| It started long before those final blows that
ended up obliterating what was left of your once loving
relationship. The actions (or inactions) of the mate who delivers
the last hit is usually perceived as indicating which one is at fault.
Regardless of the fact that most states now issue no-fault divorces, it
is obvious that ex-mates have not been informed nor have their support
networks. Afterall, somebody has to be at fault and it is rarely
the one who is describing what an ass ____ or a b__ch their ex-mate happens
| Like a fight that takes place in a barroom brawl, no one
notices until after the first punch has already done it's damage.
Whoever delivered the hit that was actually seen by all has to be the one
who is to blame. It's rarely the first one. At least, that's
the perception of the onlookers.
My mother was fond of saying, "It takes two to do the
Tango." I suppose one could do it alone but it would look awfully
strange. Too many times, a mate who desperately desires resolving
the issues that are negatively impacting an otherwise good relationship
is left to dance alone. Despite the fact that there are definitely
some cases where a mate is totally at fault, this scenario is not the common
one. In each troubled relationship there is a ratio of one's culpibility
contrasted to the other. It is probable that one is at fault more
than the other. However, human relationships cannot be so clearly
delinieated by keeping a score of the blows dealt by each one involved.
There is overlapping, cause and effect, and a whole lot of general confusion
in between. More than not, both are to blame and he/she who denies
it may just have to take the lion's share of the responsibility should
the relationship end.
What happens when someone absolutely refuses to take responsibility
for their part in the failure of the relationship?
A classic example of this would be when the revelation
of an extra-marital affair takes place.
| The first impulse is to condemn the offending mate due to infidelity.
As a matter of fact, this would be the very end of the matter if that were
indeed the case. It is entirely possible that the innocent party
has been a very good husband/wife. However, this again is not usually
the reality of the situation. Even those who take part in such affairs
admit that they are wrong. Sad to say, the issues are much bigger.
The actual affair is a surface issue. The root causes
are the very things that really need to be addressed--the first punches.
Those which are purely motivated by sex are more apt to
be blamed solely on the offending mate. However, an extramarital
relationship where two people share a tender, caring, and deep kind of
love for each other is a dead give-away that there are serious issues in
their marriages that are not being resolved, let alone being addressed.
A dear friend of mine admitted to me that he had once
entered into such an affair with a younger woman. He summarized the
incident by stating that the other woman was everything that his wife was
not. However, his love for his wife was genuine enough for him to
admit his infidelity and throw himself at her mercy. Had she simply
forced him to take all of the blame in a flurry of self-righteousness,
it is highly doubtful that the marriage would have survived. Instead,
he recalled the pivotal moment when she held him in her arms, shed a few
tears with him, and simply stated, "This is not your problem. It
is our problem." Today, they are a very happy couple who have worked
throgh the root causes that brought their relationship to the brink of
disaster in the first place. Her part in it was just as real as his
and she took responsibility for her failures as well. She admitted
having delivered some of those first punches.
Many people cannot do this. As a result, longterm
marriages end because one mate sees no fault of their own.
After all the discussions, arguments, self-help books,
advice of friends, and visits to a professional counselor, what happens
when someone refuses to take responsibility for their part in the problems?
| It starts out as a discussion. Perhaps it is even
a confrontation. It does not go well. Voices are raised and
tempers flare. The arguments become more frequent. Family and
friends start to express concern. Some even take sides. Finally,
in desparation, you decide to see a marriage counselor. However,
your mate is reluctant to do so. You plead your case and he/she gives
in. After several meetings with the counselor, you gain one insight
after another. Every book that is recommended for you to read becomes
a gold mine of understanding. However, your mate walks away from
each session feeling that little has been accomplished and has even less
interest in reading the assigned materials with you. Not only that,
but he/she expresses doubts that the professional you are seeing is really
qualified to give you the real counselling that "you" need. Since
you are the one that is getting so much more out of it, therefore, the
assumption is that you are the one who has the most problems. Eventually,
you begin to feel exhausted and give up trying. Your mate just
isn't going to budge. It's all being passed off as your fault and
that is all there is to
Your counselor has some one-on-one meetings with your
mate. Some very plain-spoken discussions take place between
the two of them. You expect improvement. It only gets worse.
In the meantime, you have faced a number of your own demons
and have made some positive measurable headway. Still, you realize
that the reluctance of your mate to accept any personal responsibility
is hampering you. Your desire is to really dig in to all of the issues
that you now realize have limited you as a person and caused stress for
so long that you had actually gotten used to it.
It comes to the point where you feel totally defeated.
You are being blamed for everything that went wrong. You know that
it's not true, yet, you feel absolutely helpless to effect any positive
change between the two of you. Now, even your family and freinds
have taken sides. Should you be the one who finds yourself with very
little support, it only serves to prove everyone's perception that you
are indeed the one at fault. Afterall, it was "you" whom everyone
else saw throw the first blows when you decided to do something about it.
Your mate listened to the wrong voices and heard no fault.
How do you resolve the destructive issues that challenge
a relationship when the other person refuses to talk about them?
How do you go on if your mate refuses to discuss anything that challenges
his/her take on the situation even if he/she is clearly wrong?
| It really does take two to do the Tango. It also
takes two people to talk things out if a relationship is to have a shot
at succeeding. At first, there will be a lot of stepping on toes,
missed steps, and getting out of rhythm with each other. However,
like any dance worth mastering, the time will come when understanding,
with a little compromise mixed in, will result in needed resolutions and
At least, that is how it works when two people are willing
to communicate with each other, face the issues that are before them, and
take responsibility for whatever part they each share in the problems.
On the other hand, if your mate simply refuses to talk
any further about the situation due to his/her denial of any responsibility,
then you are dead in the water.
The person who cannot get past their own self-beguilement
in precipitating what is now a very bad situation may be the very one who
actually causes the end of an otherwise good relationship. Heaping
the major responsibility on a mate who does not deserve it is a sure fire
way to end a marriage. Furthermore, raising the bar on the other
person so high that they are unable to deal with it is an obvious demonstration
of not enough love left to work through the situation.
Claiming "no fault" leaves the other person totally alienated
You see, hate is not the opposite of love. The
opposite of love is apathy. When people no longer care, they
resist seeing anything that forces them to admit their own failures in
the relationship. Apathy stops listening and it also ceases any efforts
to talk out the problems.
The mate who finds him/herself totally frustrated because
the other mate checked out long ago will either react out of desperation
or respond sensibly. Good people can go either way.
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The mission of this not-for-profit website is to promote clear insights
and toleration regarding the many variations of primary relationships that
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with a better understanding of the numerous cultural, historical, preferential,
religious, sexual, and sociological approaches to coupling that have always
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the basic human need to love and be loved takes on many forms which are
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