Are you currently in an unhappy relationship? There may not be anything that is more draining than being with a partner who makes you feel miserable. This isn’t such a big concern if you just started dating the guy and you can just move on to the next one, but what if you’re living together? Even worse, what if you’re married to your partner and then you realize they’ve turned your life into a nightmare?
It can be incredibly hard to leave a relationship, especially one that has as much love as is required for a marriage to exist in the first place. You may have kids, joined finances, identical social circles, the list of reasons to stay may go on and on.
Yet you should always be asking yourself if your partner is making you your best self and if the answer is no, then it may be time to start looking for the door. Nobody is saying it is going to be easy, but there are some key elements in helping realize when it’s time to get a divorce. Sure, that fight you just had with your partner might blow over, but do you really want it to?
Counseling doesn’t work
If you are in a long-term relationship that is struggling, it may only be natural to turn to professional counseling. It’s an intimidating thing from the outset, but the profession would not exist unless there were couples that had the courage to put the work into their relationship. If your partner agrees to go with you to counseling it is a tremendous step and at least shows the effort is there. The next thing you need to ask yourself is if your partner is genuinely trying to make an active effort in your relationship on a dependable basis. They can’t be the best partner on Monday, and then turn into old habits that cause the session in the first place, by Friday. Similarly, they can’t show up at the session and then proceed to not participate.
An inconsistent partner leads to an undependable partner and it is almost impossible to rebuild up that level of trust. If your partner is dismissive of counseling and refuses to go, or goes and mocks it or does not take it seriously, that is an even bigger sign that divorce is what you are looking for. Do not blame yourself for their refusal to go. That self-blame will only start a negative pattern that is only going to weaken yourself and make it that much harder to leave. If they won’t agree to attend couples counseling, then what they are saying is that your relationship is not worth putting in the time and effort that it clearly needs.
It can be tough to admit that your relationship needs work, but another tough thing to admit is that you are in an abusive relationship. Whether it is directed in an emotional, physical, financial (especially if you have joint finances) or otherwise, there is no relationship that is worth saving if a partner is feeling abused. Relationships may not start abusive, but when they get to that point, you may have an incredibly crippled sense of self. This may make it all the harder to admit to yourself that you are in an abusive relationship, but it also makes it all the more important that you get yourself to a safe space. Abuse becomes an even more serious issue if there are children involved. Your job as that child’s guardian is to keep them in an environment where they feel loved and safe, and that is not in a place with an abusive partner.
Unhappy and not alike
One of the daunting things about married life is the fact that it is supposed to literally last the rest of your entire life. This is great if you love your partner, but if you’re not happy, you may find yourself relating all too much to those jokes about how death will be a sweet relief from your spouse. As you know though, people change over time and as a result, one of the biggest signs of divorce is that you realized you have grown into different people with different values.
This is a huge reason as to why so many young marriages end poorly as the couple gets further into adulthood and realize that they may not have the same things in common anymore. It is also crucial to talk about beforehand, but too many couples get married without first talking about the role of kids in their future. No partner deserves to be with someone who wants kids if they don’t, and vice-versa. You aren’t just going to “figure this out,” and need to be able to plan your future alongside your partner (such as career aspirations) and not just hope the two paths coincide.
You also need to make sure that you are in a relationship in which you are feeling respected. How your partner shows respect can take on different forms both in what they say, and how they treat you. Do you know what makes me feel respected? Not having my amazing partner cheat on me. As a result, it would be grounds for divorce if we found ourselves in that situation. Everyone has their own set of ground rules on what is and is not okay, and that does not go away just because you’re married. You need to make sure that you are entering a marriage with a partner that promises to always try and help protect your mental health. There are many relationships that last for years, and then when they end, the main reaction may be, “Oh man, why didn’t I get out of that way sooner?” Don’t let that ring on your finger make you think you are stuck with a partner who does not make you feel loved and valued. It is not admitting defeat to get a divorce, it is literally the opposite. It is having the courage to say enough is enough, it is time to stop with the bullshit and get back to loving the person that truly matters, which is yourself.
Leaving someone might be the hardest thing you ever do, because how can you imagine your life without your partner who is literally around all the time. Not to mention that there has to be happy memories to say goodbye to, after all, you married the person. But use those happy memories not as a reason to stay, but as a testament to how far away you’ve gotten from the person in those memories. Don’t hold those kids close and say that this is what you are staying for, hold them close and know that they are why you know it is time to finally leave.
There might not be a more important decision in your entire life than the person you choose to marry. You need to make sure that if that’s a decision you end up regretting, that you have the confidence in yourself to leave. I guarantee that if you do, it will forever change your life, but why does that have to be a bad thing?