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It’s no secret I stayed way too long in a war-torn relationship.
It’s easy to do.
I was consumed by the day to day operations of saving my marital world.
I actually ended up missing the signs it had changed from a rescue to a search and recovery mission.
I am not alone.
Everyday people who initially may have started butting heads morph into a relationship danger zone.
Unfortunately, our emotional entanglements prevent us from recognizing a marriage isn’t just faltering, it is no longer working.
Although a relationship is about two people, many of the signs it may be time to make a change dwell in just one person.
The following are questions to ask yourself
Are You Spending So Much Time Rescuing Your Marriage You Are Neglecting Others?
This doesn’t necessarily speak to ‘true neglect.’
It means you aren’t making the phone calls to your siblings and friends you used to make. Or perhaps you don’t feel like going out as much and are turning down invitations.
One thing I used to say to my husband when he was acting out in what I thought was a difficult period in his life – “I am a mother. My children deserve my attention. You keep taking my focus away from them and onto you.”
It could be anything which takes your attention away from those you love.
Have You Become Less of Who You Are Rather Than More of Who You Are?
When you have to be overly responsible for another human being it makes you under-responsible for yourself.
What does this mean?
Are you the only one working on the marriage? Are you the only one willing to go to counseling? Is your spouse exhibiting bad behavior in the form of drinking, shopping, gambling, cheating, etc.?
If so, this behavior is making them less accountable for themselves and will make you overcompensate and be more responsible.
Eventually, it will keep eroding bits of who you are.
Do You Feel Bad About Yourself When You Are with This Person?
When marital problems continue it’s easy to feel worse about who you are.
For many reasons, it could be your spouse overtly makes you feel this way or their behavior (especially in the form of affairs) are making you feel this way. It could also be the result of long-term arguing with bitter exchanges and the types of name calling and terrible things which are said when you stay in a bad relationship too long.
Or it could simply be an elevated awareness of your own unhappiness and your intuition telling you that you know better.
Has Your Day to Day Life Become Consumed with This Person or Their Behavior?
Have you become a never-ending one woman dissertation?
Do you spend all of your time talking to your friends about your relationship problems or your spouse’s behavior?
Do you feel stuck?
Does your marriage and now your life feel like you are in a perpetual rut?
Has Your Personality Drastically Changed?
Have you lost most of who you are and what you once loved to do.
If you entertained did you stop doing so? If you loved to read have you stopped? And on and on.
Were you someone who was lighthearted and are now heavyhearted? Were you laid-back and now easily frustrated? Do you overtalk when you were once a better listener?
Are you angry?
If you have frequent feelings of anger, frustration and/or sadness you may need to evaluate your relationship.
Is Only One Person Working on the Marriage?
This is so obvious yet so widely acceptable.
Too many people resolve to stay in relationships even though they are the only one willing to put any effort into it.
If the time has come where it is overwhelmingly one-sided it may not be a good thing unless alerting your significant other of this fact gets their attention.
Have the Problems Gone on Far Too Long?
If there are severe problems in the relationship which have gone on for many years it is time for reflection.
All partnerships will have ups and downs and periods of difficulty.
They should not morph; however, into one long continuum.
Have bad or dysfunctional patterns of communication and behavior become an acceptable norm?
Have you simply made a decision to put up with a certain level of unhappiness?
No marriage should be disregarded nonchalantly.
But far too many just get lost in the emotional day to day chaos or neglect of an operationally spent relationship.
The answers are within us.
We often kid ourselves, lie to ourselves or convince ourselves there is nothing better out there.
But who we are is in there.
The relationship which has lost us.
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