This post was updated on Nov 29, 2022
Do you feel like there are some insurmountable differences that can not be resolved between you and your spouse? Have you considered working on your marriage with the help of a professional? Or are you about to give up? Every year, millions of couples decide to end their marriage. In the United States, the statistics aren’t too optimistic, given that about half of all marriages end in divorce. On top of that, new marriages have an even higher divorce rate.
Before you make the final decision, it may be crucial to approach the question tactfully and responsibly, considering your needs, as well as the perspective of your partner. It could be at a crossroads, walking a very fine line between taking separate ways or reconciliation.
Surely, there may be some ways to move forward and even salvage your marriage through relationship and intimacy coaching. Nevertheless, at times, divorce may be the only device that makes sense and that can benefit you. How would you decide on the next step?
How Do You Know You Need a Divorce?
While you might be prone to see only the negatives in your everyday life, how would you know for certain that your marriage is beyond repair? While everyone is entitled to make decisions based on their gut feeling, there are more factors that can play a role in your pending breakup or recuperated relationship.
There are some cases where divorce seems inevitable. For instance, it is usually the only clear and logical exit in case of an abusive or neglectful relationship. In other cases, if you still feel that you love or are loved by your partner, in spite of hardships, you may hope that things get better.
Even if your marriage is not dotted with heated arguments and periods of drama, you could feel that something is missing and that you are growing distant. Could it be that your marriage is failing before your eyes, even if you do not seem to notice it? Are there ways to rewind and start over?
What Are The Signs Of A Failing Marriage?
Dysfunctional couples tend to harbor a good deal of resentment toward each other, even before they split up. If you feel that you reached a point where you no longer feel joy, or can’t find common ground, it’s probably time to take a closer look at your relationship. Here are some signs that you may need to make a radical change in your marriage or break up:
- You can let go of the constant bickering and drama
- You’re stuck in your parenting role, neglecting your relationship
- You feel lonely or abandoned in your marriage
- You start keeping secrets from your spouse
- You fantasize about having an affair, even if your partner is faithful
- You stopped communicating as you used to, and started distancing from each other
- You haven’t been physically intimate in a long time
- You feel indifferent about each other, or take each other for granted
- You are competing with your partner in an unhealthy way
- You don’t feel respected or you no longer respect each other
- You can’t imagine spending time with your spouse in the foreseeable future
- You can’t trust them any longer, you harbor bitterness or resentment towards each other
- You no longer enjoy each other’s company
- You feel emotionally drained, or you’re neglected or emotionally abused by your spouse
- You have stopped trying or haven’t even looked for help
If you experience some of the described feelings or behaviors above, you may still want to work on your relationship. While you might feel desperate, there are at least two ways to resolve the situation positively: by ending your marriage on good terms or finding a way to save it.
Is Emotional Neglect a Reason For Divorce?
While you may easily identify an abusive, jealous, or controlling partner, an emotionally neglectful spouse can seem like a vague label. Neglect is not that easily recognized, as the neglectful person wouldn’t burst out in anger, won’t criticize or attack you verbally, won’t harass you, or display aggression in any shape or form.
Emotionally neglectful partners may come across as caring parents, friendly family members, and pleasant coworkers, although they can be severely cold and restrained with their partners. Here are a couple of examples of emotional neglect:
- Your spouse appears absent-minded, distant, or disinvolved when you talk or want to discuss your plans. This may make you feel invisible, guilty, misunderstood, or unworthy of their attention.
- They prefer to spend time separately and have their own circle of friends, excluding you from their interests, hobbies, and social life.
- Your partners’ expectations are unclear to you. They don’t complain openly, don’t blame you, yet give you what appears to be a silent treatment.
- You could have problems with perfectionism and low self-esteem, resulting from a lack of validation or support from your significant other, friends, or parents. Separation and divorce could be a good basis for shedding some light on your self-actualization needs and gaining more insight into your strengths and potential.
