If you’re thinking about ending your marriage, you’re likely to be facing one of the most difficult decisions of your adult life. Many people struggle for a very long time before making a firm choice about whether to stay or go.
Today I am going to cover :
- The eight red flags that could be occurring in your marriage
- Primary reasons people stay
- Questions to ask yourself
- What to do before making any major decisions
The eight red flags that could be occurring in your marriage
- You are not communicating anymore outside what is necessary and even that content is negative. Most of the things that you are saying to each other are just black and white. Very surface. At this point, you will be finding it difficult to make decisions on simple, insignificant issues like where do we go for dinner? What will we do on Sunday?
- You feel in your heart the relationship is unhealthy. You have tried everything to improve your relationship. You’ve read personal development books. You’ve talked to friends and families. You’ve talked to your partner endlessly. You know that you cannot keep on going on like this. You’re living in a toxic environment. The energy is draining. You can feel the energy between the two of you isn’t getting any better. It’s getting worse.
- An unwillingness to change. You both need to change. It takes two of you to make changes in your marriage. Having the motivation and the commitment to make the changes. You’re both not perfect and you both need to change. There needs to be a willingness.
- Seek support. You have asked, you’ve begged your partner to see a counsellor. Maybe you’ve gone to a counsellor and done your work. You’re now hoping, living in hope that your partner will as well. You are feeling a strong resistance from your partner for counselling. It’s very difficult when you have a partner who will not seek support when you can clearly see that there are problems.
- You fantasise about a life without your partner. This isn’t unusual, but if it’s something that you do often it is time to seek some support from a therapist. Daydreaming that you will have a much better life without your partner is not healthy.
- The bad outweighs the good. Marriages become breeding grounds for vicious cycles and patterns of behaviour and one problem leads to another.
- You don’t share your thoughts and feelings. You’ve both stopped turning to each other to share how you feel and think. Problems can’t be worked through unless you are both aware of the problems and talking and sharing with each other needs to happen. If you don’t share the gap of connection, disconnection will get bigger.
- Engaging in negative defence mechanisms. Do you or does your partner become overly defensive when you express a concern? Do you or your partner just dismiss each other needs? Does your partner criticise you or engage in stonewalling? If either of you engages in negative defence mechanisms this is a major red flag in your marriage and you are building more problems and solving nothing.
Primary reasons people stay together
- 1.Fear. People fear change and sometimes it’s easier to stay in the uncomfortableness of what they know, even though it’s hurting them deeply.
- 2. Have already invested a lot of time in the marriage. It’s generally easier for a young couple to divorce and start their lives over again then for partners who have been together in a long-term relationship and are older.
- 3. The belief death does us part. A lot of people have this belief, and we’ll stay together even though there are many red flags and they are unhappy because they believe that they cannot break the vows that they made when they got married. Death do us part.
- 4. Children and family, they do not want to break the family unit up and the pain and distress it will cause the children.
- 5. Living in hope that your partner will change. Giving the time to that hope.
- 6. Denial: not being aware of the impact of being in an unhappy unempowered marriage.
Questions to ask yourself
- Do you feel as if you have nothing left to give your marriage?
- All the forgiveness, hope and patience in your heart has run out.
- Has there been a long history of addiction, abuse or infidelity?
- Is there a complete lack of intimacy? Not just sex, but emotional, intimacy, affection and laughter as well.
- Do you feel insignificance towards your partner?
- Does your partner treat you badly or show little concern?
What to do before making any major decisions
- Work on yourself. Self Esteem and your confidence so you feel an inner strength.
- Attempt to reduce the stress in your life.
- If your physical or emotional safety depends on being separated from your partner, you must make that your priority.
- Create a survival or backup plan to give yourself more of a sense of control over your life. You might not use it, but it’s good to have it.
- Have daily habits, for example, exercise, eating well, meditation, reducing sugar and Alcohol ae a few ideas.
- Good network of support of people that you trust and will not tell you what to do.
You may need some time away to view your marriage more clearly. Getting away by yourself even for a weekend can help you sort things out. And for many people, this is when something clicks inside, and they know what to do. Take your time, do not rush this decision.
Seek support and even if your partner won’t come with you, reach out. For someone who works with couples a couple’s counsellor or relationship coach. Whether you stay or leave this marriage/ relationship, you need to help to process your emotions. Set healthy boundaries and expectations and steps forward.
Finding a therapist to work through a very big life decision can be enormously helpful because struggling this, struggling with this for a long time causes a lot of heartaches. Being able to get to a decision and you can decide a firm choice. I’m staying or going.
Tune into to my Empowered Marriage Podcast to learn more about this topic – Knowing when to end your marriage. There’s a new podcast each week – https://www.powerofchange.com.au/empowered-marriage-podcast/