You are going to have to look at yourself long and hard before you blame the faults of your ex-partner for your divorce. Yes, they may have some problems but you can’t do anything about them – you can’t fix them. The only person you can change is yourself.
Have you ever heard of the 7 deadly sins? Well, Eddie Corbano, a well-known relationship counselor, came up with what he calls the “7 Deadly Sins of a Relationship”(2007). These are behaviors which are almost guaranteed to sink your marriage. Did you commit any of these sins in your last marriage?
This is a very destructive emotion that easily gets out of control. It can lead to obsessive behavior and attempts at controlling the other person.
»» Did you have suspicions about the spouse’s behavior?
»» If you thought they were cheating on you, did you address the problem openly, directly and quickly?
»» Or did you let the feelings fester and manifest to a point of no return?
»» When your feelings did finally come out into the open, were they founded or were you mistaken which, in turn, resulted in such distrust on both sides as to totally undermine the marriage?
This is a sign of Dependent Personality Disorder, “a pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive behavior and fears of separation (Recurrent Depression.com. 2006). It can make your partner feel trapped or smothered by your need for attention. Clinginess can be annoying and, in some cases, can be exhausting for both partners.
»» Did you find yourself always ringing your partner, no matter what time of day it was or whether they may have been busy at work?
»» Did you make sure that all of your free time was spent with your partner with no life, hobbies or interests of your own?
»» Did the insecurity of him or her leaving you have you worried all the time, even if there were no signs that this would ever happen?
Lack of respect and inattentiveness
“Every fulfilling relationship is based on mutual respect. Without respect, there will be conflicts or even abuse” (Corbano, Ibid). While most people know that spouses should always show mutual respect towards each other as part of a healthy and happy marriage, in many instances what looks like respect isn’t always respect, or is really only partial respect.
Have you ever said or thought any of the following?
»» My spouse is a great parent and I respect him/her for that, but what they are really lacking is…?
»» I’m the man of the house, therefore I deserve more respect than my wife?
»» I earn more money in my job which means I’m smarter or more superior than my spouse?
»» I love my spouse but I really wish they would lose weight – I would love them more if they did.
Wrong ideas of a relationship
What did you expect from your partner in this relationship? Did you go into your last marriage for all the wrong reasons? Just a few of these reasons could be:
»» Were you feeling lonely and desperate for companionship?
»» Did the two of you share a great friendship with marriage being the next logical step?
»» Were the two of you under pressure from others to get married?
»» In an extreme case, did your partner threaten to end their life unless you married them?
Having expectations which were too high
If you are a self-aware individual and you have a good relationship with your partner, then you should have known what you were looking for in a marriage with that person. The reality is, however, that we all too often set the bar way too high and we are then disappointed when our partner doesn’t live up to what we expected or wanted.
»» Did you find yourself believing that you would have the perfect confidante, your soul mate and a perfectly compatible sexual companion all rolled up into one person?
»» Were you looking for someone with plenty of money who was also a great conversationalist?
»» Maybe you thought that someone who looked good on your arm was the perfect marital partner?
We stressed all through our eBook that communication was vital in order to achieve a low-conflict divorce. It is vital to a healthy marriage as well. When you quit talking you start to drift apart.
»» Did you find yourself keeping your thoughts about your spouse’s actions to yourself, no matter how big or small?
»» Were the two of you sat in front of your laptops/desktop computers night after night not saying a word to each other?
»» Maybe you disagreed about how to discipline the children and decided to just keep quiet and let the other parent do all the disciplining?
»» Or maybe when you were both headed for an argument, you decided to use the silent treatment instead?
»» Or did you simply get married because it was convenient?
Lost in routine
This is why people say they got “bored” with their marriage. Routine may be safe and predictable but it is a relationship killer.
»» Did you find that night after night, day after day, the routine was always the same?
»» Did the two of you make a point to go out occasionally to spend time together, or did you just sit in every night watching television?
»» Did you try to shake things up a bit in order to revitalize your marriage, or did you just let life simmer along?
The Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Recovery Program has an interesting procedure within it known as the 4th Step Inventory. You don’t have to be an alcoholic to use it. It is readily adapted to relationships and allows you to take a moral inventory of your good points and your bad points.
The purpose of an inventory is to discover your faults and your strengths. By not learning more about yourself and your own faults, you are only going to repeat prior mistakes and failures in your next relationship. The actual step reads as follows:
“Made a fearless and thorough inventory of ourselves” (Smith, 2001).
It’s important to remember that this exercise is not about other people’s behavior towards you. It is totally about your behavior towards them. The interesting thing about a personal inventory is that it is not all negative.
It’s a chance to learn about your positive points, too. You will learn about some interesting talents and gifts which you possess. This exercise has been compared to a businessman taking inventory of the stock in his shop. You are essentially creating a list of assets and liabilities of yourself.
Assets can be thought of as those parts of your life, personality and behavior which can be deemed as positive. They are the things that attract others and make you a success, both in your eyes and in others’ eyes.
Liabilities are those parts of your life, personality and behavior which are deemed as negative. These are the things that cause you to fail and may actually repel others or cause stress or anxiety in others.
The thing about liabilities is that they are often learned behaviors. You “learned” a solution to a problem that seemed to work at the time. Therefore, you repeated that solution in future situations. A perfect example of this could be:
»» You caught your first husband cheating on you, therefore, you keep a very close eye on your second husband. The problem is that your second husband is faithful and resents your suspicions. Hopefully your third marriage will be better.