When tensions, frustration, anger, hurt and a whole slew of other negative emotions have been present in a relationship for an extended period of time, it comes as no surprise that the word “divorce” might begin to creep its way into a person’s mind.
Every single marriage will experience highs and lows and challenging periods, but it is very important to determine when the time has come to close the book on this relationship and set yourselves free. The problem is that it can be extremely difficult to determine if that time has really come, or if you two are just in a rough patch that you need to navigate through.
As an expert specialized in love and relationships, I work with couples on a daily basis. Romantic relationships are often much more complex than we thought they would be. We grow up in a culture where Hollywood romances and Disney movies serve as an example of what relationships should look like…
We don’t really receive an education on how to navigate through problems and restore the bond between two people who have drifted apart. Similarly, because crises in marriages conjure up so many raw emotions, it becomes very hard to pinpoint which steps you need to take.
That is why I wanted to write this article for you on when to get a divorce. I know how painful this situation is because I work with people who are in your shoes every single day.
Fortunately, I can provide you with the tools and techniques that will help you make an informed decision that will ensure your future happiness, whether it is on your own or with your spouse!
Divorce: The dreaded word
When you get married to someone, you envision a happy life together, making your dreams come true together, building a family and growing old by one another’s sides. As time goes on, we slowly begin to discover things about our partners that rub us the wrong way and get on our nerves. It is a perfectly natural thing because no person on the face of this planet is perfect!
Sometimes, the things that irritate you about your partner begin to multiply and you start to see a snowball effect. You wind up feeling so frustrated by this person on a regular basis that you catch yourself thinking, “That’s it, I want a divorce!”
Getting divorced from your husband or wife is a big decision and should not be taken lightly, but you already know that because you have made a conscious effort to go out of your way and seek information on the subject. The more research you do, and the more time you spend honestly assessing the situation, the easier it will be to make the right choice.
At the moment, it might seem like you are swimming in a sea of unanswered questions and anxiety, but oftentimes when we feel paralyzed by a decision to make, it is simply because we don’t have enough information yet. This is why big decisions require time.
When you take your time and make sure that your eyes are open, you are giving yourself the opportunity to really take in all the details that will help you make the right choice.
This enables you to reflect on the dynamic between you and your husband or wife, and it allows you to analyze what you really want. In doing so, you protect yourself from making any hasty decisions that you could end up regretting later on down the line.
One of my specialties is getting people back together after a breakup or divorce, and I can tell you that many times, a separation or divorce is not the answer.
It is shocking to think about how many marriages end in divorce. So many people think that they will be happier after a divorce, but they end up bitterly regretting their decision when they realize that they made the wrong choice. Once the dust settles and the novelty of being single has passed, many people regret losing what they had built with their partner.
It is important to remember that it is easier to repair a relationship while you are still together than to put the pieces back together after you have divorced.
Taking your time can help you avoid getting a divorce
Hasty decisions are the ones that are often regretted the most, and it is my goal to provide you with a comprehensive set of indicators that it is time to end this marriage. If you are seeing signs your marriage is over, you must do everything in your power to be honest with yourself and make sure that you are not turning a blind eye to these signs.
I bring this up because more often than not when a person is looking for signs that it is time for a divorce, they’re still hesitant about choosing that path. When people truly want a divorce, they’re usually already mentally checked out of the relationship. So if you are still hoping that your marriage has a fighting chance, keep in mind that you can do more for your marriage by becoming interested in trying to relate to and understand your partner’s issues and pain, than by trying to make them understand your own pain and frustrations.
Remember that love is always a choice, and marriage is something that transcends that love. It is a commitment to building a life with someone else even after the initial feelings of love, attraction and desires have dissipated.
I bring this up because people often mistake the end of the honeymoon period as the end of the relationship. The thing about relationships is that they evolve, and there usually needs to be some kind of a catalyst before a relationship can get to the next stage. So sometimes something that feels like a broken marriage, could actually be a set of challenges the couple needs to overcome in order to reach a deeper bond.
