Letting go of a bad marriage is a good thing

I know it’s hard to let go of certain people — especially if you love them, if you are married to him opr her, and if you made a vow to be together “until death do us part.” But things happen. People change. Circumstances change. Feelings change.

If you have ever left (or are now leaving) a relationship because your mate is toxic, addicted, immature, mentally ill, or just not the right fit for you, you probably appreciate the saying, “When the wrong people leave your life the right things start to happen.”  SmellingRose

If you are being left by someone you love and you don’t understand and you’re hurt, angry and feeling completely rejected, you may read this and feel worse. But here’s what I know for a fact: There will come a day when you will understand why this had to happen.

Perhaps you didn’t realize how unhappy or unhealthy your relationship had become; maybe your life needed to take this new direction so that you could get the career or neighborhood of your dreams; or a certain amazing and much better-suited person couldn’t have come into your purview if you hadn’t gotten out of your comfort zone.

Did it ever occur to you that there is a bigger picture that you aren’t privy to? Maybe you’re being called to do service somewhere else. Maybe it’s not really a bad thing in the end.

One woman I worked with several years ago who had been a stay-at-home mom and part time artist. About six months ago, I was listening to my car radio and I heard her name as the next guest they were going to interview. What a nice surprise. After listening, I contacted her and found out that not only is she thriving post-divorce (a messy awful divorce that wreaked havoc on her and her kids), but she has gone on to have a killer career. She is well-known in the San Francisco art world, and she’s schmoozing with some big name people and doing a wonderful service for the community.

I see this happen all the time, especially for those who believe it can happen.

The moral? Stay strong and carry on. Trust that when one thing ends, new opportunities arise. You will feel better again in time.

This post was first published by Susan Pease Gadoua on her PsychologyToday.com Contemplating Divorce blog on July 18,2014. “It’s Okay to Let Go”

 

Sexless marriage or cheating spouse — what’s worse?

 

It wasn’t until 1993 that marital rape became a crime across the United States. But in some countries, wives still don’t have the legal right to refuse sex to their husband. But if a wife refuses sex, is her husband  justified in having an affair?

These were some questions raised in a few interesting blog posts, some as responses to reader comments, on Psychology Today. While there’s all sorts of discussions about marital sex or lack of sex, philosophy professor Mark D. White says, we rarely, if ever talk, about the ethics of a spouse refusing to have sex with the other for years. Is denying sex a betrayal?

Because we see sex as something that must be consented to, we are loathe to say a husband or wife “owes” the other sex, yet few people don’t want and expect a healthy sex life when they say “I do.” In the work we did for The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels, we asked soon-to-be-married couples to check off all the reasons why they’re getting married. Sex is among their expectations. Yet few people talk about how they will handle things if one or the other loses interest in sex especially since that happens more frequently than not.

Does an absence of sex in a relationship justify adultery, the good philosopher asks. No, White decides:

Whatever insufficient sex means to any particular person—even if that can be considered a betrayal of his or her partner’s obligation—the fact remains that adultery just makes it worse. (“Two wrongs” and all.) In addition, adultery brings a third person into what is a problem between two, which may only aggravate whatever problem led to the breakdown in sex in the relationship in the first place.

While we are certainly not promoting affairs as a way to deal with sexlessness in a marriage, we wonder about the many other ways spouses betray each other beyond just affairs or denying the other sex. Spouses can treat each other horribly, and yet we only get in a tizzy when one or the other cheats. Why is sexual fidelity considered the No. 1 marker of a good relationship?

As Mating in Captivity author Esther Perel so beautifully puts it:

I have a lot of people who come to my office who think that they are the virtuous people because they haven’t cheated. They have just been neglectful, indifferent, contemptuous, asexual, demeaning, insulting, but they haven’t cheated. But betrayal comes in many forms. Betrayal is a breach, the breaking or violation of a presumptive contract, trust, or confidence. While it is always involved in an affair, in most cases it isn’t the motive of the affair. An affair may be about completely different things but it implies betrayal.

Being “neglectful, indifferent, contemptuous, asexual, demeaning, insulting” is not loving behavior and is often as — and sometimes more — damaging as physical abuse (and there are some who argue that infidelity is abuse). And yet, there is no great societal outcry over ending those sorts of behaviors, just societal shaming and blaming of often-long-suffering spouses who cheat.

A poll Vicki ran on her blog indicates an overwhelming majority believe withholding sex in a marriage is as bad as infidelity.

What do you think?

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