Not all of us get to choose when we leave a marriage.
Sometimes, our spouses make the decision for us with a gentle nudge or by packing up all their belongings and moving out. Or if you come home and find the locks changed and a stack of suitcases with your clothing sitting in front of the garage, you’re right to believe that a divorce is coming!
Yet, often in relationships, one spouse or the other has to make the first move to leave the marriage.
How do you know when you should stay and when you should leave?
For argument’s sake, let’s assume that you’ve spoken to your astrologer, checked in with your lucky tarot deck and are mentally at your wit’s end. You literally can’t take another day with this intolerable person but you’re still not sure if leaving makes sense or not.
On one hand, you know you’ll find peace, sanity and joy by leaving.
On the other hand, you think you’ll ruin your kids’ life, disappoint everyone who loves you and fear living alone the rest of your life.
So, what do you?
In my friend Lisa Thomson’s new book, A Divorce Companion, she asks and answers this question about when to leave a marriage.
It’s one of the most common questions she gets from the readers of her blog. In general, she believes the answer is different for each person because everyone has a unique circumstance and relationship.
But if you’re thinking about leaving your marriage, Lisa suggests these 5 signs to watch out for:
1. Your spouse is emotionally, verbally or physically abusive.
Lisa says that it may be abusive in even the slightest of ways but if you’re in an abusive relationship, the abuse is likely overt, destructive and unbearable.
2. You’ve tried marriage counseling and it hasn’t change anything.
Personally, I don’t think too much of marital counseling, as it may be way too late when you get there. In my personal experience, I found that counseling just made things worse. Our faults and dysfunction were amplified and more public with our therapist.
3. You are last on his list.
Hmmmmm, I would say this is definitely a sign. You may not be last on his list but you’re definitely not his priority. When you’re in a dysfunctional relationship, you don’t value or appreciate each other.
4. Your sex life is non-existent.
I’ll let this one speak for itself.
5. He doesn’t consult with you before making important decisions
You’re left in the dark on important decisions about parenting or finances. He might make unilateral decisions for both of you and not consult you on major decisions that affect both of you.
Lisa thinks it’s our inability to accept the truth that ultimately keeps us from moving forward and leaving our marriages.
“The truth can be easily justified with excuses,” she writes. “The truth can be replaced with false hope – hope for an improved tomorrow that never comes.”
Instead of accepting the truth and doing what is necessary, you make up excuses and justifications to stay in a marriage that kills both of you. You hold onto false hope and promises of a better day simply to avoid the pain and suffering that divorce brings with it.
Will you continue to accept a troubled marriage without taking any action about it?
Will you live a life that’s filled with false hope for a person you should have left long ago? Realizing you’re in a bad place and accepting that there may be no chance for improvement is a good first step, Lisa reminds us.
Rooting in your truth and accepting the circumstances as they are will give you more clarity and courage to do what’s necessary.
You could lie to yourself and live small while suffering through an intolerable marriage.
Or you could check in with the many external and internal signs about what’s going on in your life and practice acceptance. Not acceptance so you can get a divorce but acceptance so you can live your truth.
Living truthfully will give you clarity.
Clarity will help you guide your future decisions and actions.
If you’re looking for clarity in all aspects of your divorce, from when to get a divorce to how to get over your divorce, then Lisa’s latest book is for you. It will give you much needed hand-holding and guidance to make good decisions during a difficult time.
Pick up A Divorce Companion today on Amazon here.
Lisa Thomson is a Canadian blogger, writer and author. You can find her blog on leaving a marriage, dating and parenting here: http://www.lisathomsonlive.com/
* Photo credit Unsplash