By the time any couple arrives at a conversation about divorce, there has typically been a long period of feeling badly or disconnected. Perhaps this period of disconnection included verbal or physical abuse. Perhaps it included an emotional or physical affair. Perhaps it included addictive behaviors, and usually it has included secrecy and mistrust. There are as many “divorce stories” as there are divorced couples. Nonetheless, when we look a bit deeper, it becomes clear that the #1 reason why many couples divorce is communication.
As human beings, we are social creatures and we spend our lives interacting with others. Given all this experience, it would seem logical that we should be experts at interpersonal communication, but the truth is that there is no more difficult skill to master.
Let’s think about this for a moment… two people who were raised with a completely separate set of experiences, familial backgrounds, values and DNA fall in love and decide to get married and spend their lives together. During the period of falling in love, we focus on our similarities and we are intrigued by our differences. However, once the initial state of being enamored wears away, and for many, we get through the early years of raising children, we are left staring at someone who is vastly different from ourselves who we hardly know.
Very quickly, communication begins to break down. We don’t feel seen or understood. We don’t feel cared for in the way we want to be cared for. Our partner doesn’t share things the way we want them to. We can’t figure out what to talk about. We encounter hardships and do not know how to make each other feel better. Eventually, life becomes a never-ending ‘to do list’ with nothing sustaining and meaningful being exchanged. Communication deteriorates steadily over time and being with each other drains joy and energy rather than adding to it.
The truth is that when a relationship reaches this point, it is time to do something. Either a couple can develop new patterns for communication and re-engagement or they can decide that this relationship has completed its path and take steps toward building a different future.
How do you know the right next step for you?
My experience tells me this… The only way to know what is truly right for you and your partner when you reach this impasse is to step clearly in one direction or another. I have worked with couples who have taken steps clearly toward separation or divorce and ended up back together, and I have worked with couples who have taken steps to truly invest in their relationship and have ended up divorcing. Taking a step does not limit the possibilities. Rather, it helps bring forth information that makes the Truth clearer.
Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce. The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.
Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.