However, it's as though there is a voice scrambler between the two. He is hearing 'Nag, nag, nag!' and thinking 'What is she complaining about? She knows I love her, and we have a good life' or 'I'm not going to some shrink. That's for people who have marriage problems.' At some stage the frustration just gets too much and the woman decides it's time to reduce her emotional investment in the relationship, going through a grieving process as she feels herself withdraw from her partner. At some other point, whether it's a year, two years, or longer, she announces that the marriage is over. Because the warning bells have not been heard until this moment, the announcement is met with shock and panic and, frequently, 'Okay, I didn't realize you were serious. I'll go to the counselling with you.' Trouble is, by this time it's often too late.
A separation can be emotionally devastating and the support of close friends and family can make all the difference to how you survive it. A relationship that was socially unrecognized or unacceptable doesn't raise the same levels of sympathy when it breaks up.
'What nobody seemed to understand was that I was in love with both of them,' Tracey recalled. 'I felt like I needed them both because they satisfied very different needs in me. Ron is wonderful to live with. He is stable, considerate, your classic "wonderful husband and father", but he is always so serious! With Tom everything was such fun. He was passionate, naughty, irreverent and he had an outrageous sense of humor. When Ron found out about it he delivered an ultimatum: "It's him or me." Well, I had the kids to consider so I felt I had to give up Tom. Nobody understood what I was going through. It was like they felt that I had no right to be upset ... "after all, it was only an affair." I still miss him desperately.'



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