Miserable In Your Marriage? 3 Signs That Divorce Is The Next Step

When all else fails, leaving your spouse might be the only good option.

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You have been thinking about leaving your marriage for a while. Tossing and turning through each sleepless night, you struggle with one burning question: "Should I leave?" Here's what you need to know before you make that final decision. 

First, no one can decide for you. It is only you who can make the choice to dissolve your marriage. It took two people to get married, but it only takes one to decide to leave. Before you end things, take a look at the following three reasons to end your marriage and see if any of these apply to you. If you have more than two of the items on this checklist, it could mean that it's time to walk away. 


1. You Haven't Had Sex In A Really Long Time
I mean a really long time. Not just a month or even a couple of months. Sometimes marriages go through dry spells, but if you haven't had sex for years and years and years, or decades even, what are you still doing together? Are you staying together for the kids? Or do you have someone on the side filling that need for you while your spouse is a nice roommate who makes a comfortable home? Is masturbation taking over and siphoning off your erotic energy? Stop and consider if you are holding your partner back from a more complete and fulfilling marriage with someone else who might want to give them a more intimate marriage. 


Maybe you want to have sex, but the power struggle over who reaches out first to restart the intimacy has created a wall between the two of you. Maybe sex is no longer about love but has become a way to prove who is the more stubborn between the two of you, and who can hold out the longest. Be the bigger person and reach out, apologize and give your partner some physical affection. Touch them on the arm, kiss their cheek. Hold their hand. Talk softly and explain that you are not happy being so far apart from them. If you are sleeping in separate beds, ask to come back to the marital bed. If you miss your spouse, let them know. 

The first night back together, just hold each other and fall asleep in each other's arms. Eventually, you can work toward getting your intimate connection back on track. If you need help, contact a sex therapist or a couple's therapist who specializes in intimacy. Before you make a decision about divorce, see if a regular sex date once a week can improve how you feel about your partner and your marriage.

2. You Call Each Other Really Bad Names When You Fight
All couples argue. It is inevitable that you will argue if you live together. And it is totally normal to have conflict. And frankly, fighting does not indicate that it is time to divorce. What matters more is how you fight and if you can resolve your fights. If your arguments have disintegrated into some really mean and harsh name calling, designed to put your partner down and make them feel bad about themselves, then things have gone too far. If you are trying to emotionally damage them to the point that there is no resolving the fight, you might be crossing over into emotional abuse. Stop now, and apologize. You have learned some dirty fighting tricks, most likely from your parents or from your own childhood history and this is not the way to do things. You want to do this marriage thing better than your parents did it, right? So start over. Tell your partner you are sorry for calling them names. That you will work hard to be a grown up from now on and will seek help to learn how to resolve your conflicts. Both of you commit to this together. 

If you have children, run, don't walk, to the nearest counselor and get help. You don't want to pass this on to your children because you can be sure they are calling other kids these exact names at school, and you are raising a bully. Kids learn about relationships at home. If the bullying in your marriage doesn't stop, it will continue with your children. If your partner doesn't stop the bullying and name calling, it might be time to walk away. But first, give it a good try, and commit to being kind.  Go to counseling. If one or both of you won't stop the emotional abuse, think about getting out.


3. There Is Physical Pushing, Throwing And Breaking Objects Or Hitting
If your partner throws things or breaks things in the home when they are mad, they may have a hot temper. They may have learned that this was acceptable behavior. They may say they cannot control themselves. If they are drinking alcohol when they are violent with your household goods and objects, then they might be right. They might not be able to control themselves. If this is the case, they must get help, stop drinking and stop throwing things, or you should consider separation until they can. 

If there is any physical pushing, shoving or if they hit you even once, get out. There is no excuse for physical violence against you. No excuse of any kind. The cycle of domestic violence starts with a first hit or a shove. Then the abuser feels remorse and many times cries or apologizes and swears to never repeat their behavior. Eventually the tension escalates again and the violent behavior repeats itself, usually worse the next time.  And then there is more remorse and then blame. The partner who is violent will twist things around so that the victim will feel guilty for causing the incident. They may say things like, "You should have cleaned the dishes before I got home," or "You were looking at him/her, and I got jealous." If this is happening to you now, and you are not sure what to do or how to get out, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or 911. If your partner is violent with you or your children, it is time to leave, and you don't have to do it alone. The Domestic Violence Hotline will get you to the nearest shelter and tell you how to protect yourself if you are afraid.

Not sure your marriage falls into any of these categories? Most issues can be broken down into these three areas. Has your partner had an affair, or multiple affairs? Has there been addiction or depression? All of these issues can be worked out, if there is a strong foundation of love and support between you and you get the right kind of therapy and you have a support system in place. 

But if you are distant from one another and your intimate life disappears, one or both of you will feel like roommates, and your marriage will only last so long before one of you wants to leave. If you are arguing and things slide into true cruelty and meanness, you should seek help right away and turn the corrosive negativity between you into a force that can propel you into counseling or a couple's intensive or workshop with a trained professional. If you are in any type of abusive relationship, you need to get out now. Get help and seek shelter. There are safe places for you to go and people who can help. 


For more advice and counseling on whether or not you are ready to leave your marriage, contact me at www.drtammynelson.com.

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