I’ve been with my spouse for a very long time. I will not specify my gender because I want to see how either sex takes the issue at hand. We are a married couple of over six years. In those six years and the ones prior to marriage, we have overcome many bumps in the road. Right now, we are at a standstill. The small jokes and bickering, have turned into intense fights and very personal attacks towards each other. Sometimes I feel as if we don’t even really like each other. It is a scary thought to realize someone I have been with and stayed loyal to, is becoming my worst enemy. I don’t do anything right in their eyes. I feel as if I have given my all and received little in return. There has been no appreciation these past few months. My love is still there but with others around me falling apart, it only makes me wonder if this is going to last. We’ve tried talking with others, even professionals, but nothing is helping. We’ve barely spoken in two months. I feel like there is a lot of change and no idea why. Any advice?
– Falling without my parachute
Dear Falling Without my Parachute,
While, I am not married, I have seen many marriages in my life. Marriage is a hard commitment because it’s involving two people, two lives and two personalities and making them work as one. A lot of people end up rushing into marriage before understanding how much it involves and without the understanding that it is a lifelong commitment. You mentioned being with your partner for a very long time and being married for a good while. Believe it or not, after a few years, people can suddenly change. Why? Likely, it’s because they had a shield or front up about themselves prior to the relationship. Slowly [sometimes rapidly] their true colors appear. It ends up surprising you but not them. They are comfortable accepting their new found self because it’s who they’ve always been on in the inside. Unfortunately, it’s like a door slammed in your face because you only knew the person they wanted you to see. The change can be small or dramatic and it impacts both parties. The change may be too much for you to handle and accept, or on the other side, it may be something they do not want to experience with someone else.
For example, a couple was married and one day, one of them wanted a divorce. The reason? Wanted to explore other options, have fun and live it up. This lifestyle had never been previously expressed or even hinted upon.
Another example, one day one of them decided to pack up, sell everything and say goodbye. Why? They realized they had huge dreams and passions involving travel and seeing the world. Alone.
And one last example, one came home, decided they needed to stop living within their comfort zone. Sold their home, moved to the other coast, began taking up new hobbies and found themselves, together. It was a change for the better. Their sex life improved, their relationship became stronger and they made new friends.
Another issue I want to address is “respect.” You talked about small jokes turning into personal attacks. This is something I take to heart. That sticks and stones crap we were taught in elementary school is effing bogus! OF COURSE WORDS HURT US! How can they not? Granted, actions speak much louder, but it is still painful. A relationship is to be shared between two people who love, RESPECT, and enjoy the other. Love is not easy – it calls for arguments and most likely name calling. But, by the end of the day, you both should know how far to take it. Why be unhappy and miserable all the time?
Change is a tough issue. An amazing quote by the late Bob Marley, ” Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.”