My parents divorced when I was 19, but years before their marriage ended, I watched their decline. I didn’t understand what I witnessed with my parents then, but after years of working with couples, I see that there can be a similar downward spiral in partnerships. The seeds of divide often come following hurt feelings or dashed expectations. When they are not exposed or acknowledged, these problems fester and grow to lead to many relationships falling apart. Here’s what my parents’ path looked like. Of course, this isn’t the only path to destruction, but it’s common enough that you may see yourself on this trajectory. 1. They worked against each other. I believe my parents didn’t like each other for the last 10 years of their marriage. When a partner demonizes the other or holds resentments for years, it creates a very unstable marriage. There is also an unconscious polarization that happens when each spouse thinks the other needs to change to be more like them. Classic examples are the spender and the saver, or the emotional and the intellectual. There are couples who can never find a comfortable middle ground. Most couples have one or two such issues, but with those who end up… Read full this story
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