The other day, a friend of ours asked us about all the worst case relationship scenarios they were hearing. They wondered if people were still getting married because divorce rates are so high–(One source cites divorce is 50% for first marriages, 67% for second, and 74% for third ones).
Although we don’t do research in that area, of the people who contact us, they are very much interested in a committed, intimate relationship if not marriage.
So are people getting scared away from making relationship commitments because of statistics and what they see happening to others around them?
We don’t think so.
While we urge people to be open to making and keeping this kind of commitment, we also know that without the follow-through actions of doing what it takes to create the relationship you want–
A commitment alone is pretty hollow.
A lot can happen in a relationship, especially one that lasts many years, so we’ve identified 10 “worst case relationship scenarios” and some pointers on how to deal with them.
You (or someone you love) might be experiencing one or more of these right now and if so, we invite you to take conscious, positive steps toward what you want.
Here are the 10 worst case relationship scenarios (in no particular order)…
1. There’s been a drastic life change for one or both of you–the severe illness or death of a child, chronic, serious health problems, financial issues like bankruptcy, loss of a job, loss of a parent or becoming a caretaker for a parent.
We all know that drastic life changes can play havoc with relationships. If you’ve had a life change like we’ve described, the main thing you can do is make self-care as important as the other priorities in your life.
If you need the support from a professional, be sure to get it. Don’t go through your life pretending you aren’t being affected by the change. Take action to get the help you need.
2. You used to have a great relationship and now your partner won’t talk to you and you feel distant from one another.
It is true that relationships ebb and flow and in order to keep your relationship strong, you need to change and flow with it.
But you have to keep communicating to do that.
If either you or your partner has “clammed up” and won’t talk about what’s going on for any length of time, it can certainly lead to the end of the relationship.
One idea from our “Stop Talking on Eggshells” that you can try if this is happening to you is to be honest about what’s going on.
Be honest with yourself and with your partner about what you are experiencing without blaming either one of you.
3. You or your partner had or is having an affair and there are serious trust issues.
Trust issues, especially from past infidelity, can completely erode a relationship–let alone affairs that continue to go on.
Our advice–Get clear about what you want and what you and your partner’s commitments are to your relationship. If you’re tempted by an affair, even an emotional one, focus your attention on your relationship instead to discover what’s there. Focus your attention on making this relationship better if possible first.
If you need help, we offer concrete ways to build trust back in a relationship after cheating.
4. There’s a conflict of values between the two of you and neither person is willing to bend.
These different values can show up in many ways–raising children, dealing with finances, religious differences, cultural differences, and so much more.
When there’s this kind of conflict, one or both people are trying to change each other into something that isn’t and may never be.
Bringing those differences into the open, listening to each other and not making the other wrong is where you begin.
Then find out if there’s enough of an overlap of other interests and values that will allow the relationship to thrive or if you both might be better, happier people apart.
5. Your partner says “I’m leaving” or you have the urge to leave that you can’t shake off.
In committed relationships and marriages, a person who is considering leaving usually mulls it over for quite awhile before he or she acts.
If this describes you or your partner, it’s important to find out what you really want in a relationship and if this relationship can bring that to you.
The quicker you find clarity, the quicker you can make this relationship better or make the decision to move on.
If you need help, our “Should you stay or Should you go?” process can help you sort it all out.
6. You or your partner has addictions that interfere with intimacy and connection.
If you or your partner are numbing yourselves by using addictive substances, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to have a healthy relationship (depending on the severity of the addiction.)
If addictions are keeping you and your loved one apart, get the help you need from a professional. Don’t turn a blind eye to what’s happening or make excuses. It usually only gets worse.
7. You or your partner is blinded by jealousy.
Jealousy, especially when it’s considered “unwarranted,” can kill a relationship very quickly.
Again, whether you are the jealous one or it’s your partner, you need to both look at the problem and commit to healing it.
8. There’s emotional or physical violence in your relationship.
If there’s violence of any kind in your relationship, don’t make excuses for it–it’s a call for help. The best advice we have is to take action to get help.
If your relationship is filled with violence, even sporadic violence, thinking you can save him or her (if you are the victim) will never change things.
It’s a call for help–and that means outside help. If you are the victim, find a way to leave the relationship until you know the violence has stopped forever.
If you’re the one prone to violence, get help now. Don’t excuse, justify or apologize your way through life. Take action to stop it.
9. One or both of you are apathetic or bored in your relationship.
This is the silent killer that creeps into relationships and usually the two people don’t realize it’s happened before it too late.
If you feel this might be happening in your relationship, tune into yourself to feel what’s missing and what you want.
Breathe some life into yourself by finding a goal that turns you on. Remember you have to breathe life into yourself before you can revitalize your relationship.
10. One or both of you can’t heal after the pain of a previous relationship breakup or divorce.
We all carry unresolved emotions from previous relationships and many times, they are worked out in the new relationship.
But when the pain of the past interferes with the new relationship–when one of you lives more in the past than in the present–it can kill the relationship.
You can learn to come into the present moment and let the pain of the past move through you and dissolve.
It can be a complex process and we don’t want to trivialize it here but you can learn to see life differently–if you choose.
Okay, so we’ve given you our pick for the 10 worst case relationship scenarios with the hope that you will get a little insight into how to make some shifts for the better if they happen to you or your loved ones.
Our wish for you is happiness and love–and coming into consciousness about what’s currently in your life and moving toward what you truly want is a step toward that.