The honeymoon stage does not last. It will be present for a set period of time until the relationship will start to deepen. As the connection between two people deepens, they will be faced with more challenges that need to be overcome. So if you are thinking, “Should I get a divorce,” it is important to think about what you and your partner have already done to improve the situation between you.
It is too easy to throw a relationship away, especially in today’s society where we are not taught the value of repairing something important to us instead of replacing it with a new one.
When to divorce: The importance of focusing on your actions instead of your spouse’s actions
The only things we can control are our own actions and reactions.
A lot of people start to think about divorce when they realize that their partner isn’t who they thought they were. One of the things that people often don’t realize is that what we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage, and they wind up feeling sorely disappointed. It is not uncommon for a person to realize that the person they married is the complete opposite of who they thought they were going to be with. It is also not uncommon for a person to realize that they married someone who is quite different than who they initially thought they were.
Again, no one is perfect and when you choose to enter into a marriage with a person, part of your commitment is to accept them for who they are. This is a crucial element if you want this marriage to last. In today’s culture, we are constantly being told to overcome our limitations and meet challenges. In the context of marriage, it is sometimes more productive to find ways to live with your partner’s shortcomings and limitations rather than to try to change them.
If the two people in the marriage are constantly unhappy with each other and try to change each other all the time, the divide between them will grow and they will drift further apart, but closer to divorce. One of the biggest things that people struggle with is accepting the fact that it is virtually impossible to change someone. We can make improvements and tweak our reactions to certain things, but we cannot become a different person.
In addition to this, in all the years I’ve been working as a love and relationship coach, one of the most common themes that I see is that many people give their partners complete control over their well-being. This means that they give their husband or wife the power to control their smile, their self-worth, their attitude and their day. In order for any relationship to thrive, no one should be given that much power over your life! It creates an unfair balance of power, a large amount of pressure and responsibility on your partner’s shoulders (that should not be there to begin with), it gives rise to resentment between you, and it makes tensions even more intense.
So if you’re really thinking about when to get a divorce because your instincts are telling you that it might be time to let go, let’s take a look at some of the biggest signs that you should get a divorce.
How to know when your marriage is over: The telltale signs
One of the women I worked with not too long ago who was in this exact situation was named Julie. She had been married to her husband Francis for over seven years. They had a beautiful relationship together in the beginning and they had built a wonderful life in Chicago, where they were both very successful in both of their careers. Julia and Francis also had a two-year-old daughter that they both loved very much.
Unfortunately, Julie and her husband had grown apart over the last few years because Francis had fallen in love with this hate for her. Unfortunately for Julie, her partner had grown so hateful towards her because he had deep-seeded resentment that was planted as a result of a mistake that Julie made a few years back. As time went on, the resentment he felt towards her only grew, and his pride and ego had completely blinded him. Without realizing it, he had mentally checked out of the relationship and was not receptive to doing the work to repair the marriage.
He was simply unable to see all the sacrifices that Julie had been making since she made that mistake, and he could no longer appreciate the wonderful life that they had built together. They were no longer friends and he even turned to actions to spite her. For example, he moved in with another woman that he didn’t even love, just to prove to Julie that he didn’t need her. Julie recognized that she was seeing all the signs to go, and that she needed to distance herself from the person she loved because their dynamic had simply become too toxic for her and her little girl.
It is very hard to get to the point where you realize that it is time to turn the page, but it is much easier to make a decision when you feel confident that you really analyzed the situation. In the next section, I would like to go over some of the biggest signs you should divorce.
Unfortunately, I see a great deal of people try to run from or avoid their problems instead of facing them head on. The thing that they don’t realize is that ignoring, dismissing, or suppressing your emotions doesn’t get rid of them; it just buries them… temporarily. These negative emotions associated with the problems that your relationship is facing just get tucked away, only to resurface at a later time. More often than not, these emotions are even more tender and volatile when they surge up later on because they were allowed to fester beneath the surface.
When you recognize and validate your emotions instead, you’re able to strip away the judgments. For example, you can eradicate the “I’m bad,” “This is wrong,” or “I shouldn’t” responses that keep you from truly facing and handling a problem. It allows your experiences to flow through you and more importantly, it helps you quell the inner critic and live a more pleasant and enjoyable life.
