The new norm:

A friend was explaining this weekend why a mutual other friend put up with her mentally ill husband for so long, 10 years before divorcing. I realized her “new norm” explanation generalizes to just about every relationship.

She basically attributed it to the frog in hot water story. If he just suddenly changed one day and became a total bastard out of the blue that would have been that. But that is not how relationships work. They always start off great or there would be no relationship in the first place. Then over time things deteriorate or change one way or the other. The water heats up slowly and just as the frog doesn’t notice the warmer water the couple doesn’t notice their increased dysfunction it just becomes the new norm.

Most of the time things can coast even with some dysfunction but this doesn’t work as well once children are thrown into the mixture. Children’s needs heat the water or stress the family system rapidly. Things get noticed. Sometimes the new norm is again adjusted to and the couple makes the mistake of adding another child once again heating the system. Any change from here can heat the water to much to bear. Everything is now noticed. A change for instance the loss of a job or the loss of an extended family member and the system boils, the frog jumps out, divorce.


About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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