When breaking up is all you can do
By Rita Roberts
How do you know when ending your marriage is the right choice for you?
No one can or should answer that question except you. Only you know what’s in your heart. However, you may want to consider some advice on how to recognize the signs that your marriage is headed for divorce.
Although each marriage is as unique as the couple, there are still some common reasons that can lead a marriage to divorce.
Any one of the situations below may be telling you that it is time to divorce:
Emotionally Out-Growing Your Partner.
When one or both people go through a critical life change, such as infidelity, family death, an addiction problem, a job loss, or a major health setback, the experience can have a huge negative emotional impact on the core foundation of a marriage.
Even though you are a couple, each person will process the change differently – usually one more positively and the other one more negatively. When this happens, both people begin to struggle to share the same values, opinions, and beliefs as the other when once both saw eye-to-eye with each other.
The positive-minded partner tends to be more open to doing any of the necessary self-work or emotional healing required to bring them to a place of acceptance as a result of the life change. The outcome usually leaves them feeling as though they have experienced some form of personal transformation.
Whereby, it alters their values, beliefs, and perception of the way they now view the world and themselves. However, the negative-minded partner typically refuses to change and unfortunately remains “stuck” in their pain and longing for their old life before the change occurred. And unfortunately, their differences can ultimately threaten the foundation of their marriage.
The only way they can ensure continued emotional growth in their marriage is for the negative or “stuck” person to emotionally want to heal as well so that their marriage can continue to grow and they can evolve as a couple. Or at the very least, both will need to agree to adapt to each other’s differences – agree to disagree – so they can continue to grow together emotionally.
Unfortunately, if both people cannot adapt to each other’s new version of reality and/or are not willing to at least empathize with the other’s choices; this can create a major emotional wedge between them causing a separation of the hearts. Soon the couple begin to feel estranged from each other resulting in the absence of any further emotional growth and a loss of love between them. This is also commonly known as “falling out of love” with each other.
This emotional disconnect, or love loss, is often the result of one partner stagnating and remaining stuck due to their fear or resistance to change and the other continuing to grow as a person and evolving without them. This is referred to as emotionally “out-growing” your partner.
Poor or No Communication.
Another major contributor for the deterioration of a marriage is bad communication. It’s amazing how many couples never communicate their true feelings to each other. As a result, without the couple even knowing how or why it happened, they lose their emotional connection with each other. This is the beginning of the end of their marriage.
Loss of Desire to Be Together.
If the relationship reaches a place where one or both partner’s heart is no longer in the game and it takes more energy than they are willing to devote to fixing it, this is a sure sign that the passion is gone and divorce becomes inevitable.
Whatever the reasons are for a marriage to end in divorce, one thing is true for both people, they will need to emotionally heal and grieve the loss of their marriage and from all the mixed emotions that arise as a result of their breakup – especially if they co-parent children together as well.
They must be willing to heal through each emotional layer in order to let go of their old hurtful past and make room for a new happier future – for their good and good of their children. Otherwise, they will continue to harbour anger and resentment and begin adopting a “victim” mentality.
There is often one person in the marriage who is more in favour of getting divorced than the other person. Rarely do both individuals want a divorce at the exact same time. Although at first, both may not be consciously aware that their marriage is deteriorating, at a deeper level they realize that they are growing apart and that their relationship has worsened, causing them to fear what comes next.
At this point, they tend to slip comfortably into denial until one of them finds the emotional strength to stop denying what is happening to the relationship and finally asks the other for a divorce. Other married couples may spend the rest of their lives denying the truth of their unhappiness, allowing fear to keep them stuck in an unhappy marriage.
Whatever the situation that leads a couple to want to separate or divorce, know this…that the “truth” about their marriage – what happened, what didn’t happen – always ends up getting exposed in the end. Often the truth behind a person’s reasons for wanting a divorce may hurt their partner – perhaps, even devastate them; however, when the truth eventually does come out, it can prove to be quite emotionally freeing.
Once the person gets over the initial shock and takes the time they need to heal from their pain, they often admit to having known deep down that there had been problems in the marriage, but they were too afraid to address them because they believed that admitting the truth out loud would only compromise the relationship further. Ironically, it is often the partner who is in self-denial regarding the deterioration of the relationship that is the one that contributes the most to the final breakdown of the marriage.
If you are reading this right now, perhaps it’s because you or someone you care about deeply is seriously contemplating a divorce due to feeling unhappy. As a healer who has coached many unhappy clients back into happiness, my advice to you is this…if you have done all you can do and said all you can say to help save your marriage and your heart is still unhappy, then find the courage to face your fears and be brutally honest with your feelings.
Because in the end, only the “truth” truly sets our hearts free to be who we are meant to be and it’s every person’s birthright to live a free and happy life – including you.
Rita Roberts is a life coach, speaker and certified parent educator, specializing in emotional healing. Her book, “Parents with Price Tags”, teaches how to recognize harmful family dysfunction and offers realistic advice to help restore self-esteem and create a happy life. For more information, go to www.reikirita.com.