How Do You Know When Your Marriage is Over?

If you are trying to make the decision of whether or not to divorce, this section is for you. Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay, by Mira Kirshenbaum, is arguably one of the most helpful guides for helping people who want to get out of Limbo. Instead of using a balance scale approach to weigh the pros and cons for staying or going, she poses 36 practical questions to ask yourself, and guidelines to help you make sense of your answers. It’s a diagnostic approach to evaluating your relationship. She presents each question, applies real-life examples and guidelines to make sense of your answer. We couldn’t begin to do this book justice by summarizing it. If you are in this position, we strongly recommend you spend time working through this book.

 “The only way to get what you really want is to let go of what you don’t want.”
― Dr. Iyanla Vanzant

Earlier, we reviewed some of the wrong reasons to go. But, what are the right reasons? Below are some signs to consider. You feel…

  • disrespected
  • dishonored
  • that your self-worth is diminishing
  • like you are dying a little more inside every day
  • emotionally disconnected from your spouse
  • humiliated
  • that trust is irretrievably broken
  • unsafe
  • that the deal-breaker happened
  • physically unwanted by your spouse
  • no physical passion for your spouse
  • that fun outside of kids is not possible any longer, or
  • emotionally invested in a different life–pursuing something or someone else
  • If too many of these feelings sound like you–it’s probably time to go.

To recap some of what we’ve covered in this section so far…

  1. Millions of people live in unhappy marriages. Nothing specific needs to be wrong for a marriage to be unhappy, although it can be hard to quantify because your marriage may seem so perfect. It can be the growing apart and slow disengagement that can occur over years.
  2. If there is still a chance for your marriage to work in a healthy way where both spouses find happiness and fulfillment, we encourage you to work on your marriage. We provided many ideas for methods to do so.
  3. Self-work and exploration, with a therapist or on your own, may be a helpful process to come to your decision.
  4. Couples often believe they need to stay together for the sake of the kids. However, many experts do not agree. It is often cited that the quality of parenting after the divorce can lessen many of the potential negative effects of divorce on children. Experts also widely believe that living with parents who are unhappily married can be very damaging as well.
  5. Post-divorce finances are scary and often not as comfortable as being married. It’s important to face the fear now to get a handle on where you are and what decisions need to be made so you can make ends meet after divorce.

We’ve given you a lot to think about. Hopefully you feel a little less alone, and perhaps have words to describe and validate what you are feeling. We encourage you to not wait for the magical sign or the event to tell you what to do. Make your decision and take the next step.

The next two sections will give you an overview of the divorce process and tips for coping with divorce.