He / She has “checked out” of our relationship……

by Rod Smith

My spouse has “checked out” of our marriage. What can I do? (Prevailing theme of three letters received in the past 24 hours)

1. Relax. While it might seem impossible, the first thing to do is live a “relaxed life.” Don’t go off in a flat spin of activity. Do not presume the breakdown is about anything you are doing or are not doing. Assuming blame will send you on a wild goose chase and you will only end up more exhausted than you probably already are.

2. Hold your tongue. It is in the early or the “desperate” phase, when it seems as if a relationship is failing, that impossible promises are made and many hurtful things are said.

3. Get some distance. Try to see “the whole” rather than spend your energies focusing only on what is painful. Acquiring some distance or gaining a new perspective might only be possible once you have vented everything you are thinking and feeling to a close and trusted friend. Do not be afraid to do this. A good friend will be willing to hear you out.

Of course there is so much more to say, but a good place to begin is with SLOWING down so you have time to THINK! Hurrying to “put things right” or to re-vitalize your relationship will prove to be most counter-productive in the long term.

2 Comments to “He / She has “checked out” of our relationship……”

  1. Relaxation…what is that??? sleeping is near impossible when a 16 year relationship has ended. By no means has our marriage been easy…there has been a lot of turmoil, but not once did I ever imagine not growing old with my spouse, now he tells me he is “in love” with someone else. I did ask him to come back home but he has said that he doesnt know what he wants and that he is confused. We have a 9 year old daughter that idolizes her daddy. There have been a lot of harsh words said, we have only been separated 3 weeks. I feel totally empty and lost. I miss my family and what could have been for our future. I can’t even imagine starting over with someone new. I wouldnt even begin to know where to meet someone anyway. All I do is go to work, take my daughter to gymnastics and go to Wal-Mart.

  2. There you go — I told you it was (is) a tough request but until you find some release of the tension and anxiety you will not be able to see straight. I will be the first to admit that it is a tough call — but reacting and over-reacting to everything will hardly be too helpful either.

    Rod Smith

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