You might try to read into the detachment of your partner or find an excuse for them. While you could feel a strange sense of guilt as if their neglect is a result of a particular action on your end. Or, you could try to rationalize it as a sign of a phase you’re going through. If it’s something that is going on for some time regardless of the circumstances, it may be the time that you raise some questions and check if you are being manipulated emotionally.
How Do I Know If I Am Making The Right Decision to Divorce?
You may feel unsure whether or not you have good reasons for divorce. Regardless of how discontent you are, you might find yourself drawing more positives than negatives. You may be pondering about various outcomes: entering a new life without a significant other, venturing into the world of social, emotional, and financial independence, with all the benefits and risks involved.
For many couples that were married for a longer time, it may feel like a leap into the unknown, fraught with layers of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. If you are in that situation, giving yourself some additional time to prepare could be of vital importance, especially if you feel vulnerable at this stage.
Keep in mind that divorced couples cited the following reasons for ending their marriage:
- Commitment issues – if you’ve noticed that you are no longer investing time, energy, kindness, or genuine care into your relationship, it’s probably time to part ways.
- Frequent arguments – if you feel a lack of common ground and cannot find a thing you can agree upon, it may be time to take care of yourself and file for divorce.
- Affairs – while there may be arrangements among couples to tolerate or accept the concept of an open relationship, the betrayal that comes from infidelity is rarely only about sex. It’s also about the lack of trust, and so it’s a valid reason for a break-up.
- Marriage at a young age – if you haven’t had enough experience and weren’t emotionally mature when you took your vows, it’s no wonder that you’ve grown in separate directions
- Unrealistic expectations – disappointment and subsequent separation can stem from putting very high hopes that it will bring miraculous change throughout your life.
- Inequality among partners – this can refer to a lack of financial freedom, career choices, power struggles, and disbalance between gender roles, everything leading to one party feeling left out, belittled, or taken for granted.
- Domestic violence or abuse – although every relationship is fraught with complexities and idiosyncrasies, violent behavior, physical and emotional abuse is a red flag that needs to be brought to the authorities.
What Can You Do Before You Make The Final Decision?
When you’re facing a pending divorce or separation, you may experience a lot of anger, sadness, grief, or exercise denial maneuvres. These are some of the ways to cope with the situation, all with the goal of finding the much-needed clarity. You would probably like to clear up where you’re headed as a couple in a constructive way, without starting a new angry argument, ignoring the differences, or resentfully withdrawing from each other.
There are several ways you can address the issue:
- You can try to talk it out
If your partner is ready to have a rational and authentic conversation, there might be some room for a satisfactory outcome. Even if you are headed towards the end of your marriage, knowing that you do not hold any bitterness or resentment toward each other can give you both a good headstart into personal recovery.
- Give yourself some time
Whatever signs you notice, it is important not to rush. You need time to take care of yourself and to remember that life simply has to go on. While the period in front of you will require significant adjustments and planning, you deserve to take a break. This will give you time and energy for necessary changes, whether you’ll start improving your relationship, or preparing for your new independent life.
- Seek professional help
It could be useful to take a good look at your marriage from all angles and take responsibility for your health and well-being. If your spouse is open to the idea, you can consult a mental health professional and try to work on the issues. Even if you agree that divorce is the only way to go, you would probably like to do it on amicable terms.
While it will be the end of your companionship, making a mature and sound decision may be beneficial for your children, family members, friends, and your future partners. Although it may feel disappointing, if you start your new life without bitterness, you have not wasted your time together.
How Can A Relationship Intimacy Coaching Help Through My Marriage Crisis?
If your aim is to take make a sound decision on whether to work on your marriage or to part ways, you need a supportive environment where you can focus and talk openly. Taking part in one of the glasshouse PIVOT retreats can provide you with the necessary resources and time to make vital decisions about your relationship. Apart from that, you can work on your strengths and potential with an individual coach, and work on your personal growth and emotional fulfillment. Our coaches and relationship advocates are at your disposal for all your questions and doubts. Reach out to us today and start a new journey!