Deciding whether to stay in an unhappy marriage or leave is possibly one of the hardest decisions a parent could make.
Sometimes despite the greatest ‘happily-ever-after’ intentions, a relationship can become a tense, unhappy, conflicted union. If this is the case there’ll be no hiding it from the kids – they’ll know and according to a growing body of research, they’ll wear the impact.
No two relationships are the same but the reasons people fall out of love often are.
Love would be so much easier if the line between ‘in love’ and ‘out of love’ was a heavy bold one clearly visible from the distance on a stormy day. It would also be helpful if the path that lead to that line came with warning signs the size of billboards, blaring sirens on approach and a guardrail the length of the Great Wall and the height of the Sydney Opera House. Yes. That would be nice.
Breakups are emotional roller coasters. Actually that’s not true. If a breakup was anything like a roller coaster the end would be visible from the start, you could say ‘no thanks’ to the ride and at the end of it, for a hefty sum the memory could be savoured forever with a flimsy cardboard-framed photo.
Breakups are as much a part of the human experience as a breathing oxygen and not licking cactuses. It’s actual science that going through a breakup does the same thing to your body as withdrawal from an addiction, activating the part of the brain associated with motivation, reward and addiction cravings.
Relationships move through patches. Sometimes they coast along beautifully. Sometimes they splutter. Sometimes they gasp for breath on a cold stone floor. And sometimes they couldn’t even be bothered doing that.
A brain that gets anxious sometimes is doing exactly what brains were meant to do - keep you alive, warn you of danger, and remind you how much you love your favourite things. It just works a little too hard on the first two, but with a little tweaking - mindfulness, exercise, a happy belly and other things that brains love - anxiety can be brought back to small enough.
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