A recent article in the UK Guardian about a wife, married 30 years, who suddenly received – to her shock – divorce papers from her husband got me to pondering: How is it that you could be married to someone for 30 years and not know if they are happy in the marriage or not? This seems a little bit disingenuous when it is examined under a microscope. At first, of course, the reaction is that the husband is a heartless, cold monster. And he probably is. But is the wife equally at fault? Did she sweep problems and tell-tale signs under the rug? Was she an innocent and loving wife throughout the marriage? Was the emotional connection there? Did she provide all she could to satisfy her husbands physical and emotional needs?
And the flip side is true. Sometimes the husband also says he was blind-sided. Again, this seems disingenuous. Especially in long term marriages. It is slightly more forgivable if you have known each other for less than, say 2 years and you had a short courtship. But less forgivable when there is a long term marriage or a long term relationship even though the actual marriage is shorter.
Couples undermine and diminish each other in different ways over the life of a relationship. They do so with ridicule, ignoring, blame, passive aggression, all forms of disrespect. The cumulative effect of this seems to be toxic to the relationship and then the other party suddenly one day decides that the camel’s back is broken. This is painful and hard and crushing to the ego of the person who is left. But is it really a surprise? Should it come as such a big surprise to the point that a person claims they have been broadsided? It seems disingenuous on a lot of different levels.
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