This article was written by Leticia Summers
When looking back over a failed marriage, with hindsight we can see so many warning signs. Poor communication. The seemingly petty issues that somehow grew and festered with time. Raucous arguments.
But what we may not see is just how all this impacted our relationships with friends and family. A bad marriage not only negatively affects the two spouses involved—it can spread like a contagion, affecting our interactions with loved ones in ways that we may not be fully cognizant of at the time.
While those close to us are usually prepared to be a shoulder we can lean on in times of trouble and tumult, the fact of the matter is that even the most patient and understanding of friends will hit their limit. Too many people in difficult relationships fall into the pattern of bending everyone’s ear with their misery, dissatisfaction and drama. Ask yourself: Were you one of them?
For others close to us, it simply may become too painful to see someone they care about floundering in an unhappy marriage. Slowly, but surely, these people will drift away, settling for calls instead of socializing in person. Then texting in lieu of phone conversations. Eventually, even that interaction diminishes. Think about it: how many people in a lousy relationship do you choose to be around? How often do you seek out the company of people who constantly moan and complain about their spouse? Our unhappiness, simply put, becomes alienating.
But perhaps the biggest way a deteriorating marriage negatively affects our relationships with others is our own self-isolation. A bad marriage can drain you of your own innate joy. You may not have realized at the time, but at some point during your marriage, you most likely lost your joie de vivre, becoming, well, a drag.
It’s not just others who separated themselves from you. You unconsciously separated yourself from them, settling for nights in in front of the television or computer. Over time, as you drifted away from others, they drifted away from you.
Looking back over your marriage, it is important for you to see all the ways large and small it may have impacted your interactions with others, most especially those you relied on for your support system. It may seem counterintuitive, but as we lose our connection with those who were once the bedrock of our social and emotional support, we are more likely to settle into a bad marriage for the long haul.
After all, once isolated, an unfulfilling life with your partner becomes, well, all you have. Giving it up becomes that much more difficult to do. We effectively box ourselves in.
It is important to remember that a happy, healthy marriage is one that will expand your world – increasing your social circle, deepening your relationships with others and making you and your spouse a magnet for other happy people.
Leticia Summers has worked closely with divorce lawyers in Houston for nearly 10 years, and now writes about family, relationships, and divorce law full time. She lives in Texas with her husband and their greyhound, Badger.