Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Group Therapy: Which is better - to be brutally honest or to keep the status quo?

Welcome to Group Therapy--Where we help each other through advice and comments.

Here is the question I got in email:  Can you help?  Do you have any suggestions?

Which is better - to be brutally honest or to keep the status quo?

After x number of years together and several kids, I'm to the point where I want to say 'let's just be friends.' Is it better to risk hurting someone you care about in order to find happiness in your own life again? Or would you stay and bite back what you want just to make someone else happy?



Anonymous.

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11 comments:

BabyMan said...

Honesty doesn't have to be brutal, it can be firm but compassionate. I wouldn't recommend settling for the status quo if you're going to continue to lose little pieces of yourself.

Instead challenge yourself, in a compassionate way, by picking up a little piece of yourself at a time without any making any demands whatsoever on your partner to make changes in themselves. Accept the status quo in them don't accept status quo in yourself.

Invariably, you will feel better about you and that light will (hopefully) shine in your relationship.

You have nothing to lose but yourself.

And check out "Passionate Marriage" by David Schnarch. Good stuff.

Nolens Volens said...

I always advise everyone to be honest all the time. They're always surprised and amazed by my relationship with my wife. The secret? You guessed it - being honest with each other.

If you feel that you are at the point where it would not benefit either one of you to stay in the relationship, then you owe it to yourself and your partner to tell it like it is.

Southern Sage said...

Well i think I'm with the other two guys. I say say it. It doesn't have to be ugly or mean.

You owe your spouse if you are unhappy, to tell them, hell odds are the spouse isn't all that tickled either.

Gucci Mama said...

Be honest. Definitely. No reason for either of you to be stuck in an unhappy situation. You're not doing anyone any favors by sticking around if you're miserable anyway, love.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I guess I'm a little different because I say you don't have to lie, but before you jump and start rolling down a hill where your momentum can't be stopped, to make sure you have covered all avenue's in yourself. Because once you say something like that in a marriage, it is almost irreparable if you decide that you were wrong. Words can't be taken back, especially words that are said by someone you care deeply about. It creates a scar, one that may get smaller in time, but never fully goes away.

Like someone said above, maybe you need to seek inside yourself to the root of why he is no longer someone you want to share your life with.

Why are you in this rut... what makes you feel like you just want to be friends? Is it important enough for you to say goodbye to not only someone who has up until that point been a huge part of your life, but also is the only father your children have known.

I mean, of course, if he is physically abusing you, or mentally belittling and abusing you, then no doubt get out.

But maybe your happiness can be found. Right now you may be tired and exhausted and all you can see is what isn't right and you are telling yourself that you would be happier alone raising your children. But is that being honest with yourself?

I'm just saying, if you are going to be completely honest with him and say irreparable things that will start the inevitable ball rolling to splitting up, then be totally sure. If you are not 100% sure that is what you want then keep the status quo until you have exhausted every avenue.

Anyway, that is just my opinion.

kyooty said...

Or are you just looking for someone to back up the decision you've already made in your head to leave? OR have you already left, and just want someone on "yourside".

Honesty is important from the get go. If you can't tell the truth to yourself? or your "spouse?" well then the whole thing is a lie.

I'm not saying stay if you aren't both happy, but I'm more or less saying were you ever all there if you think there may be something "better"?

If you want happy with this person? make the move to make it happy now.

Anonymous said...

Unless there are issues like abuse and complete lack of respect (in which case, why would you want to be friends?), more self analysis and reflection should probably be done first. I think that Baby Man and Shelle both had some great advice.

For many, "happiness" can be elusive, because it is a choice. Although a fulfilling relationship can enhance that feeling, another person can't make you happy. If you are relying on another person to do that, leaving the relationship isn't necessarily going to make you feel happy. Before you go down that path, it may be helpful to try changing small things that you don't like about yourself, then re-assess the situation.

Also, from personal experience, looking outside yourself and doing nice things for your partner, without any expectation of reciprocation can have some amazing results over time. It doesn't hurt to focus on the positive things you can see in your partner either (journal a few each day or week).

Given that it sounds like you have years and children invested in the relationship, I think it is worth exhausting other possible avenues before heading down that path.

~JT

April said...

I pretty much agree with everything Shelle and kyooty have written.

It's important to think about the why, like Shelle said, as long as you haven't already checked out of the relationship.

I was in your place and I knew all of the things that were wrong. I knew how they could be fixed. But the problem was that I was already done. Even if everything became perfect, I wouldn't have been happy and would've just found something else wrong, that wasn't wrong.

So, if you've not already checked out of the relationship, then figure out what the root of the problems are and see if they can be corrected. If you have checked out, then it's time to move on and make yourself happy. It's only fair to you, him and your children.

Good luck!

wendy said...

I was married to a man for 22 years ---trying to keep the status quo, before I just HAD to be honest with myself and our relationship. I. did. not. love. him. and as the kids were getting older I could not picture me spending time with HIM...alone.
It is hard, so very hard.
You can't say I didn't try, but mine is a long story, and I just didn't love him from the get go It was time to be honest about it.
But I agree with one of the other commentors, EXHAUST all aspects of the relationship, yourself, before making such a life changing decision.

The Bare Essentials Today said...

I say be completely honest and say it. No need to be brutal about it or mean, just be honest. I never understood why people stay in bad marriages because of the kids. Don't you think kids can feel the tension between their parents and know when something just doesn't feel right. I have two friends going through this right now and it baffles me. But I guess maybe it's because I don't have kids...but I feel strongly that if I did and the marriage I was in wasn't working for either of us, I would not stay.

T said...

oh, coming late to the party again T? yep, and everyone's said what there is to be said...

I'll agree with the majority on this one I think

Don't just "keep the status quo" - make your own status quo... do your darndest to find happiness with your spouse because you do already care about them - you do already have children with them - and you owe it to both of you to give it the old college try. (hmmmm... that sounds interesting in itself)

Don't allow yourself or your spouse to be miserable (if you're not happy - they're not happy... but that goes the other way too!)

by "bite back what you want" I have to wonder if there's another option out there though... and if I've missed the point of your question entirely...

WE BELONG