The end of a marriage can be a fierce blow to deal with. If you’re struggling to accept that your marriage over and you have to let go of the spouse you love, know that you’re not alone. Every marriage goes through its share of ups and downs, and we’re told that life partners are meant to weather such storms together.
That’s why the most difficult part, often, is trying to figure out if it is time to let go of a bad marriage or you’ve simply hit another rough patch that you must work through together.
In the book Signs That It Is Over: A Self Help Guide To Know When Your Relationship Or Marriage Is Over And What To Do About It author Denise Brienne says, “Relationships ebb and flow and change, and sometimes those changes can feel like the end, when it’s really not. But other times, what feels like a minor speed bump can turn into the painful breakup you never saw coming.”
Even if the signs are there that a marriage is going downhill the hardest thing is to accept the marriage is over and you need to end the marriage peacefully. There are times it’s better to let go of a marriage then keep struggling in it and accept divorce even when you don’t want to.
To help you understand if it is time to let go of the spouse you love, we will try to understand when your marriage is truly over and what you can do to accept this fact.
How Do You Know When Your Marriage Is Really Over?
Understanding when your marriage is over can be quite a frightening task. It is common for people to waste their time in unhappy relationships simply because they hope that things will get better one day. But sometimes, you’re just flogging a dead horse and doing so at the cost of your happiness and well-being.
Well-known American psychologist Dr John Gottman, who has been counselling couples for more than 40 years now has been able to predict divorce with 90% accuracy. His predictions are based on his method which he calls the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and those are – criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.
In his book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, Dr Gottman points out that contempt is the biggest predictor or divorce because it erodes the marriage. Being contemptuous of each other means there is lack of respect and admiration in the marriage.
If you and your partner showcase a majority of these traits, it is time to accept the marriage has ended. Apart from contempt, what are the signs in your marriage that say it is time for a divorce? Let us tell you.
Related Reading: 7 Warning Signs You Are Growing Apart In Your Marriage
1. Living like a single person
One warning sign of divorce is that you and your partner frequently make plans that do not involve the other. While it is healthy for you and your partner to have your own groups of friends, frequently choosing to spend time with friends rather than your partner, means that one or both of you are letting go of the marriage.
It might be hard accepting the end of your marriage, but if your partner refuses to spend enough time together as a couple, you might have to let go of the spouse you love.
2. Cheating appeals to you
Even married people sometimes fantasize about other people, but they would never dream of cheating on the partner that they love. Fantasies are simply guilty pleasures that couples indulge in from time to time.
If cheating stops being a fantasy and becomes something that appeals to you, it might be a sign that you are letting go of your marriage. While there is quite a difference between cheating and thoughts of cheating, such thoughts still signify an unhappy marriage.
If you frequently find yourself drawn to other people, you need to accept that your marriage no longer has a leg to stand on.
3. Unexplained and mysterious finances
One of the warning signs that a divorce is on the cards is that either one or both spouses start financial decisions without consulting each other. Once you are married, every decision your or your spouse makes impacts the other as well.
In a healthy marriage, financial planning plays an important role. Both partners work together to take a call on expenses, savings, build assets and so on. If your partner does not keep in you in the loop about these things, it’s an ominous sign that you need to accept your marriage is over.
Related Reading: How To Deal With A Lying Husband?
4. Thinking of your partner exhausts you
At the start of your marriage, you probably couldn’t wait to get back home and see your partner. Thinking of them made you happy. This is a sign of a healthy relationship, where you look forward to spending time with your partner.
However, if you fight constantly or are dealing with long periods of hostility, thinking about your partner or being with them can feel frustrating and exhausting.
This only happens in the case of an unhappy marriage that does not have a future.
5. Divorce is no longer an idle threat
Sometimes when arguments get heated, you and your partner could say hurtful things to each other that you don’t mean. Sometimes you threaten divorce, and as soon as you say those words, you wish you could take them back.
One day, however, you may find that when say those words, you actually mean them. If you’re at that stage, when you are seriously considering divorce and separating from your partner, there is no room left for ambiguity. It is time to accept your marriage has ended.
How To Accept Your Marriage Is Over?
Ending a marriage is just the first part of the process. The other part is accepting the marriage has ended and moving on. Even after you have let go of the spouse you love, you might find it difficult to get over their memory and you might still miss them dearly.
