According to Micki McWade, divorce expert and psychotherapist, there are four insurmountable dealbreakers that can drive couples to breaking point. Surprisingly, having an affair isn’t one of them – it’s more often a symptom of deeper problems in the relationship.
Partners cease to be partners:There’s a parent-child dynamic where one partner feels like the parent of the other because he or she believes the other is immature, selfish or irresponsible, says McWade. One partner eventually tires of this dynamic and detaches. The lack of connection between the couple kills intimacy and sexual attraction.
Chronic complaining and blame throwing:When marital problems aren’t resolved, bickering and resentment builds. McWade says one or both partners feel the need to be ‘right’ all the time instead of communicating their problems and compromising.
Narcissism:While everyone is narcissistic to some degree, McWade suggests it becomes problematic when partners are not able to empathise and support each other. The general attitude is that the other partner has it easier.
Addiction:When a partner has a problem with an addiction, marriage and family becomes low on their list of priorities and this, says McWade, leads the other partner to feel angry or embarrass by their lack of consideration for others.
McWade explains it takes two people to keep the marriage alive and that it’s important to correct marital issues before they become habitual behaviours.
She says: 'It's difficult for couples to change long-standing relationship patterns by themselves because people tend to argue for their own points of view. Communication doesn't get anywhere without a neutral perspective. Patterns must be recognised and interrupted.'
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