Cut your losses and move on.
By Jed Diamond
We know that around 50% of first marriages end in divorce and 75-80% of men and women who have a failed first marriage will remarry, usually within five years. But 66% of second marriages and 73% of third marriages end in divorce.
Too many relationships fail when they could be saved. Most couples have a faulty love map and so get lost on their way to finding real, lasting love.
In my book, The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stages of Relationships and Why the Best is Still to Come, I describe five stages for having the joyful, intimate, juicy, sexy, comfortable, adventurous, relationship most people long to have:
- Falling in Love
- Deepening Love and Making a Life Together
- Disillusionment and Incompatibility
- Real, Lasting Love
- Finding Your Calling as a Couple
Stage 3 is the most misunderstood stage and without guidance too many relationships falter and go under at this time. I’ve developed an on-line program to help people get through to real, lasting love. I’ve learned that most marriages can be saved, but some are beyond repair.
Here are the signs that your relationship is unlikely to be healed:
1. Love has turned to hate.
Many couples will tell me there are times they feel like killing their spouse, but they still love them. Others say love has been lost, but they still care and want love to return. But if love has turned to hate, the relationship may need to end.
2. Blame and shame rule the relationship.
3. Physical and emotional violence are present.
4. You are blamed for everything.
5. Betrayals are common.
6. The relationship is making you sick.
7. You or your partner looks for ways to stay away from the relationship.
8. You or your partner gives your best to someone else.
9. You or your partner live separate lives.
10. Both partners have given up hope.
There are no efforts to improve things. The relationship has turned cold and brittle. One or both partners are waiting for the right time to leave, but they both have given up on love.
No one can really tell someone else when it’s time to leave. When a person comes to me, I do an assessment with them to look deeply at the relationship. We explore how long the relationship has been going on, whether there are children involved, what the couple has done to get help, what each of them wants to have in the future.
Over the years I’ve worked with more than 25,000 couples. Often one person comes to me because they recognize the relationship is in trouble. Usually, one person is leaning towards leaving and the other person wants to keep the relationship alive. I’ve been successful in helping most relationships get back on track, even the ones that look pretty grim and hopeless.
Not all relationships can be saved and some should end so that each partner can breathe again and move on with their lives.
I’ve tried to offer some simple guidelines to begin a discussion on your relationship future. However, most people need more than a simple “10 point guide.” Staying too long in a dead-end relationship can be unbelievably painful. Leaving a relationship has its own kind of pain. If you are trying to decide whether to stay or whether to leave, I suggest you talk it over with a good therapist. You can contact me via email.
I look forward to hearing from you. What’s been your experience deciding whether to stay or leave.
Jed Diamond is the Founder and Director of MenAlive, a health program that helps men, and the people who love them, to live well throughout their lives. You can reach him at The Enlightened Marriage.
This article was originally published at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission from the author.