Recognizing the Red Flags

December 11, 2013

The first time a client told me her husband said that he needed space and wanted a trial separation for a couple of months, I wondered whether their marriage was heading for a divorce. By the third time I heard those words, I asked, “What’s her name?”

After reading a lot of articles about how women should keep the lines of communication open, and what women can do to keep her husband interested in her, and how it’s the woman’s job to provide a loving environment for her husband so that he doesn’t want to roam, I had had enough of that nonsense.

There are many people, men and women alike, who are not good communicators. They have difficulty expressing their emotions so they go into the passive-aggressive mode and act out their dissatisfaction with the relationship.

Some have extramarital affairs, some plant themselves in front of the TV as soon as they come home, and some pretend that nothing is wrong, even as they are freezing each other out.

You can’t have a meaningful conversation, let alone resolve emotional difficulties, if one of them won’t talk. It’s all well and good to say that a woman should provide a loving environment for her husband so that he doesn’t want to roam, as if she had that kind of power.

Women used to be held responsible for the breakdown of her relationship. We used to hear people saying things like, “She needs to stoke the fire,” or “She needs to be more inventive in bed.” That only works if both the man and the woman are trying to satisfy each other. If the man is simply not interested, she can be as inventive in bed as an accomplished courtesan but it won’t get her anywhere. An orgasm does not guarantee that the marriage is sustainable.

By the time a man tells his wife that he needs time out from their marriage, you can see the handwriting on the wall. He’s not interested in saving his marriage and time out is another euphemism for saying that he’s met someone else or that he’s spoken to an attorney to find out what a divorce is going to cost him.

For the marriage to work, both people have to have an emotional connection as well as a lifetime commitment to each other.

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