure out if it makes sense to stay together and share your life together or perhaps you’ve grown too different after all. For more advice read, Help! My Spouse and I Are Drifting Apart by Dr. Bill Maier and Mitch Temple.

Should You Stay with Someone Who Doesn’t Want to Get Married?

long term

Should You Stay with Someone Who Doesn’t Want to Get Married?

Sometimes you are at a point in a relationship where you are so in love, everything seems perfect. You and your partner have been together for quite some time and you are expecting things to progress. But when you broach the idea of marriage, the other person gets anxious or defensive. Perhaps they don’t believe in marriage. Maybe they’ve been down that road before. Or maybe you get a noncommittal “we’ll be married, someday” without a hard date to count on. If you are with someone who is eluding your efforts to get married, or just says they don’t believe in it, while you do, what do you do? You could hand them an ultimatum, either marry me or I will find someone who will. But that usually doesn’t end well. Should you stay with someone who doesn’t want to get married? That depends on a number of factors. First, are they against marriage in total or just marrying you? If the relationship is mutually beneficial, warm, open, loving and stable but marriage is against your partner’s personal philosophy then you can negotiate and come to some sort of compromise. If this person is just biding their time with you until someone better comes along then this person is not the one for you.

Another important thing to do is to search your feelings about marriage. Why is it that you feel as though you need to get married? For some, it has something to do with their culture or religion. Others are being pressured by a family member. It could be something you have always dreamed of. Or it might be because all of your friends have gotten married. Start to uncover what your real feelings are about getting married and why you feel that way. It will give you a better perspective on why it is so important to you and how to address the issue. If you just want to walk down the aisle, have a great reception and be the center of attention, think of the aftermath. You are supposed to spend decades of life with this person, living side-by-side. So you want to make sure your desire to get married is genuine. Then consider the person themselves. Is this who you really want to spend the rest of your life with? Do they love you? Are they supportive? What’s the communication situation like? How is the sex? If you were both thrown into a crisis situation together, would your relationship make it through? You don’t want to set yourself up for divorce.

Don’t just wait around for a proposal and brood. That will never make it happen. If you’ve still decided this person is right for you, discuss all the insights that you’ve come to with your partner. Don’t pressure them with an ultimatum. They will probably pull away from you. That won’t get you anywhere. Instead, slowly get your partner used to the notion. Introduce things subtly and make the idea seem like theirs. British psychologist Anjula Mutanda says to ask your partner, “If we were to get married, what would be your ideal way of doing it?” Agree with their answer and make it sound as if you are very impressed. Keep subtly moving things along like this and see if you get anywhere. If you want to take a more straightforward approach, sit them down in a comfortable place when you are both in a good mood. Make sure it is free of distractions. Compliment your partner and tell them what they’ve done right and what personality traits you adore about them. Tell them how close you feel to them and how much the relationship means to you. Let them know the reasons why you want to spend the rest of your life with them. Explain to them in a calm manner why marriage is so important to you and why you want that person to be them. Tell them you aren’t pressuring them or giving them an ultimatum. Let them know that you can make each other so happy. And then give them time to think about your thoughts and feelings and let the matter drop. Don’t blame. Don’t be defensive. Instead, use a positive, complimentary and romantic approach. If they still refuse to marry you, you’ll have to be ready to either move on or settle for not ever being married. But if they really love you and you were meant to be together, you two will find a way forward. For tips on being extremely persuasive in your quest read, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini.

What Exactly Is Cheating?

WHAT-IS-CHEATING

What Exactly Is Cheating?

One person’s cheating is another’s playing the field when it comes to dating. In a relationship things are more clear cut but there still may be some areas of ambiguity. Is having an office spouse cheating? What about emotional intimacy, can that exist outside the couple? What exactly is cheating? It turns out infidelity may be determined by your gender and age. In a recent poll 40% of men and 56% of women said that if their partner kissed someone other than them on the lips, it was cheating.

But as women got older the number that shared this opinion dropped. 75% of younger women ages 18-29 considered their partner locking lips with another cheating. 53% of women age 30-44 thought so. 38% of women 45-64 shared this same view, and for the 65 and over crowd, only 30% considered it cheating. For sending a sext, that is a sexy photo or text message to someone, 74% of men thought it was cheating, compared to the 80% of women who shared the same view.

When it came to developing a deep connection, women and men’s opinions were divergent. Only half of men considered this to be cheating compared to 70% of women. The participant’s age played a factor in whether or not forming a deep bond with someone was cheating. 52% ages 18-29 felt this way, compared with 69% of the 65+ respondents. Political persuasion played a factor as well. When polled about whether going to a strip joint was cheating, 19% of Democrats said so, compared to 35% of Republicans. 51% of Republicans said it wasn’t cheating while 86% of Dems agreed. What about reconnecting with an ex on Facebook, is this cheating? 21% of guys thought so, but 56% didn’t. For women, 26% thought it was cheating while 42% thought it wasn’t.

