Bringing the 2016 tally to 43 celebrity relationships that have ended, yesterday Angelina Jolie shocked the world and filed for divorce from Brad Pitt. Damn real life intrudes on the wealth and the seemingly carefree lives of a beautiful high-profile couple yet again! Hmmm
If you read the headlines on the covers of the magazines that line the check out lanes at the grocery store, you’d think every relationship, celebrity or every day Jane & Joe, ends up doomed to failure.
Today the Huffington Post ran an article warning women to watch out for signs that their husband has become “emotionally disconnected,” but you can search the internet and find similar headlines in one women’s magazine or another nearly every month. I just googled, “have you lost interest in your relationship?” and Google returned 9,230,000 results! Headlines on these articles range from blaming, “What you can do to fix your broken relationship,” to therapeutic, “Signs you (or your spouse) are losing interest,” but all circle back to the same things:
- Relationships are hard
- Day-to-day stresses of life wear equally on both parties in a relationship
- To make a relationship last takes work, love and understanding
So, because I love all of my loyal Extreme Blonde Moments followers, I’ll summarize the latest articles so you can:
- Troubleshoot your own relationship
- Figure out if problems you have are minor or deal breakers
- Decide if you’re in a relationship worth salvaging and either: A) Cut through the bullshit and get back on track; or B) Stop the bleeding and get out
First, there are some universally agreed to signs that you or your partner have disengaged from your relationship:
- Do you dread spending time together, prefer time with friends instead of time with your significant other, feel like it’s an obligation, feel exhausted or mentally drained after a day together? Do you start fights to avoid plans together, do you fight more often than not?
- Does your relationship lack intimacy? Hugs and kisses, casual touches, hand holding, and other small intimacies are the first thing to go when a relationship is dying, the absence of these things is a big warning sign.
- Does your relationship lack sex? This is a huge problem! Dry spells of a week or two, even a month happen with the everyday stresses of life, work separations, illness, etc., but when you go months at a time without one (or both) of you desiring the most vital of intimacies, you have a serious issue. If the thought of making love to your spouse stirs NOTHING in you, and you don’t miss or desire an immediate change (as in take steps to change the status quo) then your relationship has very little hope of survival. This is especially true if it is only one partner that is disinterested in maintaining the sexual relationship.
- Are you withholding everyday stuff, sharing conversations, concerns, stresses with someone else, seeking someone else’s opinions instead of your significant other’s? That’s a death blow for your relationship.
- Do you not care what your significant other is doing? If hearing the details of their day, their opinions, stories, or even their voice is of no interest to you….I think you get the picture. Doomed
- Are you losing your self esteem? If you have become unhappy, feel unwanted, undesired, and so unimportant that deep inside you know you should get out of the relationship, you can start feeling trapped, angry with yourself that you’re still there, and wondering how you ended up with this person. This can lead you to start questioning your own judgement which leads to increasingly negative feelings about yourself.
- Do you hate coming home, spend extra time at work, at the gym, in other activities, anything to avoid being in the same place as your significant other? Do you complain about unimportant things, are you passive aggressive, or have you become verbally or physically aggressive toward your significant other? Get Out
- Are you fantasizing about others or acting like you’re single when you are not with your significant other? Do you daydream about what life would be like without your significant other, are you reaching out to old flames, do you use “I” statements instead of “We“: “I am going to Costa Rica next week” vs “We are going to Costa Rica next week.” You are testing the waters to see what the response would be (and how it would feel) to you being single.
The Huffington Post article pointed out gender specific indicators that a spouse has checked out of a marriage:
- Hypercritical of everything his spouse does, less generous of mistakes
- He stone walls or is in constant “Silent Treatment” mode: closed off body language (crossed arms, pursed lips, turned back) and/or zero verbal feedback or engagement, even when a response would be appropriate and expected.
- Visibly angry when tasks aren’t done, impatient and short
- No playfulness, not visibly happy hanging out with spouse, appears distant or to be just going through the motions, or to be putting on a show of attentiveness when others are present
- He confides in others or has more intimate talks with others than he has with his spouse
- Men complain to therapists that “she seems to have changed overnight.” He fails to recognize warning signs like requests to improve the relationship have been ignored or belittled and she’s finally become fed up, stopped seeing him in a romantic light and become disillusioned with the marriage.
- He starts hearing “Nothing” or “I don’t want to talk about it,” when he notices she has withdrawn or changed her behavior. She’s tired of tying and given up hoping for change.
- You barely touch anymore.
- It feels like you are living two separate lives.
- All you talk about is the kids and household logistics (or jobs, etc.).
- Your wife speaks brutal truths instead of being kind, considerate and accepting of your quirks and idiosyncracies.
If you feel a kinship to any of the behaviors you have two choices, talk about them and reolve them, or resolve to move on. None of the behaviors are healthy for any romantic relationship, especially if it’s a marriage and there are children involved. Children observe and learn what you are living, so give them the best chance of having healthy, loving adult relationships by living them yourself.
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