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Sometimes the killer of relationships isn’t a lack of trust, a lack of communication or arguing with your significant other. It’s simple indifference.
A relationship can survive most things if both people involved in it are committed to the other person and act with respect toward the other. It can survive the death of our parents or the birth of a child. It can sometimes even survive an indiscretion (although such a behavior shows a shocking lack of respect for one’s partner). It can survive layoffs and career changes, of going back to school, or buying your first home together. It usually can even survive the wedding, one of the most stressful things adults go through in their lives.
A relationship can survive angry tirades and arguments that span endless lonely days and nights. Anger means you care, even though you are caring in such a way as to negatively affect your partner. Relationships can, with some difficulty, survive lack of communication or communication problems.
Communication is one of the key ingredients to a successful relationship. Successful couples don’t always agree, but they let each other know what’s going on in their lives, and how they’re feeling (especially when their partner does something that sparks a particular emotional response in the other person). Relationships survive with poor communication, although they tend not to be happy ones.
What a relationship has real difficulty surviving is when two people have gone into “autopilot” mode and become indifferent toward one another. When you’ve given up on emotion entirely, when you feel nothing toward the other person, that’s a difficult thing to come back from. Communication appears to be taking place, but it’s just shallow talk — like two acquaintances might do who just met on a plane.
Think about it. Even when we argue, we communicate with the other person — we express our disappointment, hurt or anger for some perceived slight or harm. When we distrust our significant other (for whatever reason), it hurts because we care enough to want to trust them in the first place. Cheating hurts most people not because of the act itself, but because of the basic violation of trust and respect in the relationship. The fact that it hurts, however, signals we care. If we didn’t care, it wouldn’t hurt us.
Indifference is not caring what the other person does in a relationship. There are no arguments, so everything may seem okay on the surface. Arguing stops because you don’t care if you were right or felt hurt by another person’s words or actions. Trust isn’t an issue, because you don’t care about earning or having the other person’s trust (or trusting them).
You interact every day in a vacuum where everything seems okay, because neither of you cares whether it is or not. It’s a perfect illusion that you both have silently agreed to live. But it’s not a relationship at that point anymore. And it’s hardly living.
Ideally, relationships help us not only love another human being, but grow as a person. They teach us lessons about life that otherwise would be difficult to learn, lessons about communication, listening, compromise, and giving selflessly of yourself and expecting nothing in return. Of learning to live with another human being and all that entails.
When we’ve closed ourselves down in a relationship, we’ve shut off caring. We’ve shut off growth. We’ve shut off learning. And we’ve shut off life.
Indifference doesn’t have to be the end of a relationship, however. If caught early enough, it’s a warning sign that something has gone horribly awry with the relationship, with caring about the other person and your feelings for them. If both people in the relationship listen to that warning sign and seek help for it (for instance, with a couples counselor), there’s a good chance the relationship can survive if both people want it to.
Beware indifference in a relationship. If your automatic response to your significant other’s question always seems to be, “Whatever,” that may be a sign that it’s creeping up on you. If you still care about the other person in your life and the relationship’s future, you’ll listen to it.
He’s Indifferent to Me…Does He Love Me?
Indifference hurts, especially when it is your beloved person that backs up in silence. This kind of coldness and silence hurts badly. You better have him yelling at you and spilling all the words out expressing his emotions. You keep asking yourself: “Why is he acting like that? Is there anything I need to worry about? Maybe it’s a sign he doesn’t love me?”
Indifference has many different faces. I will cover some of them. Maybe this will help you to understand what’s hidden behind this mask of indifference and you’ll know what to do. I will address women in this article, because it is them who face this problem more often. However, it doesn’t mean men shouldn’t worry about the issue of indifference, therefore they should find some practical tips, too.
Attacks of indifference
The conflict between you and your husband reaches its peak, yet he takes off to another room and starts reading a book or as usual watch TV. He doesn’t react to your tears, reproaches or words as if you don’t speak at all. This goes on for the whole evening or even a week. But eventually you both have to solve this conflict and make up. However, once you start complaining about him being indifferent he replies: “But I didn’t say or do anything bad to you”.
You would be surprise to know that indifference is considered one of the forms of aggression. In the given example your partner isn’t acting indifferent in the whole situation. He becomes indifferent when the conflict really burns out to its highest level and your partner becomes overwhelmed with anger, which you might not predict from his actions. He fights with indifference as long as he is angry with you. This kind of aggression hurts more than a raised voice or a bad word. One thing is to withdraw, read a book, calm down and pull yourself in so that you could get back to conversation, and another thing is to act indifferent intentionally, not to react to your partner’s feelings and thus punish her this way.
What to do? A person with attacks of indifference should understand that this indifference is really nothing but sort of aggression for which he is responsible just like for any other emotional attack. If you face this indifference, you should stop pouring accusations like “how can you treat me like this?” Rather thin: “OK, he is hurting me this way because he feels anger and this is how he expresses it. I too feel anger. What should I do it?” Once you define your feelings and emotions, you will know how to control them. In this case it is better to withdraw yourself and get back to solving the problem and conflict when you feel emotions chilled out and you can again think and talk rationally.
