In the wrong relationship for 10 years

Posted by Simran


Sometimes women are in the wrong relationship for over 10 years before realizing that they need to walk away. Why would someone bear all the emotional upheaval and not make a change? How do you know if this is worth the effort to make better or something personally unbearable ?

Let’s look at the most stressful life events for adults on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale:
1. Death of a spouse
2. Divorce
3. Marital Separation
7.  Marriage

Marriage itself is number 7 on this list so any relationship is under stress even when things are going well. To make things more difficult voluntarily is difficult for even the strongest humans. Aron Ralston got his hand stuck under a boulder while hiking in Utah and it took him 5 days before cutting his own right arm to save his life, a story well depicted in the movie “127 hours”.

The difficulty of personal relationship decisions bears heavily on an individual because everyone is in an unique situation. However no one is immune to having challenging life situations where they have waited too long or are waiting too long to make a decision.
Are you in the wrong job?
Does your company not value your work?
Are you doing the right things for your children?
Are you saving enough financially for a rainy day?
Did you wait too long to visit dear one a last time?
Do you want to be healthy to see your grand children?
Is life too busy where you are not doing the one thing you would like to do today?

There are some factors that make relationship decisions more difficult. Today your spouse is your best friend and a majority of your time goes communicating with your spouse. We have moved away from large communities to nuclear families and relationship with a spouse remains the last social strong bond. After making $75,000 in the US, much happiness is dependent on family and friends. This makes investing in your family the right approach if basic economic needs have been met. Married people also have better health than singles or divorced. There is a lot at stake when making changes to a relationship.

The key reason why we can be in the wrong relationship for a long time is because the human brain is wired to make emotionally consistent stories however the real world has no such requirement. Daniel Kahneman is a nobel prize winning psychologist and he shows that the world comes effortlessly  in the form of stories for us. Imagine your spouse was supposed to pick up your mother from the airport in the afternoon and you happen to have an argument in the morning. Your spouse is late to the airport by an hour and now there is a fact to which the brain gives a story – “This was intentional because of the argument in the morning. It was because it was my mother and there is no respect for her. My spouse is always like this.” Or it could be “It is incredibly hard in this traffic to be there on time. My spouse had to leave earlier from work and maybe next time we book a different flight.” Events that happen everyday come interpreted as stories and they are usually influenced by prior emotional states and are completely independent from reality. The automatic stories are always emotionally consistent, either the person is all good or all bad. Our confidence in these stories comes from their coherence and if they make sense in that moment. Hitler loved children and flowers and even though it is true, it is difficult to keep emotionally consistent.

Our relationships have to be prioritized as important and we should constantly nurture them. In a relationship, you are a partner in building a family and if we do not give it time with communication then it will be a mediocre marriage. A nurturing marriage gives each partner growth opportunities and a safe place to make mistakes and learn from them to keep growing.

It’s being clear in our objectives for this partnership and taking responsibility to make it work that gives us the true happiness of growing old together.

You know you are with the right person when you can complete each other’s sentences!


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