I have not kept track with complete accuracy, but over the last 15 years in my divorce consults I can safely estimate that over 75% of my clients have sought counseling long before they ever came to see me and decided to call it quits. This begs the question then, with so many great resources, including seminars and books out there about how to make your marriage last, and so many skilled professionals ready to help couples work through their issues, how is it that over 50% of these couples still wind up getting divorced? The answer is quite simple: they waited too long.
When too much damage has been done to a relationship, there comes a point where you just can’t turn back and undo all those little acts that on their own might have seemed minor, yet when put together, grossly tipped the scales in favor of getting out and ending the pain rather than staying in and risking further injury to your ego or mental health.
According to Dr. Peck, it is normal to fall out of love– but as soon as that honeymoon phase ends, that is when the real work needs to begin. As soon as you find that your partner is starting to irritate you, you can’t dig your head in the sand. You have to be honest with yourself, and the other person about what is bothering you, otherwise it will not just get better on its own.
When you find yourself flirting with others, staying late at work, or going out solo with your friends because you’d rather avoid going home at all cost– this is exactly when you need to actually get your butt home and figure out how you can change the dynamic of things. Waiting for things to improve on their own is simply not going to happen.
There is definitely a point of no return, especially once you’ve come to the point that you no longer care what happens one way or the other. Why? Because the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy. Once I’ve lost respect and shut off my feelings towards someone, good luck trying to get me to care again. No amount of spark plugs are going to re-start that engine.
In life, while doors may shut in our faces, I always try to look for those windows of opportunity. In love, you really have to grab hold of those windows and push them open to breath new life into your relationship. If you see conflict as a potential for growth, and you are willing to ask yourself and your partner tough questions, I believe you can work through issues and get to a better place by understanding one another more deeply. But if you wait too long, and with each argument you find yourself resenting the relationship more and more, I promise you those scales will tip, and they will tip fast, to the point where things will be beyond repair.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.