It’s one of the most dreaded destinations on the map but a lot of us end up there. Some marriages just aren’t meant to be but others careen out of control down the road to Divorce Land due to lack of awareness, poor relationship skills and fear of admitting there’s a problem until it’s too late.
There are things you can do to turn your relationship car around if you’re willing to team up and face reality together and you want your marriage to last. The key is – you must turn the car around as early as possible before it’s too late to avoid disaster. Take action, start talking, get counseling early. If that’s too difficult or daunting try something like a free online couple retreat to learn ways to reconnect. Do what it takes to get things rolling in a better direction.
Marriage Therapists often describe five stages to the divorce process that start long before the word ‘divorce’ is ever mentioned by couples. Let’s call the first stage Dissatisfaction Drive. It’s a place of disillusionment – where you have a growing sense of disappointment about the way your relationship is going and how you feel around your partner. Maybe the spark has gone out of the relationship and it feels flat. Criticism may creep into your everyday conversations and actions. Below is a video about the 4 biggest relationship mistakes to avoid. Check it out.
Ignore these warning signs at your peril — finding yourself regularly feeling disappointed and flat about your relationship is no small thing. Getting help at this point is likely to be beneficial because you’re probably both still open to change and not yet so resentful of each other to stop wanting to try.
Sadly, one of the most common mistakes couples make is to shut their eyes and keep careening dangerously towards the end of the road believing things will just magically fix themselves. Most of the time, they don’t.
Turning around means consciously putting energy into your love like you did at the start, creating a shared focus on connecting, increasing awareness of your relationship vulnerabilities and strengths, seeking strategies, learning skills and building generosity of spirit towards one another again. You have to get off Dissatisfaction Drive onto Happiness Boulevard before too much damage is done to your relationship.
Stage Two on the road to relationship sadness is the Erosion Zone. It’s where you stop caring as much about your partner and worse, developing a sense of resentment and lethargy about doing anything to improve your closeness and communication. The distance between you may seem to increase every week but you don’t pay too much attention. Couples who don’t turn around at this stage tend to just distract themselves and hope the relationship will fix itself. It can last weeks or years depending on how much you can stomach. As you drive around the communication boulders on your path in this zone, you can see that turning around sooner would have been a better idea. It isn’t necessarily too late. Get help now!
Lonely Lane is the third stage of a fading relationship trajectory where, if you open your tired eyes, you’ll see glaringly obvious danger signs have been all over the sides of the road for miles. The signs tell you to find each other again urgently, reactivate intimacy or risk losing it forever. This is a place of emotional detachment, to the point that other interests – children, friends, work, sport, or even another lover may become more important to you than each other. Instead of the sadness and confusion of Dissatisfaction Drive and the anger and resentment of the Erosion Zone you may start to feel what Pink Floyd called comfortably numb. This stage usually ends when something bright and shiny at the side of the road suddenly catches your eye and you feel alive again, awoken to what you’re missing out on.
Act now if you want to save the relationship with openness, energy, empathy, love and most of all by teaming up again. This is your relationship’s trial by fire. It shouldn’t have come to this – but it has, so now you must really fight for each other. Relationship help is urgent now: it’s time to decide what path to take next.
Haven’t managed to turn the car around? Sometimes you cannot. It absolutely takes two. Taking the best path is ultimately knowing in your heart that you did your best. The fourth stage of the Divorce Land journey is a major fork in the road where Single Street meets the road and runs on ahead. It’s here the the decision must be made to turn things around together or continue on this road alone.
Either way, it’s your responsibility to yourselves and any children you have, to choose your path with dignity. People survive divorce, but abuse, unkindness and chaos cause damage, whether a couple stays together or not. If you decide to go your separate ways, don’t make it a car wreck. Pull over, be safe.
How? When you’re so angry, lost, panicky and hurt?
1. By remembering always that behaving in any way other than with kindness and within your values, will hurt everyone even more, including yourself. It will mean taking longer to recover and intensifying the pain all round.
2. By getting help. Breaking up is hard to do. You must both get all the support you can and treat each other with compassion.
The final stage in the journey to Divorce Land is when you reach Mourning Way. It’s a place of sadness and reflection, but maybe also some relief. Here you can finish this relationship journey, remember what was good and strive to understand what went wrong. You can hope for a good future for everyone and do your best to create it.
Acknowledge all the things you are mourning. The end of a marriage means changes to home and family forever, but you will survive and you can all thrive again.
Get support. Be proud for the rest of your days of how you handled things during such a difficult time in your lives. Focus on growth and learning so that there will be less chance of repeating the mistakes of the past.
Just BE the LOVE that you ARE x