Rough patches are inevitable in any relationship. They may vary in degree and severity, but no couple can say that they haven’t hit a rough patch in their relationship. And couples who are invested in their relationship go to counseling to try to save their marriage. However, even therapy can’t do much when the couples refuse to address the huge elephant in the room, and allow their problems to fester.
Not all rough patches require therapy; most marriages have the capacity to bounce back from bouts of unhappiness, poor or null communication, and of course, conflict. However, the problem compounds when these issues are left unresolved for longer periods of time, that eventually lead to resentment and dissatisfaction.
Suggested read: 11 simple tips on how to show appreciation to your partner
Here are some common reasons given by couples for leaving a marriage. [This is in no way a comprehensive list, but if it helps identify some of the issues you’re facing personally, then our work is done!]
1. Feeling unappreciated
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Who doesn’t like to feel appreciated and applauded for a job well done? If you’re saying no, then you’re lying to yourself and your partner. This is a major problem in most marriages. Couples forget to appreciate all that their partner does for them, as time goes by. In fact, they start to take their partner for granted, which when goes unresolved, has the potential to break many a strong relationship.
Also, appreciation doesn’t always mean a pat on the back, but it can take on subtle yet loving ways too. A heartfelt thank you when your partner does something nice for you, like wash the dishes when you’re pooped after a long day at work, or cooking them a meal to show them how much you appreciate and love what they do for you on a daily basis. These might sound simple and/or trivial, but they’re anything but.
2. Differing spending habits
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This is one of those issues that is best discussed and explored early on in the relationship. You’re both from different backgrounds, and have been raised differently. Naturally, your spending habits also might be different.
While you’re not exactly a penny pincher, you tend to think through before making any large spends. You’re more of a ‘save for a rainy day’ kind of person, with an eye on the future. On the other hand, your spouse could be of the philosophy that you only live once, so spend it all today, because you don’t know what tomorrow holds.
Another aspect to consider here is the ego that comes when the wife is the higher earner than the husband. Not all husbands are okay with this; they might not entirely to be blamed, for patriarchy and the vestigial caveman genes tend to make the husband think that they should be the one who puts food on the table. Of course, in this day and age, this thinking needs to be let go of, and fast!
3. No mutual respect
Respect is one of the cornerstones of any relationship, including marriage. So if there’s a decided lack of respect in the way your partner treats and deals with you, then the very foundation of the marriage is torn apart. This is very hard to mend. In fact, this is one of the biggest causes of divorce and can be seen underscoring all other issues that crop up in the marriage.
Mutual respect comes right next to love in a relationship. Where there is no respect, it’s hard to believe that love even exists. You need to see within yourself as to the cause of this lack of respect, and address it.
Suggested read: 8 unspoken rules in a relationship that no one told you about
4. Cheating happened
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Infidelity is one of the biggest reasons that makes a couple consider leaving a marriage. What could ever justify cheating? Even if there were problems in the relationship, is infidelity ever the answer?
It could be chalked up to an incident borne of a lapse of judgment, or a case of opportunistic cheating, or even a desire to rekindle an old flame. Whatever the reason for the incidence of cheating, it could easily cause the breakdown of a once-healthy marriage.
5. Growing apart, not growing up
What is the one thing that’s constant? Change. And this applies to anything and everything, including people. Yes, as much as you’d like someone you love and care for to not change, it’s inevitable. How is it fair to expect your spouse to be the same as they were a decade ago when you got married? And as much as you’d like to think that you haven’t change all that much since you got hitched, it’s not possible. You might not have changed in a significant way, but you have, for sure.
However, what is possible is that for you both to find a new normal, in which the changes in your personality can be accommodated. This adds a new dimension to your relationship. This is you growing up and not growing apart.
6. Feeling of inadequacy
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As you grow in a relationship, your roles keep on changing as per the requirements and demands of the relationship. And one fear that you could get caught up in is a feeling of inadequacy, where you think you’re not quite measuring up in your partner’s eyes. When you feel inadequate, you lash out, which would eventually lead to fights over the most trivial of issues. The more you feel you’re not measuring up, the more you turn away from the relationship, maybe even indulge in risky, self-destructive behavior, which could spell a death-knell for the relationship.
This feeling of inadequacy needs to be addressed when it crops up. This can be done through open and honest communication, followed by a way of resolving the issue that you both can live with.
7. Unsatisfactory sex life
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As you well know, a healthy and active sex life is imperative to build a healthy and stable relationship. So, if the sex is lacking, or worse, non-existent, then it’s can be cause for leaving a marriage.
There are many reasons for this. One of you might fear that your partner doesn’t find you physically attractive anymore, or you might want to try new things, but are fearful of your partner’s response, or even that you have brought up trying new things, but was shamed or made to feel as if your needs and wants were somehow ‘not normal.’ You need to address these, and come to a compromise that you both can live with.
Suggested read: 7 simple tips on how to be happy in a relationship
8. Needs not being validated
When a marriage hits a rough patch, the first thing to go out the window is empathy. You start to care very little to what your partner thinks or feels; you care very little about his well-being; you care very little about whether or not he’s affected by the marriage problems. You might start to feel as if you’re the only one who’s going through the rough patch, while you completely ignore you partner’s needs.
When empathy goes out the window, you’re likely to grow disillusioned with your marriage. You need to try to reestablish the emotional connection that has become a casualty of the rough patch (through couples’ therapy). Hopelessness and disillusionment are both very painful and toxic for a marriage, thereby increasing the risk of divorce. What you need to feel when in a relationship is that what you see and feel matters to the other person, and vice versa.
Any marriage can hit a rough patch. But how you navigate your way through it with minimum damage is what you need to focus on. Not considering how and why you need to be leaving a marriage behind and jump into the next exciting thing that you come across. Nobody said that a relationship, or a marriage, for that matter, is easy. So work hard to make it work, and put in all your efforts to do so.
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