These are all the things that enable you to have an honest conversation with yourself regarding the marriage, and whether or not the time has come to end it. So let’s take a look at some more signs it’s time to go.
Getting a divorce when you only see your spouse in a negative light
As I said above, none of us are perfect but if you can’t seem to see anything positive in your significant other anymore, this is something very important to pay attention to.
A fulfilling relationship is going to lift both partners up, and make them feel special and loved. So a couple who has a healthy relationship will seek to build each other up, work past flaws, and navigate through the disagreements they have together. In a failing marriage, one or both partners no longer see(s) any good or praiseworthy character traits in the other person. Seeing your husband or wife in a negative light only makes it easier to point out more character flaws or mistakes in their behavior, and as you can see, this turns into a snowball effect.
As tensions run higher, the partners become more sensitive to criticism, and more criticism happens because tensions are running so high. The more this happens, the harder it gets to preserve the bond between you and after a while, you stop feeling like teammates.
Signs your marriage is over: The constant blame game
Humility and the ability to take responsibility for your mistakes is one of the pillars of successful marriages. When I’m working with couples who are teetering on the brink of divorce, a common theme that I have noticed over the years is the continuous need to point the finger. Instead of accepting that they did something wrong and making a conscious effort to implement long-term solutions, the person will find ways to make it everybody else’s fault (and more specifically, their spouse’s fault).
When every single argument turns into a blame game, the marriage becomes very threatened.
In addition to this, when past transgressions or shortcomings are constantly brought up (especially in the heat of an argument), this will damage the bond between you even further.
This is what Julie was struggling with so much in her marriage. Her husband continuously brought up the mistake she had made in the past and used it as the source of all their problems. They would be fighting about something and even when he was at the root of the issue, he would circle back and say something like, “Well maybe things would be different if you hadn’t done what you did!” He was holding on to a grudge that fueled his resentment towards her and he became unable to take responsibility for his own actions.
When to call it quits: Blinded by anger or resentment
Julie was suffering from another sign of an unhappy marriage… as I mentioned above, her husband was so deeply rooted in his resentment towards her that he became completely blind to all the amazing things that she was doing and he lost the ability to recognize the amazing life they had built together.
All of the negative feelings that he felt and was holding on to colored his perception of their marriage, and he could not see anything positive about her or their relationship anymore. When one party is so resentful that hurting the other becomes more important than their common project and what do you’ve built as a team, then you were looking at one of the biggest signs your marriage is failing.
When you know your marriage is over: There is more negativity than positivity
Another one of the most common signs a marriage is over is when you or your significant other only has negative memories associated with you and your marriage.
There is a rule of thumb that dictates the ratio of happiness to unhappiness that should exist in a relationship – perhaps you’ve heard of it before. It’s called the Five to One Ratio, or the 5:1. Simply put, for every one thing that can be seen as negative in the relationship, there should be five things that can be seen as positive. In other words, the positives should outweigh the negatives 5 to 1.
It’s true that as human beings we tend to fixate on negative memories and they stand out in our minds in clearer focus than positive memories… but when you’ve started to feel like there are no positive memories at all, it might be time to start thinking about getting a divorce.
People often hold on to positive memories because they serve has an example of what the future could be like. These memories make it easier to remember the relationship’s potential, and can serve as motivation to fight through a challenging period. Of course, when it feels like there are no positive memories to hold on to, it becomes very easy to lose that sense of motivation and hope for the future. A person can easily think, “Wait, why am I even fighting for this?”
If a relationship is going to thrive, then both people in the marriage have to look at each other and feel a sense of inspiration, satisfaction and joy. If there aren’t any positive emotions being associated with the marriage, the marriage is on fragile ground.
Signs you need a divorce: Being together will cause more damage than separating
When you’re in a position where you are faced with this difficult choice, one of the things that can help is thinking about weighing the potential damage a divorce can cause. A big indicator that a divorce is a better option than staying together is when you hurt your loved ones more when you were together than when you are apart.
