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Time to move on?

by Paul, 29 years old.
(New Zealander, living and loving life in Japan. I don't want to go back to NZ, she does.)

The Question

I've been with my partner for seven years, married for two of those and living in Japan (as an ex pat) for five years. We also planned to head back home to New Zealand where we met and start a family. That was always the dream.

The time has come to "live the dream" and I've found I don't want it yet, if at all. I don't want to head down the path as I know where I think it leads and it doesn't excite me.

My partner is great, BUT, the spark has gone. I'm wondering if our paths have strayed. I've been wanting to branch out with difference experiences, both sexually and in terms of adventures... everything basically.

I'm not sure if I push through or if that will just lead to long term suffering for both of us later.

Noel's response

It sounds as though you are in a transition, and are at a stage where you are questioning what your life is about.

You mention that the spark is gone from your marriage. What often happens in a relationship is that overtime little resentments and hurts don't get addressed, which causes the relationship to 'go dead' (i.e. lose the spark). It is critical that even the slightest hurt, misunderstanding or resentment be cleared up immediately. Most hurts and misunderstandings are based on incorrect assumptions. If you do this, your marriage will get the spark back.

Elizabeth and I have been married for twenty years, and because we never let even small issues go undealt-with, our marriage has as much spark as ever, and our love is growing deeper every year.

Marriage counselling is often the best approach to begin this process, as it can be difficult to do on your own to start with.

Regarding wanting new experiences, this is common in midlife transitions, so it may be a passing phase. Perhaps you are fearing losing something (freedom?) when you think of 'living the dream'. While it is true that moving back New Zealand and having a family would create a big change, it may simply be a change, rather than a loss.

If you go to Your Life Mission and do some of the exercises there, including the "LIFE TIME GOAL SETTING" exercise, and "Going to a Funeral", you may find some help in figuring out what you truly want out of life.

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