When it came to Facebook, a political bend played a factor as well. 19% of Democrats thought reconnecting with an ex was cheating, 51% didn’t. For Republicans, 29% considered it an infidelity while 44% thought it was okay.  Talk with your partner on what you consider cheating at your particular stage in the game. Have a conversation and establish some ground rules. If you aren’t exclusive realize what that means, and if you are outline what that means too. If you and your partner have experienced infidelity read, After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful by Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D.

Clues that He Won’t Ever Marry You

couple-disagreement

Clues that He Won’t Ever Marry You

Do you want to get married but you are stuck, wondering if your guy will ever pop the question? In more traditional times, after dating and courtship, a couple was expected to get married. There was a lot of social pressure to do so. And even though this lead to a lot of unhappy marriages and affairs, the upside was that people knew where a relationship was going and when it wasn’t going anywhere. Today, it’s unclear when a couple is or should get married. It’s their own business and no one else’s. Some people never want to get married. Others, it’s all they dream about. And some relationships are on the fast track to walk down the aisle, while other couples are stuck perpetually in neutral.

If you have always wanted to get married to that one special person, but you can’t tell if your man is going to pop the question or keep you guessing forever, here are some clues that he won’t ever marry you. Check and see if your relationship fits this situation. The first clue is, what does your man place value on? Are you his top priority? If he treats you as the second or even third most important thing on his list, he may not be on track to marry you. What about the future? Have you discussed it? Any couples who are serious about being together discuss the future. Has he ever mentioned getting married or marrying you? If spending their life with someone is something they’ve dreamed about, you may be proposed to. He may just be extra careful, making sure it’s right before he makes a move he can’t easily back out of.

What is the situation with his parents? Did they go through a contentious divorce that has placed some negative feelings about marriage deep in his psyche? If so, this is something that has to be overcome. But you may have to help him work through his trauma. If it’s particularly bad he may be resistant. You will have to decide if your guy is worth it. On the other hand, if his parents have a great marriage, he just may be particular and he wants to pick someone who he believes will give him the same experience. Therefore, he’s taking his time and being careful. The same is true for a religious guy who wants to get married only once, as his faith prescribes.

Does he accept your flaws? If he is always making rude, snide or offhanded comments, he probably doesn’t. In a marriage, both people have to accept one another for who they are, including their faults. Shortcomings should be accepted, made arrangements for, or mitigated.  But if he can’t accept your faults it means that he isn’t thinking about marrying you. And you shouldn’t be marrying someone who doesn’t anyway. Does he sacrifice for you? If he didn’t go out of his way to win your heart and he doesn’t go out of his way once in a while for you, he isn’t interested in marrying you. Does he have any married friends? Guys with only single friends are less inclined to get married and visa-versa. If he says he doesn’t believe in marriage, believe him. And don’t hang around hoping he will change his mind. Instead, find someone who does. For more advice read, Getting Him to Propose: How to Make Your Boyfriend Want to Commit to You for Life by Chase Scott.

At What Point Should Marital Problems Lead to Divorce?

MARRIAGE-PROBLEMS

At What Point Should Marital Problems Lead to Divorce?

Anyone who has gone through a divorce will tell you how painful and draining the process is, financially, physically and emotionally. Lots of people are staying permanently separated today to avoid such pain. Others find it a reason to reinvest in their marriage. Many people believe you should give a marriage every possible chance before divorcing. Others believe that if marriage isn’t giving you fulfillment or happiness why stay married? Though we all have to deal with the practicalities of our situations in life, considering our financial and emotional well-being in terms of a divorce, and of course not every divorce is contentious.

That said, at what point should marital problems lead to divorce? That is a different line for every couple, considering their reasons for divorcing, their financial and emotional reserves, how antagonistic the relationship is and so on. If there is still love there but the spark is dead, there are ways to reignite it. If there is a lack of communication, it can be resolved. But there are certain issues that cannot. Long conversations, marriage counseling, even a trial separation can work wonders. But if one of these issues creeps in, divorce is a better option.

Is your spouse abusive to the children, you or themselves? If this is the case, divorce is a far better option. Abuse can never be tolerated. This sort of household dynamic is toxic for everyone and cannot be resolved. Get out immediately. If neither one of you feel you want to be in the marriage anymore, that it doesn’t fulfill either one of you in any way, and you are just going through the motions for some sense of duty, get out. The truth is you can’t fake marriage. And if it has no flavor for you or your spouse it’s just going to wear on you until it becomes toxic. If there is nothing to reinvest in, simply move on.

As we grow older we change. We get a different set of wants, needs, values and desires. But if our spouse is unable to accommodate something that is very important to us, and we are unwilling to accommodate one of their needs, divorce may be the only answer. Another marriage ender is a total lack of respect for one another. If you two exchange a half dozen barbs before breakfast, this marriage is suffering from irreconcilable differences. The level of antagonism has reached the level of toxicity. There is no saving the patient. Lastly, if you don’t agree on whether to have children or not, this is definitely a deal breaker. One or another of you will regret and blame the other. Instead, find someone you are compatible with who shares your outlook on children. For more advice read, Before You Throw in the Towel: Twelve Things You Should Consider Before Filing for Divorce by Bob Moorehead.