In the meantime, I've had no less that FIVE friends (six, technically) tell me their marriages (or serious, long term relationships) are either ending, on life support, or struggling due to external distractions and wants and needs. The KICKER? Only ONE of those challenged relationships involves both partners knowing about the problem in a definitive "Yes, we have had 'the talk' and they agree." way . . . and one of my friend's spouses only found out because the proverbial feces hit the proverbial air circulation machine and they HAD to be told.
Let me say this definitively . . . FIGHT! Argue. Scream. Yell. THROW STUFF (not at each other - that is stupid). Demand a conversation. Air grievances (it is Festivus somewhere). Put it all out there. Unless you are being actually abused (at which point get the F*CK out of there NOW!) there is no reason to not try talking it out first.
Don't be a coward - and it IS cowardice - and just sort of slink out the back door. Don't start something new. Don't let distractions become the focus. Don't let that person that you vowed to love, honor, and cherish until death did you part find out that they are expected to keep on living without you on court papers, by e-mail, text message, voicemail, or through the grapevine. YOU are better than that - even if your spouse is not.
Look them in the eye. Say the words "I am leaving you because of _______." Want to do that? NOPE. No one ever does. It is a sentence that should never, ever, ever be uttered. And certainly not happily or with an upbeat heart.
A better idea? DO NOT say the above. Sit, instead, take their hands in your hands, look them in the eye and use one of the following phrases or expressions (or make up your own) instead . . .
- "I miss the way you used to ___________."
- "I would love it if you put that phone/tablet/Internet porn addiction down and came to bed with me."
- "How about you and me go to lunch on Saturday. Just the two of us. I wanted to catch up."
- "Do you still think I'm beautiful? I don't remember the last time you told me and I miss hearing it - you telling me felt good."
- "I'm lonely and sad. Are you? Can we spend more quality time together?"
- "I'm distracted by the things in my life that are not you. We are supposed to be center to each other's lives - want to get back in my middle again? How do we do that?"
- "Am I doing enough?"
- "Are you doing enough?"
- "What flavor edible underpants do you like because I'm totes buying a pair for this evening - come home early."
- "I was going to ditch the kids Friday evening and see a movie. You want to join me? It is _________ - a movie I feel like you might like. After we can just talk for a while."
I say these things from first hand perspective. This is not me just sort of talking trash about people who are thinking about doing something I did. This is not hypocrisy. We said ALL the things above (expect number nine - that one is just for humor value) in our home long before we threw in the towels.
I don't care what you say or when you say it but sit your spouse down and say something . . . cue the crappy pop music: