Signs your relationship is over. Should we divorce?

Signs your relationship is over. Should we divorce?

All couples face trials and challenges, and some problems can seem so insurmountable that divorce seems to be the only solution. Marriage counselors observe, however, that the size of the problem is not the biggest sign that a marriage is about to end. Some couples manage to work things out (even something as serious as spousal infidelity); others are quicker to walk away.

So how do you know that your partner is interested in fixing things, or is about to throw in the towel? Counselors notice some behavioral patterns that indicate that someone has already become emotionally detached. This, they say, is the death knell of a marriage: in essence, your partner has given up.

Unwillingness to recognise the problem
Any problem can be solved, if you’re willing to confront it and to work on it. But if your partner believes that everything’s fine—that you’re either imagining the problem or making it bigger than it should be—then you’re not going to get anywhere. If they don’t admit there’s a problem, then they are not going to change their behavior. And you’re just going to be frustrated, resentful, and eventually furious.

It’s important for the couple to see that what they do, or don’t do, will affect the relationship. If that doesn’t happen, the only choice open to you is to live with the problem, or to walk away.

Unwillingness to believe that things can be better
Your partner may see the problem, but doesn’t want to solve it. Maybe they think “it’s just the way I am/the way things are.” They don’t really care if you are hurt, or if the relationship is on the rocks. They have withdrawn emotional investment in the marriage. And sometimes, all the talking and sharing that goes into couples counseling just reveals that the other person knows the issue and how the other feels but that no longer matters to them.

Conflict of fundamental values or directions
Sometimes a couple can deeply care about each other but just seem to be going in different directions. You can have very different ideas of what you want for your lives, the values you care about, and the future you foresee for yourself and your family. For example, you may want to focus on your career and that means moving to another city with greater opportunities and chances of advancement. He, on the other hand, wants a quieter life with a wife who is content to stay home with the kids. It’s just not going to work. Nobody is wrong, but you just aren’t right—for each other.

To stay or to go

When couples reach this point of clarity—there is a deep problem, and no way around it—a difficult choice must be made. Marriage counselors say that no matter what happens, this is a turning point towards happiness. If you decide to work things out because your relationship is worth fighting for, then the two of you may even find deeper love and commitment. If you decide to end it, then both of you are free of a relationship that was pulling both of you down.

7 important questions to consider when contemplating a divorce

No one really gets into a marriage thinking that they might have to get a divorce later on down the road. And, even for those who may get married for the wrong reasons, divorce is never an easy option. After all, you still end up making plans and creating dreams together as a couple. When that ends, for one reason or another, breaking up is a serious and tough nut to crack.

Making the decision to file for divorce is not an easy one – as many others will tell you. Before you actually make the decision, you have to go through a lot of things. You’ll be asking yourself a lot of questions, consulting a lot of people. Here are some of the toughest questions that you will need answered.

1. Is there enough of the marriage left to salvage?
This question could very well be the hardest to answer. That is why I wrote it down first. Who can ever say that there is enough of the marriage to save? Or, who can say that there is no hope? At the end of the day, the answer to this question will only come from you. Only you will know the answer to this question.

Of course, arriving at the answer is not an easy task. You might even need some help to discern this. It is a good idea to talk it over with your spouse, if this is possible. You can also talk to trusted friends and relatives who will give you advice. More so, you ought to get in touch with a professional therapist or counselor, someone who is not involved personally in your life. An objective point of view is always helpful.

2. Do you still love your spouse?
This is another very hard question that only you can answer. Before you actually ask for a divorce, you need to be able to unequivocally say that you do not have any of those feelings – love – for your spouse. This could be because I am old school, but I do believe that if you still love your partner, then you can still try to work things out. Of course, this is barring any other complications such as abuse in any form. If your best reason for divorce is that “it doesn’t seem to be working” however, I suggest you delve a bit deeper. If you find that there is still love between the two of you, then it might not be the right time to consider getting divorced.

3. Is one of you an addict?
When I say addict, I am referring to various issues – gambling, drugs, alcohol, etc. If one of you has an addiction, it is going to be the source of unrest in your marriage for as long as it is not treated. If at least one of you suffers from this problem and that person is not willing to seek professional help or treatment, then you just might have to consider divorce. For as long as that problem is not solved, your marriage can only continue to degrade and perhaps ultimately breakdown.

