When Is It Time To Break Up? All couples experience a Honeymoon Stage early in their relationship. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager or senior citizen. The first few months of any relationship is filled with excitement, compliments, flirting, validation and hot sex. It’s during the Conflict Resolution Stage when things start to show its true colors. This is the stage where individuals really need to observe what is happening with their partner and themselves when conflict arises. What happens during an argument? Does your partner act out his emotions like a five-year-old having a tantrum yelling and screaming, or an adult expressing her thoughts and feelings appropriately calm and collected? Some people fight dirty calling each other names accusing rather than taking responsibility for their part in the problem.
We’re all products of the families that raised us. So depending on what kind of parenting we received we may not have been given appropriate tools to resolve conflict or for even expressing our feelings. Some acquired these skills differentiating from our families. Others never quite got that lesson and for them when fighting it looks similar to two young kids fighting on the playground yelling at each other and name calling. Nothing gets resolved and both are angry and hurt. Another form of acting out behavior for anger, hurt and disappointment can be what I refer to as punitive in that the angry partner ignores you or does not talk to you for long periods of time rather than say they need a “time out” for say, 30 minutes.
As a Marriage Counselor working with couples who have poor coping skills I highly stress personal safety. While learning about their dynamics it is important to understand that although we may exercise inappropriate behavior at times it is never acceptable to tolerate abusive behavior. If you don’t know what abusive behavior looks like here are some examples:
1. Being called a bitch or prick or worse name
2. Getting hit (Domestic Violence)
3. Infidelity (Affairs – sexual or emotional)
4. Yelling and threatening – “I’m outta here” “Maybe we should just break up” (Emotional Abuse)
5. Saying you’re stupid – anything addressing your self-esteem, physical appearance, intelligence, talents, etc. (Psychological Abuse)
6. Forcing/manipulating/guilting you to have sex when you don’t want to (Sexual Abuse) – This can be for men and women.
7. When in conflict – acting like an immature person knowing there is another way to manage the situation. Not able to come to an agreeable resolution.
8. Continually blaming you and never taking responsibility for their part.
9. Control over money – (tell you how to spend your/our money)
10. Alcohol or substance abuse.
11. When you cannot go a week without a conflict and the problem continues with a sick vicious cycle going on.
If you are in this kind of a relationship whether early on in your dating or many years into your marriage please do not accept abusive behavior. Get the help you need so you know what to do and understand why you may be staying longer than you want to.
Call me at (858) 735-1139 and I can help you figure out what to do.