In Part One we noted that we have lost the ability to compromise and accommodate each other in our relationships and are no longer prepared to work at our relationships. Here are more key signs of the possibility of impending divorce in the later years of a relationship.
A mid-life crisis can be a major event with far reaching consequences. Some people experience the need to redefine their life and move off a tangent to travel the world and find their true self. In itself it’s not a bad idea. But it will put a severe strain on any relationship and a breakup is often the result of a mid-life crisis, whether it’s trekking in the Himalayas or taking life classes at the local art college.
Like any other crisis in a relationship it needs to be discussed and for the partners to understand each other’s needs. No relationship can be all about one person. If the needs of one swamp the needs of the other then the relationship is doomed. Both partners need to agree on an outcome in which neither partner gets what they want but both can agree that it is fair and equitable. It’s not easy but it’s the only way.
After many years of marriage the world will have changed. It is now a totally different place. Your life goals may have changed as well. The idealised goals of youth can often be shattered by the realities of a long marriage. The younger the couple when they get married the more likely that a conflict of future aspirations will occur.
If you feel you are moving apart then speak to each other about it. Very often the problem is really about rejection. There is no real problem with a partner wanting to follow pursuits outside the marriage. However, the excluded partner can feel rejected and that’s a major difficulty which needs to be tackled head on.
It must be accommodated within your relationship. Each partner must feel at ease with their partners need for some ‘me’ stuff. You don’t have to be doing the same things all the time. It works and can in the process improve the whole marriage.
Zest for Life
As couples get older (it happens to everyone!) one sometimes loses his/her zest for life. This is not unusual or unexpected and shows that the marriage needs to be revitalised and reenergised. New interests and enthusiasms should be sought to give back the excitement that has faded from the marriage. Heading for the exit because you are bored is no answer. Why would the trauma of a breakup be a better answer than working to renew the relationship and make it work again?
The Wrong Reasons
It is not uncommon for couples to have married for the wrong reasons. A long time ago what seemed to be love, trust and respect was in fact a heady brew of something else. Lust and the fear loneliness or economic advantage is not a good foundation for a strong, loving and resilient relationship.
Often a couple will stay with each other out of codependency or convenience. Then one day one of the couple wakes up and realises that the relationship is based upon reasons/ideas that are no longer hold good. If that happens and the whole basis for the marriage is no longer there then divorce may be the only way to go. If you have to go this way then do it right.
There are so many ways that divorce can creep up upon you. If you know about them then you can watch for them and have the time and the knowledge to take steps to avoid them. A bad marriage is not good, but it’s also not good to let a bad marriage become a traumatic divorce.