Sometimes holding on makes you strong, sometimes letting go makes you stronger!
Happily ever after is something we all dream of, yet many of us don’t get to fulfill this vision. A devastating reality. In spite of all our good intentions, hard work, investment, love and time we often see marriages fail. When life becomes too painful, with too many battles and battle scars, and couples harbor deep anger, and resentment despite therapy, that doesn’t seem to get resolved, it could be an indication that it is time to let go.
Reflecting back to my own divorce, I remember thinking that I would rather be alone for the rest of my life that stay in this constant place of war. Rarely did we not have confrontation and our home was filled with tension and constant fighting. When I realized that I had no respect left I knew it was time to move on.
Over the course of my practice I have had couples divorcing for various reasons. I had a couple who after 25 years simply grew apart, they had little in common and couldn’t connect to each other’s worlds. She was a stay at home mom that was into cooking and traveling, while he was an astute business man. They couldn’t relate to one another, they didn’t share the same taste in music or movies and had very different views of life. Once their kids where grown up there was nothing that kept them together and they realized it was best for them to part ways.
Another couple had gotten divorced after the husband had gotten involved with some illegal activities. I remember his wife telling me: “I am not angry at him, I understand why he did it, I just simply can no longer respect him”. She chose to leave him because she didn’t want to stay in a relationship that lacked respect. Many of my younger clients committed to marriage prematurely before they knew themselves well enough and soon realized that they had different values and goals for themselves.
Regardless of why your marriage may be at the brink of divorce, there are always some overwhelming questions that you want to be able to answer for yourself. Of course the decision is a very personal one and you might not be able to make it without the help of professional guidance. I have put together a list of questions for you to think about to help you find clarity:
- Does every situation, no matter how seemingly trivial, evolve into a fight?
- Do you or your spouse continually refer to hurtful events in the past?
- Is all the respect gone from your relationship? Do you feel it is impossible to bring that respect back?
- Have your goals and directions changed whereas your partner’s have stayed the same? (Or vice versa.)
- Is your partner no longer fostering your individual growth?
- Have you and your partner both changed so much that you no longer share moral, ethical, or lifestyle values?
- Have you and your spouse lost the art of compromise? When you disagree, are you unable to forge a path together that is acceptable to both?
- Do you and your spouse have a basic sexual incompatibility? Do you feel completely unattracted to each other? Despite help from professional therapists, have you stopped making love?
- Have you tried therapy that hasn’t brought about any positive changes?
- Can you honestly say that you have tried everything you could have tried to revive this relationship?
- Do you feel like you have nothing left to give to your marriage?
- Do you feel indifference towards your spouse?
- Does your partner treat you badly and show indifference towards you?
- Has there been a long history of dishonesty, addiction, abuse or infidelity?
If you have said yes to most of these questions, you may be at the point of no return. One of the key foundations in a marriage is caring to fight for it and once you feel indifferent or become emotionally detached it is a strong indication that your marriage might be over.
In situations like this I often suggest a separation trial, so you can get some perspective and view yourself and your marriage clearly. Sometimes, just a weekend or a couple of days apart can give you a clear perspective and help you make a decision. Regardless of what situation you are in, never make a decision when you are emotional or stressed.
When we make a life changing decision, you have to keep in mind what it is that you will lose, not count on what you could possibly gain. I remember once a woman telling me: “I want to leave my husband, he doesn’t make me happy and I am sure I will find someone else who will”. I strongly advised her to reconsider, since another guy might not make her happier, and since one doesn’t have any guarantees of what the future might bring. You want to make this life changing decision only when you clearly understand what it is that you are losing and yet ready for it regardless.
Since this is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make, be sure to seek professional guidance, such as a relationship coach/counselor. You want to make sure that you are working with someone who is experienced and truly understands the intricacies of relationships.
If you get to the point where you feel like it’s time to throw in the towel, chances are that you get that moment of clarity and just know that it’s time to move on. If you make the decision to divorce, be kind to yourself. Remember that a failed marriages does not make you a failure. Some relationships aren’t meant to last forever and there are things you needed to learn from this relationship. Know that everything has a reason and that time does heal.