Ending a marriage is never easy, but sometimes it is for the best. While it may seem like a snap decision to some of the people around you, the thought and consideration that goes into the decision often goes on for quite some time.
This contemplation stage can give you time to mentally work through the various emotions of dealing with a dead end marriage, as pointed out by the following discussion.
The toughest thing about a relationship could potentially be knowing when and how to end it. You committed to it believing it would never end. Realizing it must end requires a complete reversal of a genuine, well rooted, belief. You trusted your feelings. You had faith in your relationship, faith in your partner, and faith in your ability as a couple to withstand anything life threw at you. You may have solidified it with children and property.
Reality's erosive tremors, big and small, destabilized your faith gradually, over years of time. When you finally admit that not much of what you believed about your feelings, your partner and your relationship was true, what will you do? Some people live in the ruins of a bad relationship longer than others. Some die in it.
How do people decide finally to get out? Step by step. How many steps it takes depends on the person taking them. Even severely abused partners go back an average of six times and try again. There is no shortcut to the end, no ten ways to tell when to give up and get out, and no fail proof formula that fits all. People who finally leave (even if it seems sudden) have probably left in every way except physically many times and in many ways before the final exit.
We don't talk about it much before we do it, because talking about it produces expectations from the audience that we don't want to produce. "I thought you were leaving. Are you still going to leave? When are you leaving?" We can't always answer those questions definitively. If we talk about it we run the risk of it getting out before we're ready to announce it, then someone might ask, "Is everything okay between you and ...?" We're not ready for that either. And what could they do if they knew?
We don't want to go to a counselor because we're past having faith in our partner's promise to try and we don't care anymore whether it works or not. We don't care whose fault it is. We just want to know what it's like to be free of the dreadfulness our relationship has become.
We take responsibility for our mistakes, and forgive others for theirs, but know that that doesn't mean we have to continue to live with them. We consider our options, what we're willing to sacrifice to gain freedom. We work out the details unselfishly, usually privately, with determination and patience so that those who are affected will be hurt as little as possible. We make decisions carefully considering the consequences of each one. We resolve to avoid adding mistakes to mistakes, and forming new intimate relationships until our emotions have stabilized and our families have adjusted to the change. We weigh advice carefully and look for the motives behind it.
There is no time limit on how long it takes to decide. You can change your mind however many times you need to. It's normal. It doesn't mean you're weak and indecisive. It means doing the right thing matters to you.
When you are ready, you will know.
Article by Marsha Lee Hudgens. May not be re-distributed or copied without the express written consent of the author.
Martha is the author of "Good People Bad Marriages", which has been updated and is available as the e-book "Good People Bad Marriages." Both are based on experiences of ordinary people and written to empower and encourage anyone who is in a bad marriage, and to help readers avoid making bad relationship choices.
To help you work through the emotions, you might consider reading Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay. And for more information about ending a marriage and deciding on divorce, you can also check out the following articles: