Examining Whether to Try Making a Success of Your Current Relationship or Deal With Breaking Up or Divorcing
By Dr. Tiger
Relationships always seem so great at the beginning, but, as time goes on, that perfect partner can become someone who causes such unhappiness that it has us considering whether to leave. The sad truth is that we often make up the stories we want to believe about the other person before truly knowing them well. It takes six months to two years to stop believing those stories, depending upon how resistant we are to seeing the things we want to avoid. To keep up the fantasy that someone is an ideal partner, many, if not most of us, will ignore, excuse, or rationalize obviously disappointing behavior to keep up the story of who we want them to be, instead of accepting who they are. Clearly, within two years, commitments like shared property or children can get in the way of our willingness to see our partner as less than ideal.
So, how bad does it have to get? For most people, physical violence can change everything in a moment. The surprise that at just the right level of frustration, your partner will shove, hit, throw things and injure you can be a shock that helps bring the things you’ve previously ignored into light. That cascade of recollections, combined with the reality that your partner can be violent, can call the commitment you thought was solid into quick question.
Similarly, a surprise about differences in beliefs, such as racial prejudices, religion, political affiliations, closeness to family that you love or hate, or they love or hate, even differences in beliefs about child rearing; any of these can spell significant trouble for relationships as they mature.
One of the most common issues for rapid dissolution of a relationship is the betrayal of trust through infidelity, even if it is one chance encounter, or a long, hidden history of one or many affairs. Sadly, another reason for relationship failure is change in physical status: an injury, a disease diagnosis, a change in physical or even sexual capability can trigger distance and resentment in the relationship that can’t be overcome and will result in a breakup.
Sticking it out and trying to overcome differences can sometimes be best, since all the investment in the relationship will otherwise be lost. If the differences are too great and the suffering is not going to be stopped, you need to face the truth and deal with the dismantling of the life you were making with your partner. Facing just how much you made up about your partner and how much responsibility you have in a relationship that failed just because you didn’t want to see the person for who they really are is the hard part of facing yourself in your relationship failures.
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