Stay or Go? When to Leave Your Marriage

All relationships are difficult, but these red flags may indicate that it's time to leave your marriage.
Unhappy woman holding wedding ring close up

Leaving your marriage is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. It is a complex and personal issue, and only you know whether or not you should try to repair the relationship. So, if you’re pondering a permanent split, consider these common signs when deciding if your marriage is salvageable so you can know when to leave your marriage. 

Lack of Emotional Support

You’ve lost confidence in your husband’s ability to be there for you, and he’s no longer your go-to person when something good happens or when you are struggling. Instead, you turn to friends who have replaced your husband emotionally.

Lack of Communication

No communication, couple doesn't talk, divorce

You rarely talk anymore, and when you do, he no longer makes an effort to really hear what you are saying. This makes you feel that your thoughts and feelings don’t matter to him.

Lack of Respect

Your wants and needs are ridiculed or ignored. He trash-talks you in public. Communication is condescending, and disagreements are mean-spirited. He puts you down, causing your self-esteem to sink, and you feel more and more depressed. 

You Are Being Abused

Any sort of mental, physical, or emotional abuse is an absolute deal-breaker. 

He Has an Untreated Addiction

He pays more attention to his whatever he is addicted to than he does to you and refuses to seek treatment, draining you emotionally and physically.

Shifting Priorities

Mature couple fighting at home sitting on the sofa.

Your goals and outlooks have changed since you were first married. You’ve drifted apart and find you have literally nothing to talk about. It’s as if you both are moving in completely different directions.  

Arguing Too Much

Arguments seem to happen out of nowhere and always boil down to winning, as opposed to compromise and connection. Disagreements never get resolved. You’ve developed a habit of provoking each other and pushing each other’s buttons, and arguments, in general, have become toxic.

Lack of Effort

He’s apathetic towards you. Your marriage has become completely one-sided, and you feel like you’re the only one in the relationship. You no longer work as a team and never disagree, as if he’s given up. He’s avoidant, so you bear the brunt of the relationship’s emotional labor.

Inability to Compromise

It’s his way or the highway, with no meeting in the middle. He doesn’t apologize or take responsibility for his actions and seems to lack empathy or remorse.

Financial Incompatibility

Budgeting or financial planning

Any financial setback strains your marriage and causes resentment. He tracks every penny you spend, and you feel suffocated. Or, he overspends while you are frugal. He struggles to hold down a job when you’re the breadwinner, and you are collapsing under the financial weight of the marriage.

You Feel Single

You can’t imagine growing old with your husband. “We” has been replaced with “I” as you have become detached from the marriage. Perhaps you fantasize about a life without him, including thoughts of someone else. You’re developing an exit strategy—cruising apartments, secreting money away, and consulting friends—as if your heart is already out the door.

Lack of Affection or Intimacy

There are no more hugs, kisses, or sex, and any sort of intimate connection has disappeared. In short, you feel like he’s a roommate.

Hiding Your True Self

You often step outside of who you are and sense your personality has changed, feeling the need to shrink yourself when he is around and never really relax, filtering what you say and do for fear of rejection or angering him. You might even have a negative physical reaction when he walks into the room. In short, you feel like he brings out the worst in you and that you aren’t being true to yourself when you are with him.

Infidelity

He’s getting his physical and/or emotional needs met elsewhere and refuses to end that relationship. Or he’s ended the affair, but you dredge it up every time you have an argument. You have a lasting resentment that you just can’t get over.

Therapy Doesn’t Bring Change

Marriage counseling, therapy

Challenges can’t be defeated with the help of a couple’s counselor, or your husband refuses therapy altogether. You’ve exhausted all of the possibilities of making it work with third-party intervention, and nothing has improved.

Hopelessness

You’re hopeless that things will get better, and the thought of things staying the same scares you more than the thought of leaving.

You’ve Fallen Out of Love.

When you have fallen out of love, then it is probably unfair to both of you to stay together. While leaving a relationship is not a choice that comes easily, your physical and mental health are the most important things. So, if you are always wondering if you should leave, and your gut says you must leave, stop wasting your time and energy. Move on – so you can explore other connections that could truly make you happy and have the peace of mind you deserve.

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