What are “irreconcilable differences”? It’s a term often cited in divorce proceedings as the reason for ending a marriage.
“representing findings or points of view that are so different from each other that they cannot be made compatible.”
In looking at this definition, looking at my past experiences with being in relationships that ended, and also looking at examples of people I know, as well as examples I’ve seen in movies and TV, this point of “having different points of view that cannot be made compatible” is quite accurate I would say.
What are some of the experiences that we typically have that lead us to decide to end relationships? What are some of the reactions and emotions that start to occur more and more frequently, and build to a point where one or both partners feel like they just can’t stand to be with the other anymore? Where we feel like “we’re just TOO different to get along?” Where we feel like “I just CAN’T be happy with this person?”
Arguments? Frustration? Annoyance? Disgust? Resentment? Blame? So what leads to these conflicts and arguments and experiences of annoyance and frustration and disgust with each other?
So what are these experiences ABOUT anyway? What triggers them? What are the “differences” in each other that end up being irreconcilable?
Let’s look at some common themes from my own experiences and from what I’ve seen in other relationships:
- Having different preferences / expectations / skill level in relation to cleanliness / housework / chores.
- Having different preferences / expectations / wants in relation to spending time with each other / spending time with friends / spending time on personal interests.
- Having different ideas / dreams / expectations / goals / desires for the future.
- Having different wants / expectations / ideas about how time should be spend in relation to work and career vs. the relationship.
- Wanting to have kids vs. not wanting to have kids.
- Having different religious or political beliefs.
- Having different styles / interests in clothes / music / art / culture.
- Having different wants / desires / expectations in relation to sex and physical intimacy.
- Having different ideas / expectations / wants in relation to sharing and communication.
- Having different ideas / expectations / wants about male / female roles and responsibilities in the relationship.
Interesting, so this is obviously not a complete list, but it’s interesting to see how having different points of view about things plays such a huge role in the manifestation of conflict between partners. It’s clearly important that we understand the nature of Point of View because it’s Point of View that leads to behavior, actions, words, decisions that – in many cases create consequences that can be harmful mentally, emotionally, and physically.
So what is our point of view? What I’ve learned in my experience is that your Point of View really encompasses what you have defined as the Point-Of-You. That which you see as Who you Are – your Individuality, your Self, your Identity, your Purpose. Your Self Definition. Your Point-Of-You becomes the way you make decisions, how you respond to the behavior of others, the way you view your world – that which decides what you will do in the next moment— that which Points You to the next Point. And…hmmmm also what leads us to Point fingers at each other, when our partner does not fulfill the expectations and ideas we had about what THEIR point should be in relation to OUR point.
So the question is, what of our Point of View is Changeable – and what is not? How can we approach our different points of view from a practical starting point? Is the purpose of our existence and relationships on Earth to simply protect and survive as the points of view we’ve accumulated and formed from birth? Is that who we really are? Is that the extent of our Individuality? What’s the real Point of relationships? Can we become something more?
I’ll continue in the next post with sharing some examples of what I’ve learned about myself through changing my starting point in relation to my point of view.