Has your marriage eroded to a point where you feel it’s time to ditch your husband?
Knowing when to ditch or divorce your husband versus hanging in there and perhaps turning the relationship around is a very important calculation.
No doubt, you have invested your heart and soul into making your marriage work on many levels.
It has been important to every woman I have counseled for them to do everything they can to save their relationship.
And no doubt, you as well as every woman in your place has agonized over whether you have done everything possible to turn things around.
But sometimes you come up short. The magic you and your husband once had fades from your memory and is replaced with difficulty, sadness and anxious times.
I am sure that is not what you had in mind when you got married in the first place.
But the reality is that a struggling marriage at some point can cause you to make a life changing decision.
If your marriage with your husband ends, don’t think of it as your failure or his failure.
It is easy to get down on ourselves when our relationship is not working.
But the reality is that you cannot be certain that when you committed your life to the man your married that everything would turn out beautifully.
You want it to and you do things to try to make that a reality, but predicting long term chemistry and how suitable a couple will be when living together years down the road is not a science.
So many things around you and about you or around and about your husband can change for the better or worse.
Predicting how all these things will align or conflict is impossible.
Give up on the marriage is not always the best avenue to take. I wrote about this recently….
So don’t feel bad if you have arrived at the junction of possibly ending things with the man you intended to live with your whole life.
Trust me, it is nothing to feel ashamed about.
It’s OK to feel bad and disappointed. But after trying your best to make things right in your marriage, sometimes it pays to move on.
There are plenty of women out there who have given it there all and after years of suffering, finally decided it was enough. There comes a when it is no longer fruitful to try and make a dysfunctional marriage work.
I have come across many women who gave it everything which is admirable.
At what point do you decide there is no more left to be given to the marriage?
Sometimes to keep giving is to bring further misery to your life. There is point where you are left exhausted, feeling empty.
In such cases, when much is taken, little remains to give back.
Is There Still a Chance My Marriage Will Work Out?
No doubt, sometimes it is better to cut your losses and leave that good for nothing husband of yours, right?
OK, so that is the sad side of the record.
Flip it and you might find another story.
Sometimes when you come upon that marriage crossroads there might be an opportunity to save the marriage.
In my experience, much like the Robert Frost poem where two roads diverged, taking the less traveled road can lead to the marriage recovering.
Not always, but sometimes.
There are usually some telltale signs you can consider that might lead you to believe there is still hope….that you and your husband will cast aside most of the problems of the past and work on paving the way for a beautiful relationship.
And we will get into some of those things you ought to consider.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that sometimes a woman (or man) may cling too long to a marriage that is dysfunctional.
She may want so much for things to work out that she will lose perspective and not realize that recovering her marriage is truly a lost cause.
She may not realize that it serves her better to put her energies to bear on working on her personal recovery and a new future.
As you probably well know, difficult and failing marriages takes a toll on its players.
If you have been married to a man who has for years made your life nothing short of miserable, you are probably feeling like a reduced person in some ways and a different person in other ways.
It wouldn’t be unusual for you to be engaged in a personal battle with yourself as to whether you should try again to make the marriage work or if you should just hang it up.
Has Your Marriage Troubles Changed You?
Failing marriages change us.
Yes, you stay feel like you and have the same core personality traits. But a part of you may have taken a turn toward cynicism when a relationships implodes.
There may be a bit more disillusionment in your mind as you size up the institution of marriage. You may have lost a bit of confidence in your ability to make the right decision about who you wish to trust and love.
Despite this, there are many women who continue to cling to the hope that their husband will change his ways and that somehow and someway all of the problems they have experienced will go through some kind of auto correction mode.
Of course such thoughts are often a pipe dream.
There are no free passes for going back and starting over.
Chances are that the genesis of your marriage problems could be found in the very beginning when you both thought the match of the two was made in heaven.
Since you can’t turn the clock back, where does that leave you?
Essentially, you are left with making a very important decision on which path you which to follow.
When Will You Know It’s Time To Divorce and Leave Your Husband?
I get so many questions on this topic.
I so much wished I had a secret formula that allowed me to gather up all of our personal data….all of the good and bad of your marriage experience….then run the numbers and come up with a recommendation.
Unfortunately, no such equation exists. And if someone ever tells you they have such a program, run far away from them!
One principle that I do put some stock on is if you are undecided about breaking up your marriage, then it probably is not time.
Maybe it never will be. After all what you should strive to do is find a solution that enables you and your husband to come together, not drift farther apart.
Sometimes I can tell when a woman is tortured with indecision with the way she poses her question to me or how she tells me her story. This usually gives me a clue that she might not have really thought of all of the angles.
It’s a big deal when you look your husband in the eye and tell him you no longer love him and want to leave.
Or, perhaps you still do love your man, but feel like the two of you have drifted far apart over the years.
That decision to end things with your husband carries a big weight. There is little room for indecision.
So what should you hang your hat on?
You will know that you no longer wish to be with your husband when your view of the future with him at your side pales in comparison to those times with him in the past.
Arriving at that view takes a lot of perspective and contemplation. It also requires some critical thinking and a fair accounting of whether you and your husband have the capability to change certain unhealthy relationship behaviors.
What road you end up taking often depends on the nature, frequency and depth of the problems you have had in the past.
