When on the fence about divorce, consider marital counselling, even if your spouse refuses to participate.
This will help you recognize if the marriage is salvable or if you have been missing these clues that have led others to file for divorce or know when to get a divorce:
- You are repulsed by your spouse and do not want to be alone with them. Being in different postal codes would be even better. Sex is a distant memory. Doing things together is just not your cup of tea. You do not even like them and feel trapped being in the relationship. This is not the same as couples losing the spark that initially attracted them to each other. That often can be relit by a holiday in an exotic local or discovering a new passion that draws them back together.
- Are your beliefs and ethics opposite? When a spouse continues to have affairs and states that you are overreacting, then consider making a permanent exit. It is being callous with complete disregard for your feelings to say you are the one with the problem, since you cannot accept it. This repeated bad behaviour with no remorse, is showing a lack of respect for you.
- Your partner has an addiction and no amount of rehab has stopped it. There are repeated promises and tears, yet the problem remains. It could be gambling away your joint finances or being impaired. You have been patient but enough is enough. It is not healthy for you to watch someone you love self-destruct with this slow suicide. Stop playing a part in their destructive drama and walk away to protect your well-being.
- One or both of you are completely indifferent. You may lead separate lives but still share the same address. Having a spouse turn into a roommate keeps you trapped in a rut. Consider breaking free to have a fulfilling life and the opportunity to meet someone else. Getting a divorce takes money and energy and this may not be the path you choose at this moment in time.
- Is there some type of abuse, even if not physical? Emotional and financial abuse erodes a spouse’s self-worth. Being treated in a condescending way as if you were a servant is demeaning. Some spouses belittle their partners by “joking.” They then ask why the other person cannot take a little teasing. These are the couples I witnessed getting divorces fairly quickly. Belittling a person in front of friends and family is especially out of line. A toxic relationship can result when a partner has a personality disorder and is unable to have empathy or kindness. These people can have loads of charisma, but decide if that is enough to stay married to them or not.
- You both may have metamorphosed into quite different people during the marriage. Individually you two may be happy and fulfilled, but out of sync as a couple. People can drift so far apart over the years that they cannot sustain a marriage and this brings stress.
When something is off and you cannot put your finger on it, consider a trial separation.
Taking a breather from each other for a few months can put the relationship into perspective. Having distance can give some clarity into what is going on in the marriage.
If you feel so much better being alone, this is a major clue that divorce may be the solution. Divorce does not have to terminate your relationship, but rather changes it. Some former couples who are now divorced are closer now than they were when married.
Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certified in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 200 published articles.
She is a guest on radio programs in the US and UK. Her website is globalguidetodivorce.com.