In my practice, I've seen many couples come in with a variety of struggles, from betrayal to passive-aggressive behaviors, and the reality is, most of the struggle is simply isolation. The interactions might be filled with critical comments, sarcasm, and anger, making intimacy seem impossible and any remaining sexuality, seem superficial.
There are the questions.
- Should I divorce?
- Is this all there is?
- Is there ever a happy marriage?
- Will he cheat again?
- Will I always be tempted to cheat?
- What if I just don't love him anymore?
Women (and maybe you can relate) often report that they feel like a "blow up doll" where their needs are not met and, that their relationship seems void of intimacy, warmth and companionship.
(Men often report that they feel that the way to intimacy is through touch. This is where the isolation begins; lack of communication.)
If you feel that your partner is not meeting your needs, then you feel that you are not of value to them.
What does this do to you?
It might make you feel less than.
It might make you grab for sugary or refined flour processed foods, for that quick drug-like emotional haze that lasts a few minutes, only to have it crash and you reach again, beginning the binge-shame cycle.
It might make you look in the mirror and feel unattractive.
It could even make you avoid your partner because you feel that they are repulsed by you; so you protect your heart, and isolate with walls around you where you can't feel hurt but you also can't feel love.
What to do?
First, don't lose hope. I've seen relationships -even those riddled with betrayal or anger, not only survive, but thrive.
You can reunite not only emotionally but physically, while you learn to respond with empathy and help your partner develop empathy as well.
1. First, let your partner know that you have hope for the relationship and you want them to try to have hope as well.
2. Work on being honest with yourself and seeing your part, your "dance" in the relationship struggles.
3. Don't beat yourself up. Know that your relationship might be struggling but it does not mean that you are a failure or unworthy. Yes, you played a part- even if that part is staying with them, but that doesn't make you less valuable as a women, human or sacred being.
4. Adjust your moral compass. Replace anger with open-mindedness. Replace fear with the action of forgiving. Replace sadness with hope. It doesn't have to be overnight, but small chances can create macro results.
5. Focus on YOU. This is, by far, the biggest struggle I've experienced with my clients, believe it or not! So many women, when faced with a struggling relationship, focus only on their partner or the "relationship". Is that you as well? Do focus on yourself. Continue to work out. If you haven't been working out because you've felt depressed or down, then do begin a program or begin at minimum, taking walks. Take extra time when washing and conditioning your hair. Make taking care of your skin a sacred time. Read a good book, catch up with friends - you get the idea. Don't discount your own self in the name of the "relationship".
Not only is your relationship filled with hope, and you need not drown in isolation, but partnered or single, you are of value, deserve to be loved and, that means also, self-love.