The Danger of Straddling the Fence in Regards to Your Marriage
When people marry, they have great hopes and dreams for the relationship and their life together. Then sometimes, after they begin their lives together, they find themselves unhappy with the way things are turning out. This can cause them to consider leaving the relationship. During the time when they are thinking about ending the marriage and they are feeling unhappy, they often straddle the fence in terms of what to do. They wrestle with the pros and cons of continuing the marriage versus ending it.
Some people end up straddling the fence for years for various reasons. Some people say they are just staying together for the sake of the children. Others say they can’t afford to live on their own. When anyone straddles the fence in the relationship, the relationship deteriorates.
Maybe you’ve threatened divorce in the past or maybe you threaten it on an ongoing basis. Perhaps you and your spouse have even separated in the past. Perhaps you think that maybe someday you’ll leave, but you just aren’t quite ready to do so yet for one reason or another.
When people are ambivalent about their marriage, they often spend a long time straddling the fence. The danger of straddling the fence is that people become stagnant. They don’t improve their marriage, yet they don’t start working on any new goals. They may spend years or their entire lives just feeling like they are waiting.
There’s this sort of stale mate where people don’t want to devote any energy to the relationship, because they don’t think it’s worth the investment. People who know they are in the relationship for the long haul are much more willing to put energy and time into improving. But for someone who feels he is just biding his time, there isn’t much sense in trying.
Some couples mutually agree that they are on the edge. They may even appear satisfied and happy together on the outside. Their friends and family may be shocked if they eventually split. Maybe they don’t even argue, because they just don’t care anymore. They have resigned to live with a mediocre, mildly unhappy existence, until something changes. Yet, they don’t strive to make change.
Some people say they don’t leave because they are hoping their partner will change. Yet they don’t make any changes of their own. Instead, they just passively wait and perhaps even grow somewhat resentful when change doesn’t take place. They develop the attitude that until their partner changes, the marriage can’t work.
For others, they have focused on raising their children. They are good parents and they have busied themselves with their own lives but feel disconnected with one another. They may think that they’ve grown apart.
Many people don’t try to improve the marriage because they think it is too late. It’s too late to have a great marriage. It’s too late for anything to get better. That window of opportunity has passed in their minds. But it’s never too late to make improvements.
If you feel like you are ambivalent about whether or not you remain married, don’t just straddle the fence. Take stock of your relationship and what would make it better. Evaluate what you could do to change the relationship.
One person can make a difference in your marriage. So even if you don’t feel like your partner will make any changes, make some changes yourself. Actions speak louder than words. Change some of your behaviors and do something different. You might be surprised to see how your partner reacts.
Take responsibility for your own happiness. If you think your life would be better if you spent more time with friends, had a better job, or went back to college, consider making some changes to make it happen. Try to make your life better while you are married. When you feel happier about your life, you will likely feel better about your relationship.
Most experts agree that staying together for the sake of the children isn’t necessarily in anyone’s best interest, including the kids. It would be in the kids’ best interest to see their parents living happily together. Rather than waiting until the children are adults, take action now to try and improve the relationship.
Time is wasted when people straddle the fence so consider taking action. If you don’t know where to begin to improve the marriage, consider seeking therapy. Even if your partner refuses to attend marriage counseling with you, individual therapy can likely be beneficial. It is likely that there are some changes you can make to improve your situation and improve your marriage, even if your partner doesn’t take action.