Peter’s couple therapy blog

I had to ask my partner to be kind to me

This is the beginning of an article from a series The Guardian is running on the experience of a fragmenting relationship that leads to divorce.

“I have many moments that come to mind if I try to pinpoint when, exactly, it was obvious that my marriage was over. There are enough with hindsight that I often think “you idiot, it was so blindingly obvious, how could you miss this stuff?” But at the time, I didn’t see it.

Now though, two incidents stick out. Both are only seen from my perspective and you can bet that my ex would have many of his own, but they’re worth describing if only to show how mundane, how ordinary a breakup can be. There doesn’t need to be dramatic infidelity, or plate-smashing arguments. Sometimes, a handful of tiny sad moments are enough to indicate that a relationship is fragmenting.

One is just a brief snapshot. We were on holiday and I was sitting in an expensive restaurant across from my husband, crying quietly and saying: “Can you please try and be nicer to me?” I don’t remember his reply, or what had happened at dinner to get us to that place, but I now look back and feel stunned that I got to a point in my life where I felt I had to ask my partner to be nice to me.”

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