It has been well documented that since the mid eighties, 50% of all marriages result in divorce. Interestingly, it is the seventh year of marriage which presents itself as the most popular time to bid goodbye.
The latter statistic most likely gave rise to the cliché we all know these days as the seven-year itch. There are no such statistics available for couples who are not married but one can imagine similar figures.
After hearing statistics of this caliber, one cannot help but wonder, what does keep a couple together? What commonalities do successful relationships share? Research has proved that certain qualities are more likely to produce success, these include: high income level, compatibility, superior communication and conflict resolution skills. Evidence of the most common contributing factors to divorce and also break-up include: marrying at a young age, poverty and a low education level.
These rather obvious factors hide a simple truth that many relationships are held together by fear, but fear of what? Let me explain. Firstly, let me say that I do not know anyone who has a perfect relationship. I know even fewer people who work on perfecting their relationships; that is where the real commitment lies – making it better in order to reach its potential. It is a dream that is realised by only a few because of the individual and collective effort it requires. It can be done but is done all too infrequently. The consequence is usually that the relationship spirals out of control and common break-up factors take over such as infidelity, lack of respect, distance, avoiding and constant conflict or nagging.
We all know couples who exhibit at least one and often several of the above in their relationship but still stay together, sometimes for years in a relationship of convenience. Often from the outside, these couples appear untenable and on the verge of chaos but neither partner seems willing for whatever reason to leave and one can only ask why this happens in so many cases. Let’s come back to the fear factor. Many couples that I have known in this situation have very clear answers to this question.
The fear of change, a new start, being alone, living alone and working on the adage “better the devil you know!” And so it goes on… year after year of fighting, conflict and unhappiness until circumstances take a hand. Everyone experiences low points in their relationship. This is normal and most couples work through these times. However, some do not. While the experts say there are no formulas for deciding when to break up, there are signs to watch for. If you experience more than a few consistently over a long period, it is probably time to move on (or the thought might enter your head).
It does take courage to leave a partner and start a new life. Dennis Neder, an ordained minister and author of Being a Man in a Woman’s World, says “as long as kids aren’t involved, it is time to break up a relationship when there is no longer any mutual benefit“. “If you aren’t getting what you want or need from being with someone, it’s time to move on,” says Dr. Neder. “We all know people who are in unhealthy relationships, but either will not or cannot leave them,” says Dr. Neder. “These people use all of their energies propping up the sagging relationship. Life is too short for this,” he continues.
In Dr. Neder’s opinion, relationships should enhance your journey: “The problem is, many people give up their journeys to take on someone else’s. It’s better to decide where you’re going, find others who are on their own paths and then see where you might fit together”, he says. “Give more thought to what you are looking for before creating your relationships”, he advises. The problem comes for many when children are involved. Let me make one thing clear… Children will always be traumatised after a marriage break-up. There is no avoiding this and the constant moving between parents and the emotional upheaval will have a long-lasting effect.
Anyone who says that the children will adapt is only right to a certain extent. The children will adapt because they have to but it is the very process of adaptation that often leaves the scars. This fear of affecting the children is often the factor that keeps warring couples together “for the sake of the kids”. However, seeing two parents fighting and not agreeing is also traumatic.
No-one likes a break-up. It is an emotional process that we could all do without. It is often only later that we gain the insight we need to truly assess where we went wrong, where our own responsibility lies and where we can truly learn from the experience
Dr. Nicholas Jenner is a Counseling psychologist in private practice working with individuals, couples, groups and companies globally. Online therapy is, in my experience, effective for treating a number of major conditions. Are you having issues that you need to talk through? I have a range of plans that can help you get the help you need. Online Therapy details : Here ……