Although I am a Family Lawyer, and not a relationship counsellor, in the last 20 odd years I have seen thousands of people and listened to their stories about why their relationship ended and what has finally brought them to a Family Lawyer.
No two separations are ever the same, but there are a few common reasons why people divorce and separate. These are the Five Most Common Reasons:
1. Not taking time to be together
Your emotional energy is like your physical energy. If you run a marathon, you are unlikely to want to do any more exercise that day or probably for quite a few days.
Emotional energy is the same. If you spend your day dealing with children, teachers, workmates, bosses, employees, clients, friends and family, when the time comes at night to sit down with your partner, you have nothing left to give.
So many times I have seen and heard the story of the stay-at-home parent just waiting for the working parent to come home so they can have an adult conversation, but the working parent just sits and reads the paper, or watches the TV.
The working parent will say it is because they are exhausted and the stay-at-home parent will not understand how they could be exhausted when they have been the one running around after children all day.
This disconnect occurs over and over until the emotional connection is damaged or broken and someone mentions “divorce”.
Set aside time and save some emotional energy for each other. Someone described to me that the “last meeting of the day was with their wife.” I think this is a fantastic philosophy and helps you remember to treat your spouse as if you were meeting with an important client – e.g. you would never sit and read the paper and ignore them while they are talking.
2. Not making your family a priority
You and your partner got together and started a new family.
Whether you have children or not, you have now created your own family.
I commonly hear people complain that their partner spends more time with his parents or siblings than with them, or that their in-laws are constantly dropping in.
It can be particularly demoralising and disruptive for someone to have their partner’s parents involved in their day-to-day life.
In a choice between your partner and your family, your partner should come first.
3. Speaking badly about your partner.
How many times have you been out with friends and someone will make a “joke” about their partner? Sometimes it is funny and the partner joins in and there appears to be no hard feelings.
But what about when someone speaks badly about them and they are not there or they are upset by the comments?
From my experience, this is a bad sign that is the beginning of the end. The words “Love and Honour” are not in most wedding vows for nothing!
4. Flirting with others/establishing close friendships
The path to having an affair is a voluntary one. Everyone has a choice as to whether they commence the affair or not and “grand passion” does not remove anyone’s faculties to the extent they are unaware of what is happening.
You may think it is just harmless fun, and it may well end there, but at some point, you may make the choice to just go a bit further.
Everything new is shiny.
5. Happy Wife, Happy Life
It’s an old saying, but it has a great deal of truth (and I’m not just saying it because I’m a wife).
The marriages that endure are those where you can plainly see that the husband adores the wife and she reciprocates.
Given that, separations are instigated by women about 75% of the time, it is worth considering why they weren’t happy.
It is worth trying to really understand what your partner wants from you. There are some great books, such as “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, which give great insight into what keeps your partner’s “love tank full”.