Yes, I believe in marriage. But I also know the reality of some couples is that they are at the end of the line in their relationship.
Marriage can be such a blessing, but marriage can also break your heart ... especially if you think you've reached the end of the road. If you think it is too late to save your marriage, it is necessary to discern if your relationship is going through a rough patch or your marriage is so toxic that it is truly time to end it.
Abuse Is a Deal Breaker
While there are many who believe that the only deal breaker in a marriage is physical abuse, I believe some marriages just should not survive, especially when there is serial infidelity and/or emotional or physical abuse. This type of unhealthy, incompatible marriage is unsalvageable and needs to end.
Although the reality is that divorce is hard, for many it is harder, more painful, and actually dangerous to live disconnected and disengaged emotionally from an abusive spouse.
There is no easy path to this decision. The journey through uncoupling is different for every individual. Listen to your inner voice and don't let a fear of the unknown keep you in an extremely troubled marriage.
Don't Wait for a Sign to Leave
It is a difficult and heavy choice to jump ship and end your marriage, but when you are fighting a losing battle or are feeling trapped and powerless in a marriage that could ultimately cause you harm, don't wait for a sign out of the blue to tell you to stay or to leave.
You know in your gut when it is time to leave a bad relationship. You need to make a thoughtful decision and protect yourself and your children. Ask yourself what is still good about your marriage and what isn't. Professional counseling can help you make it through this painful journey out of a dysfunctional marriage.
Reasons to Not Fight to Save Your Marriage:
In no particular order, here are behaviors that can often get worse and ultimately can lead to divorce.
- No, give and take, won't compromise.
- The two of you have different goals or look at life very differently.
- Repeated issues.
- Excessive spending.
- Continual lies, untrustworthy.
- Very controlling over money, friends, etc.
- Playing the blame game.
- Lack of empathy.
- So a sense of responsibility.
- Sexless marriage.
- No affection or intimacy.
- Serial unfaithfulness.
- Doesn't believe in monogamy.
- Bigamy or other criminal behavior.
- Won't apologize for mistakes, no remorse or regret.
- Not willing to try to save the marriage.
- Denial of an addiction, won't seek help.
- Lack of respect, condescending.
- Shifting priorities such as whether or not to have children.
More Advice About When It Is Okay to Say It's Over:
“If someone’s close to either side of the will-we-or-won’t-we-have-children fence, you can work through it. But if not, and having a child is a life goal of yours, you may be looking at the end of your marriage,” says Alisa Bowman.
Ronnie Tyler: "We believe that you should have thriving relationships and not just relationships that are simply surviving. And while every relationship goes through its trials, there is a big difference between a bad spell and a 5, 10, or 20 year period of suffering arguing, fighting and just all out dysfunction."
Source: Ronnie Tyler.
"10 Reasons You Need to GET OUT of a Bad Marriage." Babble.com. 2013.
Jill P. Weber: "When there is no resolution to chronic marital distress, both people in the union are living in a fight-or-flight state. They may have difficulty sleeping, eating healthfully, trouble with short-term memory, gain weight, don't go to the doctor and fail to nurture themselves emotionally. Their cup is so full between work, children and the chronic negative emotion they experience, there is no room for self-care. The toll negative relationships take on physical health should not be underestimated. There is even some research to suggest that chronically negative or abusive relationships can shorten lifespan."
Source: Jill P. Weber, Ph.D. "Top 5 Reasons Why Divorce Is An Option." HuffingtonPost.com. 12/22/2014.
CNN reported in 2014 that researchers "found that a bad marriage causes more harm to the heart than a good marriage offers positive benefits to cardiovascular health." The study was funded by the National Institute of Aging and analyzed data from more than 1,000 married men and women over a span of five years.