Is My Marriage Over?
Updated: Jul 12
Lots of couples at some point ask the question: is my marriage over? Here at The Marriage People, we like to think not but unfortunately that isn't always the case. Some marriages are beyond repair and both parties (even children sometimes) are happier when they admit the very hard truth; and part ways.
This is an extremely difficult and heart-wrenching decision, it's also one that is often avoided for as long as possible which can lead to deeper hurt, heightened insecurities and prolonged misery.
So let's take a look at some signals that your marriage is in danger and then look at available last-ditch options before you decide - because really only you can decide - if your marriage is indeed over.
The Big Five - five of the biggest problems in marriage which can sometimes mean the beginning of the end:
1. You only see the worst
Are you able to still see the good qualities in your spouse? Do you still look at them with fondness (even if it's only fleeting)? Or do you only see the things which they don't do, their negatives and flaws. Do you only see their bad (or annoying) habits? Do you see past hurts and offences when you look at them?
If these are true all of the time, then this is a big sign that things are beyond repair. You aren't seeing the person you married but the person who has caused you pain, suffering or neglect. Your good memories have been replaced with too many bad ones.
However if you look at your spouse and see good, remember happy times and know that they are possible again, then there is certainly hope. If you are able to see his or her good qualities, even better appreciate them -- then this is really good news.
2. Intimacy has left the building
If you're no longer intimate and have no desire to be then this is a problem for a happy marriage. However what we need to understand is that intimacy is a big and delicate subject. Firstly for men it is a very physical need and for women a much more emotional one. This means that if women have been hurt or suffered as a result of sexual intercourse then their desire for sex will be affected massively. If she doesn't feel attractive to her husband, cherished outside of the bedroom then sex can be a source of obligation leading to hurt and resentment. We often find that one person (usually the husband) still wants to be intimate, in fact often they want more of it but wives are often less enthused thus creating a cycle of bitterness between a husband and wife. Back to the original statement; if intimacy has left the building and you want it to stay out then this needs addressing or else at least one of you in the marriage is likely to be dissatisfied and hurt.
If however, you want to be more intimate; you both do, then there is hope. Change can happen - with patience, respect and love this can be developed and re-introduced at a frequency - and in a way - in which both partners are content with. Seek support and have honest conversations about what you both want and need.
3. You don't spend time together, and you don't really want to
Not spending enough time together is a common problem. Life is busy; there's work, family, children, hobbies, friendships, addictions... And today there is less and less time for our loved ones. This can be addressed and worked on. However the real problem lies in you - or them - not wanting to spend time together. Perhaps you no longer feel you have anything in common, anything to talk about, or you just can't stand the sight of one another. Either way if it's got to that point then although it's not impossible, it's extremely difficult to come back from that.
If the problem is simply lack of time, not lack of desire then your marriage may not be beyond repair. A desire for more time together is a positive ambition and sign of a potentially happy marriage.
4. You no longer feel listened to
Listening is one of the first things to go in a marriage. It's a sign (NOT A GUARANTEE) that you're no longer cherished or respected. That your voice, and your opinion is not as important as it once was. This can lead to the un-listened to partner feeling sad, lonely, undesired and understandably wanting to leave the marriage. Fortunately this can be worked on, but it takes just that; work. If you or your spouse are not willing to put the effort into becoming a better listener then there is little hope of a happy marriage.
However, if you wish to improve your listening skills - and your spouse is willing to also then there is hope; so much hope.
5. If both of you don't wish - or aren't willing - to get outside help
Perhaps you have tried this already, and perhaps you haven't. But if neither of you are willing to try getting help for your marriage then it's a sign that the marriage is probably too broken. Perhaps it just does not want to be saved.
Getting outside help is a difficult thing to ask for, it means admitting that we need it which many of us are terrible at doing. It can also mean a cash investment which one or both parties do not wish to make. Considering the average cost of a divorce (£14,561*), what you're really communicating is that you just don't want to save it. Some people will promise to change to avoid getting help - and they might do temporarily - but the root problem very rarely goes away. It simply becomes a cycle of one person saying "we need help" and the other responding with "I'll change" and this conversational cycle will occur time and time again until eventually the relationship indeed - ends. And so if one or both of you insists that help is out of the question then it can be a hard truth to face and your marriage may indeed be beyond repair.
However, if you both are willing to seek and accept outside help then there is much hope for your marriage.
To answer the question: is my marriage over? Did you answer true to most of the statements? Here they are again:
I no longer feel listened to by my partner
I only see the worst in my spouse
We no longer have an intimate relationship
We don't wish to spend time together
We don't want to get outside help
If you answered "true" to all of them then it's possible you have a clearer view. If you answered false to one or more then it might be worth taking each of the ones you answered true to and seeing if they can be developed.
Before you commit to your decision, remember the 3 T's:
Try: Try all you can, again. Consider working on your own well-being to see if a raised level of happiness in your own life might just add to the happiness of your marriage. Think: Think very hard, be certain.
And Talk: Talk this through - and not just to those who will vilify your partner but people who can really listen without too much bias. Perhaps someone who has been through divorce or someone who almost did but didn't. Ideally you would speak to an expert who is not only a professional at listening but who can also offer you professional advice to support it.
If you would like to know how The Marriage People can help then please get in touch
We would like to point out that if there is verbal, emotional or physical abuse then we suggest you seek immediate support through Citizens Advice or similar
Source: *In the UK as of September 2018. Source: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/blog/how-much-does-a-divorce-cost