Angela Stewart and Ralph Wilson (name changed) were high school sweethearts who married and then got divorced three years later. Angela said, “All my life there was only one man I had known and it was Ralph. I cannot do away with all the memories we created together for so long. Whenever I eat his favourite dish, watch his favourite show or meet our common friends, I keep grappling with my feelings.
Although he was cheating I was willing to forgive him and salvage our marriage. But my husband was adamant he wanted a divorce. It took me a very long time to accept that divorce was inevitable.”
While this is a completely natural state of mind to be in, it is also unhealthy and you need to work to get out of it. You cannot let your spouse hinder you from living your best life after ending a marriage.
To help you make progress on that front, here are some tips to help you truly accept your marriage is over.
Related Reading: Is The 7-Year Relationship Itch Real?
1. Acknowledge how you feel
Different people have different reactions when the let go of a bad marriage. Some find it difficult to let go of a bad marriage, while some are happy to finally be free from their partners.
No matter where you are at on this spectrum, the only way to properly let go of a bad marriage is to truly acknowledge how you feel. Only after you come to terms with your true feelings can you begin the healing process and move on to the next chapter of your life.
2. Recognize that your partner cannot provide what you need
To let go of a bad marriage, you need to realize that your partner is simply not capable of providing you with the type of emotional support and affection that you require. Once you accept that, you will begin to realize that you don’t need your spouse to be content or happy.
Ending a marriage can be a painful decision, but staying in an unhappy marriage will leave you tired and bitter.
It is healthier to let go of a bad marriage and continue with your life.
3. Talk to your friends and loved ones
Ending a marriage can feel quite brutal. You can no longer talk to or trust the person you were once closest too. This can taint your view on relationships and can make you question your self-worth.
To let go of a bad marriage healthily, it is always a good idea to talk to your friends and family so that they can help you through these negative emotions. Keeping good company can be the key to feeling better about yourself. It will help you in accepting the end of your marriage.
4. Focus on your life
If you’ve ever said to yourself that your marriage is over and you don’t know what to do, a good idea would be to try and regain control of your life as an individual. Dive back into your hobbies, explore the world around you, pursue your passions or work toward your ambitions.
You need to try to live life again so that you realize that your decision to let go of a bad marriage has allowed you to be happy once again.
Trying to be your own person again is a great way to start accepting the end of your marriage.
5. Practice self-care
You will feel very vulnerable for at least some time after ending a marriage. It is not an easy task to let go of the spouse you love. During this time, you need to realize that you have to put your mental and physical well-being above everything else.
This is where self-care comes in.
Self-care is doing what you want to do to feel better about yourself. Figuring out how to make your present situation more tolerable will go a long way in helping you accept your marriage is over.
Related Reading: 10 Signs You Married The Wrong Person
6. Set some goals
Any person, married or single, needs to have clear and definite goals in mind that they would wish to achieve. Having goals or setting standards for yourself can help to let go of a bad marriage. Working toward your goals will give you some semblance of order and normality in what would otherwise be a very tumultuous time.
If your marriage is over and you don’t know what to do, trying to find an achievable goal can help you accept that the marriage has ended.
7. Remember to still believe in love
After ending a marriage, it might be hard to believe in love for a while. But love comes in many forms. There is the love of a partner which can be intense and make you feel elated. There is the love of a friend which can help you relax and remind you of who you are. Then, there is self-love that teaches you to cherish yourself.
Every relationship brings in a different form of love into your life.
While you might find it difficult to replace the love you lost in your partner, allowing yourself to still love can make you appreciate life a lot more.
No matter how much mentally prepare for this eventuality, you cannot soften the blow that comes from the end of a marriage. Once you can accept your marriage is over, only then can you begin the process of healing and begin a new chapter in your life. Moving forward when your marriage is over will take some time but you can do it.
While your marriage may have been a very important part of your life, it is not the be-all and end-all of life. In case you’re unable to make progress on this front, going into therapy can help you process your emotions. You can now seek professional help and guidance at the click of a button.
You need to first acknowledge how you feel, then realise that even if you stay together happiness will elude you, accept that you and your partner have drifted apart and focus on your new life with a positive attitude.
When you live like two separate individuals under one roof, thinking of your partner exhausts you, when you are together either you don’t talk at all or you are fighting and your partner might be cheating too. When you are thinking of divorce a lot you will know your marriage is over.
The first step should be to accept that it is over. You take the help of family and friends to express yourself, you can opt for counselling too. Set new goals and occupy yourself with hobbies and interests.