People are wont to think of themselves as always being in control of their destinies. Indeed, human civilization has, for the most part, ensured the permanence of many of the institutions that we hold dear, including family and marriage. Nevertheless, we cannot continue to labor under the delusion that everything in the garden will always be rosy. Just like everything else in nature, people also change. Thus, it would be wise to accept the fact that some marriages do fall apart, and therefore certain allowances have to be made.
But why do some people who have committed themselves to each other separate? Psychiatrist and life coach Randy Dellosa, founder of the Life Change Recovery Center in Quezon City, says the most common reasons are infidelity and personality differences.
“Many people experiencing marital separation come to me and tell me that the reason behind the estrangement is betrayal. In the past, there were more females who suffered from infidelity, but now, the number of males is on the rise as well,” he says.
“The second reason is differences in personality. For a while, couples are able tolerate such differences, but it just reaches a point when they can no longer stand each other,” he adds.
“A good number of people who come to us say that the cause of the separation is infidelity. The spouse either finds out or learns from friends that his or her partner has an extramarital affair,” she says.
Other couples, Blesila says, start out having very high expectations about the marriage but end up realizing that the union is not what they thought it would be. The partners find out that they have incompatible personalities, and this problem soon combines with or translates into any number of permutations of various other problems: physical abuse, emotional instability and immaturity of the partner, financial problems, loss of the sense of responsibility, and so on.
She says that all these problems have their origins in changes that begin well before the physical separation.
“Since it involves change in nearly every area of family life and because many of these changes occur at the same time, each new change brings about a mixture of emotions and feelings of loss. Researches conducted since the 1970s have pointed out that marital separation is not a single moment event, but rather a multilevel process that involves a series of stages and transitions for families,” she says.