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DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to offer counsel, advice, or direction in your marriage choices. It is purely for entertainment purposes. Should you need professional help, please reach out to a licensed counselor or attorney in your area.
Should you stay, or should you go?
How do you know when to divorce? Every marriage is as unique as the two people in it, so it would be hugely presumptuous of me to say that there is a one-size-fits all answer to that question. The truth is that only you know for sure if there is still hope for your marriage or when it’s time to divorce.
Getting a divorce is far more common than it once was and the stigma that used to attached to it is rarely seen. I think that this accounts for the larger numbers of couples divorcing compared to when we were younger.
Don’t get me wrong. When you’ve put in the effort to repair the problems in your marriage and things aren’t getting better, it’s a good thing that divorce is an accepted solution. You don’t have to live out your days with a miserable situation or a person you just don’t love. On the other hand, many marriages that end in divorce could have been saved with some effort and commitment.
There is a rise in divorce rates as couples become empty nesters and no longer have the care of children as a buffer to their relationship. This is also a time when we question who we are now that parenting is not our first priority, and what is next for us.
Are you contemplating divorce?
If you over 45, divorcing can have its own set of challenges. Dating can be uncomfortable after a long marriage and you may already be wrestling with your self-image as you’ve gotten older.
Some women choose to stay in a long-standing unsatisfactory relationship rather than bring on huge life changes on themselves. For those who are not willing to settle, divorce may be the right choice.
RELATED: Should I Go Or Should I Stay? Take the Divorce Questionnaire to answer for yourself.
The 12 most common reasons why people divorce
When is it time to divorce? If you think that you may be ready to end your marriage, looking at the reasons most people divorce may help give you.
Infidelity is the most common reason people divorce. There are usually other red flag problems that lead to the cheating, but it is ultimately the reason the majority of couples cite as their reason for filing for divorce.
If infidelity is the number one reason for divorce, money is the most common source of disagreement and discord in a marriage. Opposing views on how to handle money, hiding income or purchases, or one person using their greater income to dominate the other partner, money is a problem for many couples.
3. Poor communication
A strong marriage is based on mutual respect and open communication. When couples don’t talk, intimacy and growth suffer. How can you feel close to someone you don’t understand? How do you make plans for the future if you don’t express what you each need and listen to the other person’s desires?
4. Constant arguing
Arguing is common and it can be healthy when you do it in a constructive way, genuinely listening to the other person. Constant arguing about the same thing is a red flag that both partners are not respectful or considerate of each other’s viewpoint.
5. Weight Or Body Changes
Although it may seem superficial, some couples feel that physical changes in the person they married is off-putting and cause for divorce. They may view weight gain as a sign that the partner has stopped caring about being attractive and desirable.
6. Unrealistic expectations
Some couples enter a marriage with a fantasy of what that looks like, only to find that life, work and stress create a reality that is far from what they envisioned.
7. Lack of intimacy
There are many reasons why couples stop being intimate. Sometimes, long work hours, conflicting schedules and stress can make it seem like you are two ships passing (but not touching) in the night. One partner may have a stronger sex drive than the other. A buildup of stress could be affecting your communication, which in turns distances you emotionally. Whatever the cause, a lack of physical or emotional intimacy is a problem.
8. Imbalance in the relationship
As anyone who has been married any amount of time know, nothing is 50/50. The balance is not in numbers but in each partner trying to be fair to the other when needed. When one partner has a disproportional amount of power in a relationship, whether it is because of earnings or attitude, that imbalance can lead to stress and resentment.
Physical or emotional abuse destroys the intent of marriage and harms the person who is the subject of the abuse, sometimes with lifelong effect. Abuse is, without question, a reason to walk away from a marriage for good. There is no excuse good enough to stay.
10. No individual identity
In every marriage, it is important for each partner to have their own interests, opinions and outlets. As an individual, you need to feel that you have your own identity apart from your spouse. Your differences should be something you respect in each other.
11. Life goals don’t match
When people marry, they rarely talk out their life goals beyond whether or not they want a family. It is difficult for young people to anticipate life’s twists and turns. But eventually, you need to make long term plans regarding family, lifestyle and even retirement. These tie in closely to #2 (money) and if your goals are not the same, there may be friction as you each attempt to gain control over your direction in life.
12. Different priorities & interests
While individual interests are healthy, couples need to share basic ethics, goals, priorities and a few interests to stay on track together. If one person’s priority is to save for retirement, but the other’s is to enjoy creature comforts now at the expense of savings, there is going to be conflict. Likewise, if you are each constantly doing what interests you and have nothing in common, you may not want to spend much time together.
How Do You Know When To Divorce?
Whether your marriage reflects one or more of the 12 reasons why people divorce above, you may be feeling that it is time to end your marriage. Ask yourself:
- Have you taken steps to salvage the marriage? Have you tried couples’ therapy, a marriage counselor or spiritual advisor?
- Is one partner unwilling to budge? Even though you may both say that you are committed to improving your relationship, is only one of you doing the work to repair what’s broken?
- Are you unable to forgive your spouse for their transgression? Even if you or your husband genuinely regret and have pledged to never repeat the behavior that drove you apart, is the one that has been harmed unable to forgive and move forward?
- Have you considered the outcome of divorce? The emotional, financial and societal price you may have to pay when you end your marriage?
No one can decide for you if it is time for a divorce. It’s a serious decision so do read, research and think about what the right move is for you.
Making the decision to divorce
When you are ready to end your marriage, your next step is to understand what you should and shouldn’t do and to make a plan. Making the decision to divorce is not easy and your shouldn’t rush the process.
Give yourself time to settle the decision in your mind. Not because you might change your mind (and it’s fine if you do) but because you want to handle the divorce from a place of calm, not high emotion as you go over all the reasons why you don’t want to be married to this person.
Once initiated, the process is bound to be painful for both of you. Taking the time to understand that, and how to do this in a respectful manner towards the person you have shared your life with, is important because you are likely to always have your former partner in your life
RECOMMENDED BOOK – Too Good To Leave, Too Bad To Stay. The Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship