Imagine this – I receive a call or email from someone, distraught and upset because their partner has told them they want to leave, they have just had enough.
The person calling me is shocked, they had no idea there was anything wrong. As far as they are concerned everything was ok. They spend time talking to me trying to make sense of what has gone wrong. It can’t possibly be the relationship that’s not working, and they are in complete denial. There must be another reason.
They blame their partner’s friends. It has to be because their partner’s friends are single, divorced, separated. They must have had their heads filled with ideas that they can have a better life if they are single.
They blame their partner’s new job. The children have become more independent and don’t need such intense attention, so mum find she can take a job that takes her away from the family, and that fills her head with ideas.
They blame their partner’s current job. It’s stressful, and their partner works long hours, perhaps being a workaholic.
They blame their partner for having an affair. The breakdown is all down to their partner cheating.
They blame it on the children. Their partner puts the children before them, and they feel neglected.
Rarely during this conversation do I hear the person calling me, taking any responsibility for the breakdown of the relationship. My experience over the years is that the underlying issues relate to the relationship being neglected. The relationship is troubled and the other issues are symptoms of that.
Of course, relationships go through sticky patches, there are few relationships that sail through unscathed. However, if a relationship is struggling the couple needs to sit down and talk about the issues – and as a partnership, work through them.
It’s so easy to blame outside influences instead of looking at the relationship and finding out what is going wrong.
When I hear the other side of the story, I discover that this other person has been trying to explain their frustrations – but it has fallen on deaf ears. They have felt dismissed, their concerns minimised, and so they have looked outside of the relationship to get their needs met.
By the time they seek help and support from me, matters have gone so far down the line that it’s almost impossible to repair. One or other of the partner’s has lost interest completely and has made up their mind they want to leave.
The best relationship advice I can give is to listen to each other when things start going awry, and talking things through, working it through together. Or seek help from a professional such as myself – it can make a real difference to making a happy healthy relationship.
Instead, they turn to me, as the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ – a last ditch attempt to try and save fix their relationship. But too often, things have gone past the point of no return.
Early intervention is much more likely to achieve positive results
Working on the issues before the rot sets in is much more likely get the relationship back on track. So if things are not going well, don’t be an ostrich, face the problems, sit down and listen to each other, and then work together as a team to find ways to take your relationship from Surviving to Thriving.
In my recently published book, I address many of the issues couples face during their relationship. Here is the link to obtain your copy. http://amzn.to/2h5F2iQ