Regular readers of mine will know that I was completely blindsided when my husband of seventeen years announced he was leaving me. I had thought that we would be married forever – I was very wrong. I grieved his departure HARD. Yet amidst the grief I slowly but very surely became aware of a new feeling – a feeling that up until that point was quite unfamiliar to me. That feeling? FREEDOM.
As I picked myself up from the ashes I gradually started to revel in my new-found single status, which eventually led me to a painful yet necessary truth about me, and my marriage: I didn’t know who I was outside of it. I had made that relationship the centre of my universe – I had very few interests outside of it; I’d made a habit of deferring to my husband on most things; I in no way resembled the young, ambitious and carefree girl I was before it.
In short, the relationship had all but destroyed my spirit. And I didn’t know it. But once I did know it – I couldn’t un-know it. And in turn I made the deliberate decision that I would never again allow a relationship to take over my being and destroy my spirit. Can you relate?
Here are five signs that your relationship may be destroying your spirit:
1. You can no longer be f*%ked with ROMANCE
Remember when even the simplest gesture from your partner (read: a sexy text; a single red rose; a promise of eternal love and devotion) was enough to make your heart swoon and grin and your mind fill with thoughts of love and lust?
Yeah – that ain't happening so much anymore. He's given up trying to impress you, but more importantly, you've given up noticing or caring. Most days you’re simply on auto-pilot, doing what needs to be done for all of the people in your world before collapsing into an exhausted heap in bed for the sweet sweet relief of sleep.
And as you try to fall to sleep, you begin to fantasize of the ultimate luxury of a bed to yourself, without your snoring and fidgety partner by your side. Why didn't anyone tell you it would be like this??
2. You put minimal EFFORT into your appearance/health/wardrobe
Your mornings revolve around making sure that everything and everyone but YOU is taken care of and sorted. You're happy to grab the first item of clothing to catch your eye in the five minutes you've allocated yourself to get ready - as long as what you're throwing on is half clean and wrinkle-free, it will do. You take ten seconds to run a brush through your hair and you're done! You don't dare look in the mirror for more than two seconds!
The same goes for your health – if you have kids you ensure that they are up to date with their various medical/dental/whatever appointments - yours will just have to wait. Somewhere along the way you (incorrectly) started believing that your needs were inferior to everybody else's – hence, minimal effort.
3. You no longer argue or fight for what you BELIEVE in
This is a big one.
In the early days of your relationship there were intense arguments - and the odd some slamming door - as you passionately fought for your beliefs and your right to be heard. The arguments were mostly resolved after a cooling-off period, with you and your beloved resuming your roles as equal partners in a healthy relationship.
These days, you can't seem to summon the bother or the energy to argue. It's just too hard. You pretty much just go with the flow, not worrying about questioning the status quo - even when you suspect something is off - because what does it matter anyway? Well, it actually matters A LOT!
The belief that a lack of arguments in a relationship or marriage is a positive sign is NOT necessarily a true one. I'm not talking here about abuse or domestic violence, I'm talking about an honest, open and healthy exchange of ideas and standing up for what you each believe in. If you are actually too bored to fight, even when there is something worth fighting for... you will slowly but surely destroy that spirit of yours.
4. You have become a couch potato
It's Friday night and two of your closest girlfriends have invited you out for a night on the town. Realistically, you could go. There's no real reason for you to miss out on the fun and stay at home. You know this, yet you decline the offer of fun. Instead, you spend the night on the couch, alone, not even engaging with your partner because he's busy in the next room doing whatever he’s doing!
Against your better judgment, you are becoming a couch potato. You tell yourself that you’re satisfied, that it is OK.
But this is not really satisfaction, is it? Somewhere buried inside of you is a spirited girl desperately wanting to get out in the world and try new things. Don't crush that girl's spirit! Get out there and live.
5. Your partner feels more like a colleague or co-parent than a mate
When you first decided to get partnered or hitched, you had an idealistic view of what it would look and feel like. You vowed that you would always try to keep the love between you and your partner alive. That no matter what - even after kids arrived - you would always put MAXIMUM effort into keeping things passionate.
Fast-forward to now, and things look and feel slightly different. With conflicting work schedules/kids activities/whatever else life has decided to throw at you, your partner somehow stopped being your lover… and instead became a part of the tag team. Text messages and phone calls are now usually just directives or instructions, and good morning kisses are now no more than a hurried peck on the cheek as one of you flies out the door.
Of course, you still love your partner, or you at least think you do. But you aren't in love, and possibly haven't been for quite some time. Somewhere along the way, things just changed. And those things seem to be slowly but surely destroying your spirit.
But you know what? It’s not too late make changes, whatever those changes may be. Remember, you only have one life. Ask yourself what it is that you want from this life. Ask yourself if you are living your best life, a life that is authentic to you – the true you. Decide not to settle for anything less.
Do you feel - or have you EVER felt - that a relationship is destroying your spirit? Please, share in the comments!
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