Ditch ahead! How to avoid emotional divorce
• Even the fairy-tale couple is prone to this, so learn to appreciate each other as a couple, irrespective of your backgrounds, personalities and mistakes.
• Talking of mistakes, learn to solve issues as they come. Keeping grudges is a no-no here. Solve it and be done with it already!
• Nip the problem in the bud; they say slipping is not falling, but it should serve as a warning. Look out for the red flags, and please, don’t let your marriage slip into a coma.
• Communicate; it’s almost cliché, but talking helps. It doesn’t only allow you to vent, but to connect emotionally. Keep talking!
“Couples hold grudges against each other, to the level of resentment and deep anger towards each other,” she notes.
This resentment, she notes, crystallises into deep hatred and sometimes, could be even life threatening.
Common tell-tale signs are general unhappiness and emotional burnout. You don’t look forward to seeing your partner at the end of the day or a long trip. You no longer do the things you used to do together; and when you do it, it is merely for a public show. You live miles apart under the excuse of ‘work’ and sleep in separate rooms… sounds familiar?
Mostly, you will not refer to your partner as your partner, but merely “Him”, “Her” or “Baba/ Mama watoto”.
As Karina explains, couples at this level do not find common ground; neither do they enjoy intimacy.
“ Relationships are generally built on intimacy at different levels such as intellectual, recreational, spiritual, social, physical… In the absence of this intimacy, a relationship withers and dies. It takes time, and you hardly notice it,” she says.
Every married person will attest to this; every marriage has it own unique challenges, ranging from issues of trust, to finances, to small and sometimes trivial things. Conflict is, therefore, inevitable, but how you get through it boils down to how you resolve it. If you choose to let things lying down, and let grudges build up, chances are your marriage is headed south.
And emotional divorce gets worse; it is translated to your actions. Couples begin to think vengeance, instead of forgiveness. They play out different scenes of revenge in their minds, and eventually slip into hopelessness and sadness. Such couples live a lie, year in year out; they live a fantasy of life without the other, and fail to enjoy the present.
The most unfortunate bit is, the children bear the brunt of it all, as they are the primary victims of this volcanoes waiting to erupt. Young as they may be, you can be assured that they can feel the coldness and distance between you two.
Dr Wairire and Karina agree that the first step out of emotional divorce is first accepting that you have a problem.
“Admit all is not well in order to open a door to seek help and pave way for healing. Seek professional help in the form of a marriage counsellor, a mentor or a couple you look up to. You need to realise, you are not alone in this,” says Dr Wairire.