This is one of the biggest things I look at with my clients who have children with their husbands or wives. One of the biggest hesitations people have when it comes to divorce is the effect it will have on their families. They know that a divorce affects more than just themselves and their spouse, so a good way to think about this is to factor in how here family feels when you were together versus how they feel when you are apart. In many cases, the tensions between the husband and wife are so high that all the people around get caught in the crossfire, and the environment becomes toxic for everyone involved.
How to know when to divorce: When friendship disappears
People often ask me what is the most important element that keeps a relationship happy, and the answer is really simple. One of the easiest ways to protect against resentment is to make sure that the friendship is kept alive in the relationship. When the friendship between two spouses is preserved despite the challenge we all go through, they have a greater ability to overcome these challenges.
When that friendship is allowed fade or be eroded away, then the relationship loses the sense of protection that it once had. It makes it easy for the two people to feel like they are no longer on the same side. When you feel unsupported by you the person you chose to marry, it becomes dangerously easy to turn against each other.
Selfishness and distance in a bad marriage
The relationships that really withstand the test of time are rooted in balance and exchange. In the relationships that are failing, I often see that one or both people will try to meet their own needs at the other partner’s expense. They create a habit of putting themselves before the relationship and significant other, and in doing so, they undermine the foundation of the marriage.
One person’s selfishness in the marriage can make the other feel unsupported and unimportant. As I said, in a healthy relationship there will be a give-and-take, instead of a “me first” attitude. If one partner is willing to step all over the other in order to get what they want, the relationship will fall apart quite fast.
Space should bring you closer, not further away
Another thing I remind my clients of when they come to me for help with knowing when to get a divorce is the role that space plays between you. A little bit of space and room to breathe in a relationship is always healthy and actually quite important, but when long periods of space don’t do anything to bring you closer together, there is a problem.
So let’s say that your husband or your wife often goes away on long business trips and the sense of relief you feel when they are not around is palpable. When they return, tensions are higher than ever. Neither of you feel like you missed the other, and it feels like both of you are frustrated that you have to be in the same place again.
If this is happening in your marriage, then you’re looking at one of the signs of a failing relationship. Time apart should always serve as a way to bring you closer together by allowing you to miss each other and have things that you want to share when you are together again.
Pay attention to how it feels when you reunite after an extended period of time. Things should not feel the same or even worse than before.
If this is not the case, then you and your significant other are no longer afraid of losing each other when you pull away for a long period of time.
How you know your marriage is over: The future doesn’t excite you
A marriage is ending when you think about the future and continuing to live the rest of your life with this person, and you feel depressed. When you feel trapped, uninspired, or even impressed by this marriage, it means that there is a serious problem.
Being married to someone is supposed to excite you and make you feel happy when you think about the future together. People in failing marriages will often feel like they’re condemned to spend the rest of their life with this person. Feeling frustration from time to time in marriages is normal because of the inevitable challenges, but if this feels like a permanent emotion, it means that something has to change.
Another sign your marriage is ending to keep an eye out for is when you fantasize about being free of your spouse or even living your life with somebody new. If you feel more excited or more at peace at the prospect of being free of your partner for the rest of your life than remaining in this marriage, then it might be time for a divorce.
Thinking about when to leave a marriage: Unanswered questions
If you are in a very challenging spot and you are facing a difficult decision, the choice can be considerably more daunting if your head is filled with “what if’s.”
“What if we tried couples therapy?”
“What if we made an effort to improve communication between us?”
“What if we took some time apart temporarily?”
For your own peace of mind, it is crucial that you know that you tried everything you could try to save your marriage. If you know in your heart did you did everything you could possibly do to turn this around and your marriage has only gotten worse over time, then it will be easier to make a decision. When our heads are full of unanswered questions, the task at hand can become infinitely more daunting. This is why I encourage my clients to really think about how much they’ve done, how much they’re willing to do, and if there’s anything else that they could still try.
In addition to this, one of the clearest indicators that a marriage is over is when you just don’t want to try anymore. You feel like you’ve already done everything you could possibly do, you’ve tried everything you could possibly try, and you just don’t have it in you to keep fighting for this relationship.
