5. There’s a gender disconnect (and we need to stop ignoring it)
The messages I have received after launching this week’s episode ….When Is It The Last Straw, have been wonderfully supportive and make me feel less alone. Yet it also reminds me that so many relationships are struggling to communicate and fulfill unmet needs and desires. What does it take for our is to convey to our our partner that something needs to change immediately if we are going to stay together? For me, it was a recent outing to an event which I have expressed hundreds of times throughout our marriage that I don’t feel comfortable attending, and isn’t good for my well being. Walking through the door that night, I couldn’t believe I was back in that environment, with little to no acknowledgement of how hard it was for me. I didn’t feel seen, heard, or appreciated. This negative experience opened the historical floodgates. I could not help but feel overwhelmed by the recurring thought in my mind - “why the fuck have I allowed this all to happen?!” During the episode, I say, “I’m going to get my needs and desires met. I just need to know if it’s going to be with you.” Of course, I desperately want Adam to be the one who is going to give me all of these things I’m craving. But I also know that time is of the essence, and I need to see that he is actively putting the effort forth and working towards a more reciprocal partnership.
4. “I Need To Know If My Needs Are Too Much For You.”
It’s one thing to go through an excruciatingly hard time. It’s a whole other thing to have these extremely personal conversations and out it out for the whole world to hear. But I know how important it is. I know just because most couples aren’t public in their struggles does not mean they don’t have huge conflicts. And I know how powerful it can be to hear someone navigate a really tough conversation that they want to have. But what is the “right amount” of struggle in a relationship? If we never struggle, we are most likely not growing as a couple. It also leads to the question of whether there is any passion left in the relationship, or if one or both partners have simply given up or become complacent. How many chances do we give someone? How do we decide that this is the absolute last chance? These are all such tough questions, and unfortunately, also extremely subjective and situational. But, without unequivocally communicating our needs and desires, the opportunity for a person to change is non-existent. Subtly and extremely overtly, I have made my needs evident to Adam. But it was this statement, “I need to know if my needs are too much for you and more than you can give,” that impacted him in a different way. What I was saying at that moment was, “I am no longer waiting to find out if you can’t fulfill my needs. It’s yes or no. Now or never. The ball was now in his court. Is he willing to do the work? If he answered that he could fulfill my needs, then the only acceptable answer to that question is a resounding “yes.”
3. What Does Doing “The Work” Look Like?
I’m exhausted. I don’t have the energy to walk my partner through the steps on how he can start to show up on all the different levels. “Doing the work” looks different for everyone. My comfortable outlets for self-growth look much different than someone else’s. I love writing. I love therapy. I love group discussions and environments filled with humans learning together and from one another. I cannot choose how my partner will begin his own journey to evolve and learn. And honestly, the mode in which he decides to pursue this fresh phase of exploration and healing doesn’t matter to me. I just want him to step up and show that he’s in “it” as deeply and authentically as I am. This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to pass along podcast episodes, articles, books, memes, Ted talks, stand up comedy routines, etc. from time to time that may give him a more well-rounded understanding of the issues. Hopefully, he’ll take the opportunity to listen, read and watch to supplement whatever ways he’s already investing in the process.
Here are some resources to help partners to have the hard conversations and do the work!
Awakening the Sex Talk Demons Podcast Episode
2. But Don’t Take My Word For It….
As I said before, the messages I get after episodes in which Adam and I have the hardest conversations always reinforce the fact that so many couples are struggling to get their needs met. But the real proof is in the evidence, the research, and the statistics that all lead to the same conclusion concerning “the great disconnect” between partners. Research shows that at least 70% of separations are initiated by women. Whether it’s because women become bolder, less apologetic, and more brazen as they get older, or because they realize that there is little hope to repair a broken relationship, wives are refusing to spend the rest of their days in an unsatisfying union. One term we discuss at length in our most recent episode is Gray Divorce; the term used to describe couples who are parting ways over the age of 50. One in three divorces take place in couples over the age of 50. One in four take place in couples over the age of 65. Listen to our episode to hear more shocking statistics, and our somewhat heated discussion and differing opinions concerning the “why.”
Marriage and Martinis’ Poll Results For “When Is It The Last Straw:”:
These polls took place in the Marriage and Martinis Instagram Stories. Thousands of people in our social media community responded. Polls are always anonymous. Follow us on instagram if you would like to take part in these polls and get involved in episode research.
WOMEN: If you are married, and have been for over five years, have you ever considered leaving your partner?
MEN: If you are married, and have been for over five years, have you ever considered leaving your partner?
WOMEN: If you've been married for over 15 years, have you ever strongly considered leaving your spouse?
MEN: If you've been married for over 15 years, have you ever strongly considered leaving your spouse?
WOMEN MARRIED TO MEN: If you've been married for over 15 years, have you recently ever contemplated if life would be "better" if you left your male partner?
Just as a very fleeting thought: 36%
Somewhat seriously: 23%
WOMEN: If it wasn't for shame, stigma, kids, and/or finances would you think more serioulsy about leaving your spouse?
WOMEN: If you left your spouse, what would be your dating/relationship preference?
Stay Single for a Long Time: 57%
Men Only: 32%
Open to Dating Women/Men: 9%
Women Only: 2%
WOMEN: Which most strongly resembles the reason you've thought about leaving your spouse?
I Need/Want More: 35%
Fighting/Arguring/Too Many Differences: 35%
Romance/Intimacy has Faded: 22%
Infidelity (Physical or Emotional): 9%
MEN: Which most strongly resembles the reason you've thought about leaving your spouse?
Fighting/Arguring/Too Many Differences: 34%
Romance/Intimacy has Faded: 33%
I Need/Want More: 21%
Infidelity (Physical or Emotional): 11%
Have you heard of "gray divorce"?
1. Glimmers Of Hope For A Better Future.
Some might say that romantic relationships shouldn’t be this tough to navigate. I won’t disagree that it seems that the amount of work Adam and I do to try to get to a place of calm and flow is far more challenging than I ever could have anticipated. But I also know that even in times of struggle, we have this bond, connection, and chemistry that keeps us wanting to make it work. Honestly, I can’t think of anything long term that is worthwhile and meaningful but doesn’t take a whole lot of energy: career, children, close relationships, education, working on ourselves - it’s all a multilayered, complicated process. Hopefully, there are more moments of joy and passion than of frustration and conflict. I’m still in it because I am completely and totally in love with Adam. I love our fun. I love our laughter. I love our sex life. I love our Saturday and Sunday mornings with coffee, just being in the presence of one another. I love thinking about traveling together when the kids are off doing their own thing. I love watching him hug and snuggle with our kids. I love the version of us that is waiting to be fulfilled. Am I certain that we will get there? No. Am I hopeful? Yes. Is this the last time I will be having the conversation we had on this week’s episode? Also yes. Man do I hope that discussion won’t need to happen. That is so not how I want to mark the end of our love story..
Tune in Monday for our follow up episode to When Is It The Last Straw to find out where we are now, and what we’re doing to move forward.
CALLING ALL MIDLIFE GODDESSES! Join me and Sex and Intimacy Coach, Leah Carey, for our dynamic, refreshing, live, virtual workshop On January 25th, 26th, and 27th. Beyond Permission: Unleashing Your True Sexual Self In Midlife will bring powerful women together to shed old stories, rewrite our personal narratives, and embrace the truest version of our sensual and sexual selves. Join us as we redefine what your intimate life can be and create a new roadmap for the future.
Let’s unleash the truest version of ourselves together! Join the waitlist here!
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