Step 7: Detachment
With the inability to resolve conflict and a negative “Story of Us,” couples hit the lowest of lows: despair. They give up hope and begin to live in quiet separation.
Some people do this by legally divorcing, and others by emotionally breaking-up and living parallel lives in the same house. When couples reach this dark place of hopelessness, talking about problems seems useless and both partners accept the loneliness that comes.
This is when some partners violate the boundaries of the relationship because they are starving for emotional connection and feel hopeless about reconnecting with their life partner.
The Snowball Effect
The decay of a relationship tends not to be a one-time blow-up; rather, it is like a snowball rolling down a hill. The red flags begin with how partners talk to each other, then the inability to repair leads to repeated instances of flooding and finally a negative perspective of the marriage.
Dr. Gottman’s research has proven that with a habitual use of criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling it takes about 6 years for a marriage to end.
There are also couples who are not nasty and have very little negativity. These conflict avoiders can have healthy marriages if they have a lot of positive interactions, but if there is very little responsiveness or affection, that type of relationship will die within 16.2 years.
These are years of interactions gone wrong, not days.
What To Do Now
If you recognize your relationship in any of these stages, you are not alone. A lot of couples struggle between steps 1-4.
My intended purpose for sharing how love dies is to give you some insight into the cascade that ends relationships, so you can take that knowledge and save your love life. It will take hard work and personal growth to save and repair your bond.
Dr. Gottman reminds us that,“Even a marriage that is about to hit bottom can be revived with the right intervention.”
The biggest barrier I see to savings marriages is partners’ willingness to risk the vulnerability to reconnect. To properly forgive, repair, and strengthen a bond that has been weakened by a lack of knowledge and experience on how to replenish love, affection, and care.
When both partners are committed to learning how to fight and love better, they can save their relationship.
If you want to transform conflict into material to build a stronger and more connected relationship then read Kyle Benson’s conflict blueprints here.
You may also like:
- 10 Reasons Why Divorced Women Are The Strongest
- 7 Important Things You Must Know About Healing after A Divorce Or Breakup
- 11 Ways Your Divorce Changes You For The Better
- 4 Things I Did That Screwed Up My Marriage and Led To Divorce
- How to Cope with Feeling Depressed When Going Through A Divorce