Mean, Dumb, Crazy, Ugly or Smelly? Leave!
Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay
So much of this world is based on illusion, temporariness, and disposability
- Gillian Anderson
Assumptions are the termites of relationships. I wrote that.
- Henry Winkler
Relationships - of all kinds - are like sand held in your hand.
- Kaleel Jamison
Is your relationship an equal partnership?
by Neil Rosenthal
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you decide whether to stay in or to get out of your relationship, taken from Mira Kirshenbaum's book Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay (Plume):
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist, specialising in intimate relationships.
Source: The Dominion Thursday 13 April 2000; photo source USA Today Friday 15 March 2002
Getting bent out of shape?
Search for a Soulmate, or Love the One You're With?
Romance Wins Out:
Source: Gallup poll sponsored by the National Marriage Project, Rutgers University.
by Karen S Peterson
Research suggests it can work out okay either way...
Some people believe there is one special soulmate somewhere in the universe meant just for them. But others say that's romantic mumbo jumbo. A deep bond develops only after years of working to make a relationship last. The soulmate theory is the stuff of movies and fairy tales, as well as fodder for researchers who study love for a living. But many marital therapists tend to believe the opposite, pitching their tents in the "work it out" camp. Now, research to be presented to the American Psychological Society says neither belief is "right" or "wrong" - either can lead to a successful relationship. The work-it-out partners "do manage to work hard on their relationships, but not necessarily harder than those who are satisfied soulmates," says Renae Franiuk, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
The two theories are part of a new field that investigates how attitudes and beliefs about relationships formed before couples even begin dating may influence how the romance plays out. The idea of a soulmate is often credited to the philosopher Plato, who said a perfect human was tragically split apart and we are destined to spend our lives trying to find our missing other. The concept has been gaining steam for the past couple of years, ever since a Gallup Poll found that most young adults believe in soulmates.
The idea is catching the public's imagination. Increasing numbers of self-help books and websites trumpet how to find the mate destiny has reserved for you. But the idea of soulmates draws stinging reviews from many who monitor the future of marriage. Atlanta psychiatrist Frank Pittman, author of Grow Up!, says it sounds like "magic. It is an irresponsible effort at bypassing the hard work, the negotiation, battles and experiences of being together. The idea is like cotton candy. It is something that goes down easily without having to chew it."
Franiuk, however, says those who believe in soulmates will fight to make the relationship work. Those who think they have found the right one "will work very hard to stay with him or her," she adds. "They will go out of their way to exaggerate their partner's strengths or downplay their flaws. They will frame a negative as a positive, such as calling a selfish partner 'somebody who will stand up for himself.'"
There is a hitch, however. If a partner decides his or her love is not a soulmate after all, the disillusioned one may bail out early. The fear is "well, if this one is a dud, I'd better move on quickly." These lost souls "will exaggerate a (current) partner's flaws and downplay strengths," Franiuk says. "They are very dissatisfied." Franiuk's research team was formed at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. She has spent six years formally studying 1,500 college students, most of them single, and interviewing hundreds more. The majority filled out questionnaires; about 100 were tracked for eight months. Both men and women tend to the romantic view, she finds. Overall, about 50% strongly buy into the soulmate theory, while only about 15% strongly endorse the work-it-out concept. The rest are neutral. The practical partners, those who believe in working it out, are smack in the middle on the satisfaction charts, Franiuk says. They are less satisfied than soulmates who believe they have found their one and only, but happier than romantics who think they have linked up with the wrong partner and must move on.
Not all experts concerned about the chances of happily-ever-aftering pooh-pooh the idea of looking for one's soulmate. Diane Sollee, founder of the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, refuses to pour cold water on those who believe in a destined love. But she cautions that looking for a soulmate "is okay if partners realise that finding this mate who feels so right is just the first step in a long process. And that (process) will focus on how to make love last and to grow together as lifemates," not just soulmates.
Source: USA Today 29 May 2003 illustration by Suzy Parker; table information: Renae Franiuk, University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point
Signs of a Bad Marriage Show Themselves Early
by Abigail van Buren
Two weeks ago, my husband let it slip that he wants a divorce. Since we were married, his personality has changed completely - he is not the man I married. I would like to pass along some tips for anyone considering marriage, and share some of the bright red flags I chose to ignore.
I am now 100% disabled and in danger of losing everything. I was taken in by someone who came to regard me as a disposable item. I only hope my letter will save someone else from what I'm experiencing.
Eyes Wide Open in Mississippi
Dear Eyes Wide Open:
Your letter is brimming with well-thought out advice, and I hope my readers will heed it. Now I have some advice for you: Start asking around for the name of the best divorce lawyer you can find, and be prepared for a fight. I wish you luck.
This article is only written from the woman's point of view (if she's disabled because of her husband and yet HE left HER, one wonders just how valuable her insights actually ARE) - but of course there are women who are to blame if a marriage doesn't succeed. I would expect some of those causes would include
Send me an email if you think of important items I've left off...
Breaking the Silence
To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
- Abraham Lincoln
Silent gratitude isn't very much to anyone.
- Gertrude Stein
In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface,
- Alexander Solzehnitsyn
"I have come to believe over and over again," the poet Andre Lorde said, "that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal, and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised and misunderstood. For it is not difference which immobilises us most but silence."
The Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko said we live in strange times "when ordinary common honesty is called courage." (That's a discouraging thought.)
This interesting painting is meant to illustrate "swathed realities and strained relationships..."
I think it portrays that concept rather well...
Something about the picture reminds me of an advertisement for Viagra (probably that all problems are simple and it only takes one thing and everything will be fixed. Life's not really that simple, though.)
Source: print of a painting by artist Nilufer Tokay 1998
For articles on affair motivators, changing relationships, do-it-yourself psychotherapy, lies, insincerity, social graces, cosmetic surgery, roots of culture, self-deception, love, and reunions of lost
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