Leaving a marriage can be one of the toughest challenges you will ever face and yet sometimes it’s the right thing to do. If you’re not happy with your relationship, take a closer look at these 4 relationship problems and see whether they apply to your marriage. Then ask yourself the hardest question: Should you stay or should you go?
Lack of communication
If you and your partner’s dinner conversations are filled with pregnant pauses, your workday can be described in a terse, short sentence, your minds are filled with financial worries, or maybe your attention is focused solely on the kids, then your marriage may have problems. This is something known as ‘parallel lives’ – avoiding conversation, side-stepping intimacy, not doing things together and a general feeling of awkwardness, where before you were in complete harmony.
Dramatic decrease in affection
When your normal affection patterns – the kiss as you leave for work, the hug when you get home, physical intimacy or sexual activity – have seemingly disappeared, then there may be a problem. This kind of behaviour signifies ‘disconnection’. Of course, it could be just temporary and there may be good reasons (maybe the kids have zapped all life from the both of you), but if it has been happening for some time, then it’s more likely to be a committed relationship problem.
Irritation and arguments
You’ve never noticed before, but he’s always on his phone and leaving his empty coffee mug on the edge of the sink… and he doesn’t look at you when you speak. You argue all the time about stupid things and regardless of what you say it always ends badly. You feel disconnected and angry and you blame him for why the relationship isn’t working.
But remember, when events and emotions start to overwhelm you, don’t be reactive, rather take a step back and try to see the bigger picture. Then decide on your course of action, knowing that you’re always free to change your mind if you must.
Fantasies of leaving the relationship
If you feel trapped and depressed, it’s tempting to think about a new life, in a new flat and/or in a new relationship. If these fantasies are occurring on a regular basis, and in greater detail, this may well be your subconscious telling you it’s time to get out.
Separation or divorce is certainly not easy and many couples choose to stay in unfulfilling or unhealthy marriages, even though they know in their heart of hearts that they should leave.
Couples often invent reasons to justify remaining in the relationship. In their state of confusion, they stay in the marriage and wait for something dramatic to happen that might finally push them into facing up to reality.
Should you stay?
It may make for a grim conclusion but if any or all the above apply to your marriage, you need to decide. However, for all of that, there’s an important opportunity here that you need to take note of.
Your decision-making process ranges from minor concern to ever-increasing anxiety, and if, after you’ve made the decision to leave, you’re standing there with your bags packed, ready to go, and other competing voices begin to take hold, it’s important that you listen to them very carefully.
Slow down and try to work out exactly how you really feel and what you are or are not willing to do. Don’t think that listening to these voices is, in some way, cowardly, or that second thoughts are a sign of weakness. Rather, consider the two sides of the argument and pay attention to which of these is stronger.
If a part of you is saying, hang on, there’s more that both of us could do to save our marriage and you believe it could be fixed, then take your time and give this more serious thought.
Should you leave?
However, if a bigger part of you clearly says, yes, it’s time to separate, or file for divorce and make a fresh start, then you should take that step. If divorce is the option you’ve chosen, then you should take legal advice straight away. Divorces can be messy and complicated, but they don’t always have to be.
Talk to your solicitor about the benefits of a clean break divorce. ‘Clean break’ divorce orders cut the financial ties between you and your partner. Whilst a divorce ends a marriage, it doesn’t necessarily finalise the money side of a relationship. Unless an agreement known as a Consent Order and a Clean Break Order is issued by the courts, your ex-spouse could claim a portion of your income, assets, pensions, or property anytime in the future.
It’s a tough place that you’re in and the decision you finally make will be a life-changing one for all concerned. But if you know in your heart that it’s the right way to go, then proceed with confidence, knowing that your life will be better for it in the long run.
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