I was at the gym the other day and my accountant friend asked me if the biggest reason why people divorce is due to money. Of course, that is the world my accountant friend lives in. I do not know if that means that a substance abuse counselor might think divorce is due mostly to drugs and that a tantric sex educator would think divorce is due mainly to sex. I do hear that a lot though- people say that marital issues are due to money, sex or drugs.
I would say that all these things could be involved in why a marriage may have strife that could lead to its ending; however, that is not the reason WHY people divorce.
There is one main reason why people divorce. It is feeling disconnected from their partner. That is it. Feeling alone and separated emotionally from one’s supposed intimate lover is the painful cause of separation and divorce.
When there are money issues, it is really that there is not a bonding around these issues. There is a lack of understanding or empathy for the other person’s wishes, fears or money beliefs. The couple is not communicating their differences maturely. Good problem solving around money only happens when there is connection and understanding which leads to healthy compromise and creativity.
Sexual issues are very seldom just about the sex. It is about both partners not connecting emotionally and/or physically. It is about not being vulnerable with each other and it is about not taking the time to slow down and “be together.” Sexual problems are never the cause of divorce. It is the avoidance of the issues and the avoidance of touch and affection that are the real culprits.
Drugs and alcohol are used to regulate one’s emotions in dysfunctional ways. The person using drugs is either using drugs to relax or to escape or to feel enlivened. This person becomes increasingly self-absorbed and does not consistently attach and connect to his or her partner. That partner feels alone and along with that comes feelings of hurt, disappointment, and anger. And the tragedy of that is that the partners can learn to use each other to regulate emotions and to feel more soothed, relaxed and enlivened.
There it is. Disconnection and feeling alone is the issue; the sense that you are not attuned to me or we are not attuned to each other. What leads to divorce is the sense that YOU DON’T KNOW ME! Money, sex, and drugs can most certainly be issues. However, people divorce when the issues are not faced as a couple unit whose intent is to get to know and understand each other. Couples who connect through thick and thin can usually handle any of these issues without ending the relationship.
I help couples every day deal with tough issues including infidelity, sexual challenges, in-law problems, constant bickering and co-parenting issues (among others). Whatever approach I take with these couples, it all comes down to giving them tools and helping them connect in loving and powerful ways.