Marriage is meant to be a lasting partnership between two people who love and support each other. Unfortunately, there may come a time when ending your marriage is the healthiest decision. You may feel like a failure, but it takes courage to admit when it's time to end things, and leaving means you are closer to finding the right person or situation for you.
When the marriage gets toxic
Couples fight, disagree, compromise and fight again, but when your partnership feels like a never-ending battle, you may need to pause and evaluate whether you and your partner have become toxic for each other. While the occasional rough patch can cause any couple to wonder if it's all worth it, there are some clear warning signs that should indicate your marriage is in trouble.
If your partner obsesses over who you spend time with, how you spend money or how long you're gone, or constantly accuses you of cheating or wanting to cheat, this a pattern that could escalate to abuse.
Your partner may want what's best for you, but sometimes this desire becomes an obsession. If your partner uses mind games to get their way, whether it's what outfit you wear to work, how you both spend your evenings or your career choices, this is a sign of insecurity in the relationship.
Walking on eggshells
When you fight all the time, it can feel like all you want is one quiet day. Your whole existence becomes focused on not "setting off" your partner. If you find yourself avoiding topics or changing narratives to avoid a fight, this is a sign that communication has broken down in your marriage.
Lying or withholding information
When you have a controlling partner, your every action is under scrutiny. As a result, you may lie, withhold information or redirect conversations to avoid confrontation. Unfortunately, if you have to lie to your partner, this defeats the purpose of sharing your life together; it's a cue that something in the relationship may need to be addressed.
Identifying a toxic turn in your marriage does not necessarily mean divorce is the only way out. Sometimes a toxic relationship results from resentment or past issues that have not been resolved. The trick is identifying the problem early and getting help to resolve the issue.
Know when to call it quits
You may want to consider consulting a professional counselor or therapist before deciding to end your marriage, as long as it's not an abusive relationship. Otherwise, letting your ego and a refusal to accept defeat get in the way of your well-being is never a wise decision. Making the choice to terminate a marriage is difficult, but there are specific signs that can help to simplify this choice.
While most couples have a set of issues that become a constant theme, fighting about the same issue repeatedly without a sign of reconciliation may be an indication your marriage has reached an impasse and divorce may be the way out.
In addition to having different perspectives, if your partnership feels more like you're roommates, it's possible both of you have changed so much that you're no longer compatible. While this may be difficult to accept, incompatibility is nearly impossible to overcome.
Stuck in a pattern
You may feel like the marriage is never going to move forward. The same issues of the past derail any potential for growth, there's no passion, and you just want to cut and run.
If one or all of these signs sound familiar, it may be time to consider ending it before this pattern of unhappiness turns to abuse, whether it's physical, mental or emotional. If you fear for your safety, you have no choice but to end the marriage. You should create a safety plan and an exit strategy, and call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), if necessary.
Finding happiness again
We've all heard the phrase "it takes two to tango," and it's true that it takes two to end a marriage. As you work through the complicated process of filing for divorce, remember your partner may be struggling, too. It may be tempting to reach out to your former partner to smooth things over, but this can be counterproductive, especially if the marriage you just left was toxic. Let your attorney do the job you hired them to do.
Instead, think about the opportunities you have now that you have reclaimed your life. Ending a marriage is sad, but the new freedom offers you the opportunity to refashion your life and find happiness as you build a healthy and supportive partnership with someone new.