When you know you have already explored all the avenues for saving this relationship to no avail, then it is probably time to let go.
Falling in line with my previous point about the role that distance plays between two people, it should also be noted that you’ve already gone through a trial separation for six months to a year and you still can’t come to a compromise, then perhaps the marriage has run its course.
What it really boils down to at the end of the day is one simple question. In any given situation, just detach, take a step back and honestly as yourself:
What do I need to do to take care of myself?
Understanding the biggest signs it’s time to get a divorce
As this article on when to get a divorce becomes to come to an end, I wanted to go summarize the points I’ve gone over for you so that you can really take the time to reflect on these elements. I want you to feel confident in making the right choice.
• When one or both have you no longer see any good or praiseworthy character traits in the other
• When you end up hurting your loved ones (namely your children) more by staying together than by separating
• When one person despises the other and loses their ability to see the amazing things that you have built together
• When the resentment within the relationship feels unshakable
• When you only see your spouse in a negative light
• When you two are constantly playing the blame game
• When there is more negativity than positivity in the marriage
• When friendship no longer has a place at the table
• When there is incessant selfishness
• When the distance does not do anything to bring you closer together after an extended period of time apart
• When the future does not excite you anymore
• When you know in your heart that you have tried everything you possibly could and the relationship is still suffering
• When you no longer want to fight for this marriage
Though it is very difficult and extremely painful to let go of a marriage, if you know in your heart that the time has come, it should not be seen as a reflection of your self worth. Relationships grow and evolve, and sometimes two people grow apart. If you have decided to move on from this marriage, I encourage you to check out our product that is specifically designed to help you to do it with dignity and peace of mind. To access it, all you have to do is click here!
We don’t have to take rejection as a reflection of our self-worth. Even if you’re spouse rejects you and your choices, you are still worth every bit as much as you would be if you had not been rejected. The end of a marriage is very challenging but you must allow yourself to feel the emotions that go with rejection, and talk about your thoughts. Just don’t forfeit your self esteem to another’s disapproval or rejection of who you are or what you have done.
Even if the most important person in your world has rejected you, you are still real, you are still deserving of love, and you are still okay. If you have done something that directly gave rise to this divorce, or you need to solve a problem or change of behavior, then you need to take the appropriate steps in order to take care of yourself. Just don’t reject yourself, and don’t give so much power to other people’s rejection of you. This will not serve you and it will only hinder your growth.
Let’s work together when you’re thinking about getting divorced
Whether your goal is to repair your relationship and restore it to its former glory, or you want to learn how to bounce back after letting go of this marriage, all you have to do is get in touch with us.
Join The Happily Committed Project and transform your relationship before it’s too late or let us help you heal and move forward with your life in a dignified and meaningful way. Together we can work on reaching your goals by providing you with a clear-cut action plan that has been tailor-made to fit your relationship, your situation, and your specific needs.
As a team of dedicated love and relationship experts, we are here to guide you from A to Z and answer all of your questions.
Wishing you all the best in life and love,
Your coach when your marriage is ending
Thanks for reminding me that I shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the obvious signs of divorce. My husband had been verbally abusing me for the past two years and I kept on hoping that he would change. Maybe it is time to accept that he won’t and it is time to consult a lawyer for legal separation.
What’s the difference between legal separation and a divorce? How are financial matters negotiated? And what conditions are legally binding?
I ve been married to the love of my life since 4 years. I can obviously see some of the signs. The thing is that I was diagnosed with depression 8 years ago. And I am still getting worse. I lived in Syria in the war.. And not a great childhood. I don’t know if it is affecting my marriage. We LOVE each other.. But we are not happy. I don’t want to ruin my future because of something in the past. My husband is a nice person. He cares and loves me. But we keep fighting for small things on daily basis. Which makes us miserable.
My husband told me he has not loved me for 3 years. He drinks every day. Is it time to get a divorce? All i do is cry been together for 44 years. I dont want a divorce , I hate giving up/ He is done he dont want to be here no more