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Don't Be Swallowed Up

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Every married/coupled couple has its imbalances. Sometimes they are

brief, sometimes chronic. When one member of the couple carries a heavier load, there is often resentment that follows. Examples include child rearing responsibilities, imbalanced demands at work, caring for ageing or ailing family members, partners with ADHD (Attention Deficite Hyperactive Disorder) or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) that struggle with organization, domestic chores, and future planning. Many solid marriages are able to intuitively absorb this difficulty, allowing both partners to still love and stay connected even with imbalance. Other strategies include calling it quits or numbing out. What interests me is the third path, the ability to evolve from imbalance and relationship resentment into imbalance and satisfaction when the roadmap is not intuitive and the modeling was not there in childhood.

This third path where imbalance exists and couples remain intact is a pretty nuanced path to follow, because when we are H.A.L.T. (Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired), we revert to a scarcity mindset. And when one partner is carrying more of the load, they become tired, angry, lonely (and maybe hungry?) while they toil away. And there is often a tipping point in that moment, when an otherwise happy and satisfied partner goes from feeling their life and relationship hold enough abundance for them and they feel loved and supported, to a place where they lose that abundance mindset and shift to a scarcity mindset. And that mindset is more primitive and orients us towards threat in our environment (in this case domestic). We start feeling like giving more automatically means having less. Does that make sense? We all do it as humans. What interests me is not that scarcity mindset is triggered when we are carrying more of the load, but rather, is it possible to learn how to live differently during periods of resource scarcity or overload in a relationship. I'm excited to share some of my thoughts, and in the meantime, I just wanted to pose this question because it's so critical to satisfaction in marriage/partnership and individual health and wellbeing.

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