Nonchalance 

Nonchalance is one of the most dangerous threats to relationships and marriages. It is that state of indifference and acceptance of the past or present negative issues affecting a relationship. It also means that “I don’t care” mindset where a spouse has been hurt over and over again and has become emotionally numb. Some at this stage will neither feel love nor hatred for their spouse, precariously hanging in an emotional imbalance and may tilt either way. 

Nonchalance usually precedes a bad breakup, it affects one or both individuals and it usually takes a lot of repeat offenses to get there. This stage usually takes the semblance of a state of peace, though perilously, nonetheless the couple at this stage appear to be happy, they hardly have anything to say to each other so quarrelling and arguments are almost totally absent. This is a very deceitful stage, the illusion of a peaceful home is magnified ten fold, to onlookers, the couple appear to be having a blissful marriage but in reality, the emotional bond has disintegrated. Sometimes they themselves might get very comfortable in this situation since there are no quarrels or arguments, each party carries on with their individual business leaving the marriage bereft of Love and the emotional attention required in a relationship/marriage. The longer the couple remain in this stage, the more difficult it will be for a reconciliation when they finally erupt in that bitter emotionally charged breakup.

If your spouse has arrived at that stage where they do not complain about anything, no matter how serious, you need to be seriously worried because they have not gotten used to your bad behaviour, they just don’t care anymore. The person has slipped away and if drastic palliative measures are not taken, the relationship/marriage will be over sooner rather than later. When an issue lingers or a particular behavioral pattern which you spouse detests isn’t addressed, there is a tendency for them to gradually build a cocoon around their heart for protection and then brace for the worse. They give up trying to make things work and start planning their lives without you. At this stage they are neither for or against a breakup.

When you notice that your partner has stopped complaining about things that used to be a problem, when they stop questioning things they had previously had course to complain about, when they smile and remain dangerously silent even when you know you have hurt them, you need to retrace your steps and do serious damage control to save your marriage/relationship. Dialogue is usually the preferred method here. You may encounter resistance or assurances that everything is ok, do not be deceived or discouraged, nothing whatsoever is ok, everything is wrong, apply subtle pressure, sooner or later you will be shocked at the amount of Vernon that had been stored inside their minds against you.

Once their minds have been bared, an apology for whatever the issue is might be a good place to start, immediately desist from whatever is causing the problem. Resist the urge to keep defending yourself or justifying the wrongs you have done, apologies and reassurances are usually enough to douse the tension and jumpstart the healing process. It may be wise not to push too hard for things to return to normal, bear in mind that the aggrieved spouse may already have perfected plans to move on, they may have built an imaginary life without you. So ease them back into the relationship/marriage gradually taking baby steps and consolidating each stage of reconciliation. 

May God give us all the attentiveness and the wisdom required to notice negative changes in our relationships/marriages – Sir Stanley Ekezie 

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