If frequent conflict has been the core of your problems, then can you both learn to significantly reduce conflict?
Have you tried?
How did that work out?
How long have you tried? How often has these marriage problems afflicted your relationship?
As you can see, there are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself and getting to an objective truth is not always easy.
If the core problem of your marriage has been a breakdown in trust such as your husband had an affair or you betrayed your partner, there is a whole host of things to consider.
Singular problems in a marriage can usually be addressed and the relationship can be saved.
But when the marriage is weighed down by scores of issues, it can be difficult to pick up the pieces.
When you find yourself surrounded by a lot of marriage issues (sexual incompatibility, trust, conflict, different values, etc), then the road to marriage recovery can be long and winding and you may never reach the end.
So if you have not resolved your doubts, then you have more marriage work cut out for you.
Having invested so much into your marriage, you will not want to give up without having some degree of certainty that you are making the right decision for you and those you love.
It’s OK to have doubts. That is normal and expected.
It’s just that one should best work out those doubts before they arrive at the final decision and take action to bring their marriage to a screeching halt.
Am I Doomed To Be Forever Unhappy in Marriage?
You sure wouldn’t be the first to struggle with what to do.
So don’t beat yourself up and don’t feel you are doomed. I am fond of saying there are always options. The future is always moving.
I may not feel like it to you now, but trust that if you set your mind to it and think rationally through all your options, you can find a better place and better life.
Again, I realize you may be going through a really life patch in your marriage.
For example, some of my clients initially reached out to me wondering….
“I loved him so much in the beginning, but now I wonder if it was just my emotions talking. I have met someone else who is kind and loving and I think he is the one. Should I leave my husband for my soulmate”?
“Chris, my husband is giving up on our marriage and I really don’t know why I keep trying. I think it’s just the notion that I have somehow failed. I know it’s just not me to blame for this mess of a life. But I can’t help but wonder if this is it. Do you have some advice on how to be sure your marriage is over?
As I discussed earlier, it is tough to know when to pull the rip cord and get out of a failing marriage.
You don’t want to leave prematurely if there is still a chance the relationship can improve.
After all, you have invested a lot of your blood, sweat, and tears.
But more than that, you have very likely cataloged a lot of great memories and experiences. These things are not without value. They matter.
These shared moments in time keeps couples together and helps revive marriages. And that is the nature of all relationships. There will be up and down cycles and fighting your way back from the tough times is as important as rejoicing when you and your lover were bringing much joy to each other.
Nor do you want to remain immersed in a toxic marriage environment.
If it’s abusive and/or exceptionally unfulfilling even after efforts to make things better, then you will regret not breaking it off.
Sometimes a married couple can get locked into such destructive tendencies that they get pulled into the inertia of their circumstance. A couple can get caught up into the same battles and as the marriage suffers, like some kind of cruel “Groundhog Day” effect, they can repeat their destructive behaviors over and over again.
Then there are those who are caught in between.
Their marriage brings them little happiness but it might serve a practical need. Maybe it’s about raising the children in a stable environment. Perhaps it has more to do with finances.
If you find that your marriage is less of a relationship and more of a partnership or something you do for convenience, ask yourself if what you want for the rest of your life is what you are doing now.
If the answer is “No, I am not doing what I wish to do for the rest of my life“, then perhaps leaving the marriage in the immediate future is not the pragmatic or the wisest choice.
But you should not feel like you are doomed forever to your current predicament.
The future is always moving with different possibilities and you will always have choices as the circumstances around you change.
Isn’t that what we should all do in life?
We only have a brief time here on earth, true?
The earth has been around over 5 billions years. While we are fortunate to enjoy the majestic gift of life, even if it’s just 70 to 80 years, why not make it count?
Shouldn’t we make the most of our situation that we find ourselves in, while at the same time seek to improve our situation in the future?
I think so.
And within this approach, you may choose to stay, leave, or delay your break up with your husband….whatever brings you and those you love the greatest fulfillment in life in those years you have remaining.
3 responses to “When Is It Time To Ditch and Divorce Your Husband”
I really like your website. I appreciate how you talk through all the insecurities and reasoning why we struggle with some of these issues instead of laying down “if this, you must do this,” kind of black-and-white thinking as relationships are usually much more complicated than that.
I’m struggling so hard with my relationship as it seems he never thought of it as deep or as important as I did. His actions and treatment of me is proof of that. I need the courage to leave. I’ve been looking for someone to talk me through this and not talk to me like I’m an idiot for not bailing on the first incident of confusing mistreatment or think of me as weak for having stuck through more pain as time went on.
You seem to understand that. Thank you for your insight. It makes me feel less alone in the decisions I have to make without making me feel like I failed and should’ve known better. I really appreciate that. It gives me much needed strength.
Well done. I look forward to reading more.
Thanks Molly…it is so thoughtful that you offer such kind words. There is no failure when it comes to relationships in the real sense of the word. We are all just traveling through this world, trying to learn along the way and find fulfillment. There is no doubt in my mind you will make the right decision for YOU. And many good things lie ahead for you.
Been married 18 years. 2 kids. My husband and I always fight. He gets so upset and yells and uses curse words. I don’t know if it’s healthy anymore. He said no to counseling with me. Should I move on?