Would you like to know more? Check out this site or visit my blog ,watch video and find more tips, advice and answers to your questions about love, broken relationship, magic of making up and much more…
Wall of indifference
There are people who live surrounded by their defensive fortress called “ME MYSELF AND I”. And beyond this wall there live all the others, including the closest and beloved people. For people like this, indifference seems the best position in life, while emotional sensitivity is just a silly sentiment. If your partner acts like this and you are far from this, ask yourself why the heck you are with him in the first place. OK, love ways are unknown…
So what to do? The reason why your partner is such an indifferent person lies in his early childhood: maybe some trauma or most usually his parent’s behavior influenced his nature. One thing is certain-it is extremely hard to break this wall of his. Sometimes the life itself and some deep shocks break the wall and frees your partner. Sometimes, all though very rarely, you as a very loving partner can wake emotions in such a man, but it is a long and hard work. This is kind of a psychological matter that you have to deal with. If you are still willing to spend all your life with such a man but don’t want to become an iceberg yourself, it is essential to feel your man is at least showing some will to change and free himself from his shell of indifference. Otherwise living with him will be a constant emotional self-hurting.
So close, so distant
There were times you both cared for each other’s feelings and thoughts, dreams and interests. But in time this interest quieted down and you both don’t feel the need to care too much about your partner-you feel like you already know everything about your partner, his sensitivity. You feel like you’ve been disappointed enough, hoping too much to be understood, consoled, appreciated. You got used to your partner’s little doses of sensitivity and, unfortunately, you turned empathic as well. However, you know clearly you want a different relationship.
What to do? Advices like “become more sensitive and more interested in each other” sound logical and correct, but hardly adaptable in reality. The old patterns of behavior make obstacle towards it. Start from the other point. One of the ways to revive your relationship is to remember what you both liked to do together when your relationship was flourishing. Write down a list of those things and DO! Maybe it is a trip, movie watching all night or a poker game, but it might draw you back together and create new discussions during which you might sincerely look at each other in a new light and fall in love again with your partner’s personality.
Indifference in a Marriage
Often when people ask me for signs that their a marriage is potentially over, one thing that I will often mention is indifference. People will often think that if they are very angry with their spouse, or hate their spouse, or resent their spouse, then these things are all indicative of the beginning of the end. However, in actuality, these things often show that one or both spouses still care enough to become angry or frustrated.
The phase past this one (anger, jealousy, frustration, etc.) is true indifference. In this phase, people are approaching a more healthy place. They aren't angry. They aren't conflicted. They aren't indecisive. They know that it's very likely that the relationship has reached it's natural and healthy end. And, although they may be sad about this or even grieve it, they can let it go because they know that they did what they could but the marriage couldn't be saved because both parties are better off ending it.
However, some people will think they are indifferent when really they are just tired and need a pause. I actually see this quite a lot. They will say things like "I'm at the point where I just don't care one way or another any more," but then a few days later they will be furious, sad or frustrated again. They were just caught at a time when all of the fight had gone out of them as a means of self preservation. So, in the following article, I will try to offer some tips to help you determine if you are truly indifferent in your marriage or if you're just tired and don't know where else to turn.
Determining If You're Indifferent In Your Marriage Because You're Really Done Or Because You Don't Know What Else To Do: Usually final indifference comes after you and your spouse have methodically yet wholeheartedly gone through several potential solutions and have come up short. You might well be disappointed with this but you know that you've given it your all and that there was nothing else left. Generally speaking, it's rare at this point to place the blame. You can usually look back and see that you both participated and it just didn't or isn't working.
In contrast, the type of indifference that comes when things haven't naturally or completely ended usually comes as a pause in a very volatile process. It's usually where one or both people throw up their hands in frustration and declare that they are simply done, that they don't have any more to give or anything else to try. And yet, when one or both spouses attempt to move forward with a separation or final solution, that's usually where the indifference or pause will stop. That's when you will begin to see the anger, sadness, or frustration. At that point, it becomes clear that things have not been completely worked through. There are still residual feelings which may not manifest themselves as you might have expected.
Exercises To Help You Determine Which Level Of Indifference You Are Experiencing: Often, it can be helpful to go through a series of "what if" scenarios to help you to determine your true feelings. You might want to ask yourself "what if" your spouse remarried. Or, "what if" your spouse became ill. Or, how would you feel if they needed something from you two, three, or four years from now. Would you be receptive to them and care about them even after this separation or would you feel that they and your life as it is now were so yesterday and although you might feel compassion as you would for any one else you shared things with, that's as far as it goes.
Another thing that you might want to ask yourself is "what if" your spouse totally had a change or heart, attitude, or actions and began to give you more of what you need or to successfully address those things that need to be addressed. Many people get stuck in the thought process of "well, that's never going to happen so I need to just let it go instead of just continuing to get my hopes up only to be disappointed and let down."
Also, we are sometimes caught up in who's wrong and who's right and what each of you "should" do rather than worrying about what actually needs to be done. Sometimes, I can see that if just one party in the marriage would budge, even a little bit, the results might have been different. But, they're playing a game of chicken. No one is willing to take that first step. And so, they think they are indifferent but they are really mad and hurt and disappointed that their partner won't just meet them even half way.
And you know what? Often, the other spouse is thinking the exact same thing. You often won't get this with true indifference. This type of misunderstandings and drama is absent because these things have happened and have been resolved a long time ago. I hope that this article has helped to shed a light over which type of indifference you might be experiencing in your marriage.
It was my husband who had become indifferent in my own marriage. Unfortunately for me, I ignored the little voice that told me that my marriage was in trouble until it was almost too late. I just told myself that we were "comfortable" rather than accepting that we were growing apart. This almost cost me my marriage. Luckily, over time, I was able to swallow my pride and to reestablish intimacy and bring back his love.
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