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3 Things To Try If You Think Your Spouse Is Contemplating Divorce

From Ann Cerney’s blog

How are we supposed to know, 100%, that our marriage, or significant relationship, is secure? The dilemma is, by not believing in our marriage or relationship, we begin to shut ourselves off from our partner. Building defenses is a sure fire way of cooling things off and setting up some miles between us.

When your radar is up, you feel insecure. You need reassurance that your marriage isn’t on the rocks. Fight the urge to build defenses and try these things instead:

1. Go for transparency

Be open with him or her with your fears/concerns. When you begin sharing your feelings, you have to be prepared to really hear and see what comes back. This is not for the weak of heart or those who feel most at home in the lounge of denial. Your partner may confide in you that he or she is feeling low, or insecure, as well. It can really be an opening for intimacy, when one person opens up about feeling vulnerable and insecure.

Sometimes, though you have chosen this option, you may not feel completely confident with the results. Let me say this – that in and of itself is something to take note of.

If you bare your soul, make yourself openly vulnerable and willing to accept whatever the truth may be, you have done a great service to yourself and your relationship. If you do this, and continue to have a nagging doubt about the transparency coming at you from the other side, pay attention.

What to do: No matter what the outcome here, it only makes sense that you two see someone professionally. Ask – or insist – that your partner to go to counseling with you. A skilled therapist will get to the bottom of what is happening in the relationship. You both may be surprised at what is unearthed, but it’s worth it! Seek the truth, right!?

2. Be your own sleuth  

There are thousands of articles out there that will give you the basics on what to look for when you’re feeling insecure. While none of them, or even a combination of them, will give you 100% certainty that they’re faithful or going rogue, they are a place to begin. Here is a short list for you to consider –

  • Sudden or increased need for privacy of their device(s)
  • Marked interest in an activity or hobby that doesn’t include you, but involves others
  • Increased critiques of you, your appearance, behavior, friends, family, etc.
  • Significant change in money management style, spending more, changing passwords to accounts
  • Lack of interest in your appearance, or having sex with you
  • Apathy instead of arguing over typical hot points
  • No interest in planning for future vacations, outings and such
  • Sudden interest in his or her appearance, weight loss, clothing style, etc.

What to do: If you see a few of these changes in your partner, it may be worth having an open, non-confrontational chat with him or her. If you started with #1, this may be a logical progression. If you did not, I would urge you to try and muster up some vulnerability, rather than approach this with an accusatory tone. Remember when you were a toddler and broke the cookie jar? Nobody wants to be ‘busted’ when they have made a mistake. Start with vulnerability, a desire to understand.

Be open to what is really happening. Remember, you’re after the truth here. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken.

3. Take a good look at yourself

Are you a good partner? Would you want to spend time with you? Would it be fun, happy time, or something to do out of obligation? What can you do to make yourself the best partner you can be? He or she wanted to be with you at one time – maybe they still do!

What you do not want to do is skip this step. Do it before you do #1, or #2, because it’s a responsible adult thing to do when you’re in a committed relationship. Knowing that you can’t possibly be a great partner for everyone out there, are you a good partner to your partner? Do you know what is important to him or her? Do you think about how they’re feeling as life unfolds? Do you consider his or her feelings as you make decisions in your life? Is it possible that you are feeling insecure because you have some ambivalence about them? It’s all ok, whatever it is. The important thing here is to be as honest with yourself as possible. That’s how we work things out, and get to a place of authentic relationship with ourselves and others!


Ann Cerney

Ann Cerney is the director of Cerney Divorce, a coaching and parenting mediation practice in the Chicago area. You can reach Ann for a private consultation to talk about how to create a child-centered divorce. MORE >

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