Whether it’s the woman leaving the man or the man leaving the woman, the deciding-to-get-divorced process happens over months, years, or even decades. We’re all human and we all largely process the world using the same basic societal patterns. This means that, while there are certainly many exceptions, most breakups are entirely predictable.
Both genders have their own dominant patterns that each stem from the common source of ego. So a man tries to build his ego with achievements, or success or external markers of his advancement relative to other men. The ego believes everything is about it, so the men can get so focused on their personal/financial success that they will sacrifice the success of the relationship.
Women on the other hand are seeking connection, and sharing and support. So they’ll get focused on their needs and the needs of the family and they will often forget that their partner has needs that are just as valid that also need addressing. They’ll tend to scold any behaviour they see as not in alignment with their personal goals for the family, relationship or household.
Some men are left because they’re not active enough, some of the men get left because they’re too busy worrying about building businesses, or advancing careers, or paying off houses. Either way, their selfish focus causes them to fail to notice that they might be leaving too much of the household management to their spouse. They also forget to approach her as a woman with physical needs, and when they do engage it’s usually as a fixer and less as a listener or supporter.
Most of the women get left because they’ve pre-imagined the relationship in such a way that anything the partner does that’s outside of that invisible plan is seen as misbehaving. They are subsequently scolded in much the same way kids are, and they eventually leave over being belittled right out of the relationship.
Of course there are many exceptions and there’s also violence and addictions and differing life directions etc. etc., but a large percentage of the people that come to see me because their marriages are in those first two groups. Neglecters and Scolders.
So how is this information useful to you? Well, neither of those primary reasons to split are really reasons to split. Again if there’s violence or addictions or other serious challenges, or even just a clear indication that you’re going in two different directions, then those are good reasons to divorce and reorient your life. But if you just aren’t paying enough attention to your actions, then that’s divorce by lack of awareness.
If you want to avoid the pain and expense and the huge and somewhat complex start-over that divorce entails, then stop telling your spouse how to improve your life or relationship and start focusing on becoming self-aware. Then you can actually contribute to the relationship improving rather than just itemizing how your partner could do that. Two people repeatedly passing the same to-do lists back and forth is hardly a recipe for a happy relationship.
And should you do this to save the relationship? No. The relationship exists in your head. You should do it because you feel loving feelings for your partner and you truly want to make their life better. Be nice to them, note their qualities, and compliment them. It’s not hard. It’s what you want too. Stop asking for it with words and start asking for it with loving deeds, whether that’s helping out with something you know they find difficult, or something like excusing some behaviour you might otherwise negatively comment on. Bottom line, you don’t create great relationships by changing your partners into someone great, you create realise a great relationship by noting on a day to day basis that your partner is already great.
If your relationship is truly dangerous or unhealthy then end it as soon as possible or make firm arrangements to do so. And if it isn’t bad enough to end, then it’s good enough for you to invest yourself in sincerely. So rather than asking for love, give some instead. Because it doesn’t matter who puts the love in, both parties benefit equally.
Here’s to a great life. Enjoy.
peace and hugs. s
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.