Have you noticed a surge in break-ups recently? Well, you are definitely not alone. As we adjust to the cold weather season, knowing that the holidays are around the corner, many men see this as time to “hibernate and cuddle,” but unfortunately what many don’t realize is that for women (who tend to plan much further ahead) this is the time to end something that isn’t going anywhere. Why? Easy– because 1) there is no point in trying to get through the holidays with someone you are no longer in love with, and 2) the sooner you stop going down a dead-end street, the sooner you can go find a more promising path– maybe even before New Year’s Eve if the stars align just right.
This my friends is one of the best examples of how women and men think differently. Year after year, I have heard so many of my male clients say they would have just continued with the status quo. As long as work is good and home life is comfy, 9 out of 10 guys will just let things lie. But women, hmm …we really are an entirely different breed. We let our minds (and often our emotions) race ahead, and as we check in with our girlfriends we wonder out loud, “what’s the plan for the holidays? are we getting engaged? are we moving in together? are we going to talk about having kids in the new year?” Or if we are already married with kids, we may be thinking, “how are we going to spice things up? does he realize I’m not feeling emotionally connected? what efforts is he going to make to focus on us?”
Now, if you don’t think you are on the same page with your partner, before jumping to any conclusions, try to ask yourself these 3 basic questions:
1. Do you think your partner cares about you?
2. Is your partner willing/able to hear you?
3. Do you think your partner can change?
If the answer to all three questions is “no” then there really isn’t any point in trying to work anything out. But if there is still love and hopes of a brighter future together, then an open and honest conversation about what can be done to fix things is in order– preferably at a mutually convenient time when neither one of you is too emotional.
When you have “the talk” remember to keep an open mind. Don’t assume anything for I have yet to meet a single human being with the ability to read another person’s mind, regardless of how many years they have been together or how much love they once shared together.
Also, respect that there are gender differences– the way guys speak is vastly different from how women speak. While 21st century men have made great progress at learning to meet the heightened expectations women now have of their male partners, the way they continue to socialize among each other is vastly different from how women socialize together. For example, the men I know generally don’t talk much about their feelings– certainly not with their other guy friends, and they are wired to want to find a quick fix. So if you are going to raise a problem with them, make sure you filter out too much emotion and try to offer some viable options for a solution.
In the end, the solution may just be that it is time to go your separate ways. That doesn’t mean that either party is not worthy of being loved, it just means that the effort required to maintain that particular relationship is just too much. I don’t mean to say that we should expect love to be easy, but it certainly should not be difficult.
Is heartbreak in the air? Maybe so, but you live, you learn and you will both move on.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.