4. Is one of you having an affair with someone else?
Neither of you may be addicted to gambling or some other substance, but if a third party comes into the picture, then divorce could very well be the option to choose. However, you have to realize that many married couples have gone beyond affairs to rebuild their marriage. What you need to determine at this point is whether the one who has been having an affair is willing to go the distance to rebuild the marriage. This means totally putting an end to the affair and stopping any communication with the third party. If that step cannot be taken, then divorce it is.

5. Is your marriage an abusive one?
Perhaps your partner has always been faithful and has never taken on any other partner. However, if there is some form of abuse in the marriage, it could just be as serious. Abuse can come in many forms – physical, verbal, and emotional. Whichever form of abuse you may be taking (or giving), it does not lessen the pain and the problems. If the abuser does not seek help in order to stop the abuse, then the answer is simple: divorce.

6. Do you really want a divorce or do you just want to threaten?
Sometimes, due to the rush of emotions, a person thinks he or she wants a divorce, but in reality, this want may just be a threat. You need to sit down and really think about it long and hard. Is it really a divorce you want or are you merely testing the waters to see what the idea of divorce can do to the marriage?

7. Why do you want a divorce?
Last but definitely not the least, you need to ask yourself why you want (or think you want) a divorce. You can go back to number 6 above and reflect on it more. You ought to delve as deep as you can, no matter how painful it will be, and pinpoint concrete reasons why you are considering a divorce. Only when you have the real reasons can you decide for sure if you really want to go through a divorce.

For some, divorce is the only answer. For others, they may choose to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding. Whatever it is that you choose, it is my prayer that you make the right decision for yourself and that you do so without any regrets.

Misconceptions surrounding divorce

It’s sad that even in this day and age, divorce carries a stigma. “When I tell people I’m divorced they give me this look—either they’re sorry for me, or are judging me for not making my marriage work. Or, even if they don’t, I am afraid they will,” admits one recent divorcee.

It’s crucial that we see divorce for what it is: a simple decision to end a marriage. Everything else is just bias and prejudice that needs to be set aside. Here are some of the myths that propagate a stigma.

”They took divorce as an easy way out”
People who are against divorce think that couples are running away from problems, and if they just “stuck it out” and “worked harder” then their marriage would have been saved. The fact is that most couples do try, but realize it isn’t working. And the decision to have a divorce is anything but easy. It is wrought with emotions, with painful sacrifices and consequences, and can often be expensive and messy. Anyone who has ever been through it knows that it is not an easy way out at all—but seemed like a necessary choice to make a positive change. (Read our article, “How to embrace change and love it!”)

”It is somebody’s fault”
Nobody can “cause” a divorce. It takes two people to make a marriage, and two people to break it, and two people to decide that it’s time to make a change. Family counselors say that even if somebody was deeply hurt by a partner—because of infidelity or abuse—the most healing thing that he or she can do is to stop thinking like a victim and acknowledge one’s role in the marriage. “We each made mistakes, we each contributed to the problem, and yet we learned and are now ready to make better choices for ourselves.”

”You should become good friends with your ex”
That would be great, but isn’t always realistic. You may still need space and time to deal with emotional issues and hurt. Or, there could’ve been “irreconcilable differences” that will still exist. Don’t put pressure on yourself or your partner. You can be civil, and even have a decent “working partnership” when it comes to raising your kids, but friendship can never be forced. Don’t feel like a failure or brand yourself as “bitter” or “angry” just because you don’t feel like hanging out with one another.

”Divorce means I’m not cut out for marriage”
Maybe you weren’t meant to be married to him or her, but that doesn’t mean you weren’t meant to be married at all. You aren’t condemned to repeating old patterns and habits, nor do you have a serious personality flaw that makes you “ineligible” for any real commitment. It just didn’t work out that time.

Disclaimer: We are not Medical Doctors! The suggestions and information contained in this website support the mission of the Cosmosis Mentoring Centre to provide insight into self actualisation of the human experience that we believe when combined with lifestyle habits such as drinking pure water and getting regular exercise produce wellness of mind, body and spirit. We encourage anyone with a health condition to seek advice from their health care professional.