Originally Posted by Relationship Teacher View Post
I see it as going from suffering in silence to suffering in exposure. Instead of individuals dealing with relational problems between partners, they are now aired to friends, family and social media. Not only do the individuals that are publicly voicing their problems divorce themselves of responsibility, they also accept the "advice" from others, which is typically slanted towards refusal of forgiveness.
I would hope the scenario you describe is one that is outgrown at some point in early adulthood. It doesn't take a relationship expert to know that there are two sides to every story.
I disagree that people don't walk out over flimsy or temporary problems. This over-exposure of problems actually escalates and blows them out of proportion. Small problems become big problems when the 'victim' has moral support from many others on their side. Campbell and Manning's Microaggression and Moral Cultures explains a lot of this behavior, although it wasn't targeted for romantic relationships.
Small problems become big problems when they are not dealt with. At any given time here on TAM, there are usually a few threads involving a young couple that is in crisis over a series of small problems. That crisis is caused by an inability to effectively communicate and no amount of forgiveness will alter the inability to communicate. However failure to learn better communication will result in relationship failure.
I am unfamiliar with the article you referenced but look forward to reading it.
In fact, we are now in the era of self-expressive marriages, or all-or-nothing marriages. These arrangements are composed of individuals that ask "what am I going to get out of this relationship" instead of (principally) "what can I put into this relationship".
Very few people enter marriage aspiring to put everything they've got into making it work. I would go so far to advise that goal be cause to NOT get married. We enter marriage because we are starry eyed and crazy in love and as a result we *think* we've got the best chance of making it work. Only once the bumpy roads hit do we realize that if we want to have a good marriage we have to be willing to make it work and sometimes that means forgiveness but most times, IMHO, it means learning to be a better spouse in order to get a better spouse.
As was hinted at first, we are moving towards a more unforgivable stance to perceived acts of emotional aggression. This means that the 'victim' will or must experience emotional trauma, as refusing to forgive results in a permanent emotional wound. We left behind the "stay together no matter what" arrangements (thank goodness) but seem to have forgotten to take commitment and forgiveness with us into our new arrangements.
Perhaps what we have neglected is not forgiveness but life long learning? Few enter marriage with the perfect skill set required to cope with life's challenges not only as a couple but also as an individual. Perhaps that's what we see happening today? Our helicoptered children are growing up and are not skilled enough to cope with life as an individual, let alone as a couple.
Yes, relationships fall apart easier these days. Many relationships that can become totally blissful are discarded as if they were trash. Much of the fault is on society for engendering this mentality. We can unlearn it and replace it with respect, acceptance and forgiveness.
Perhaps you are right and relationships are falling apart easier today than they were 20 years ago. I still assert the challenges young couples face today are essentially the same as they were back then. Maybe young couples today are less well equipped to take responsibility for making it work.