“Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world and unfortunately sometimes they fail,” said actor Demi Moore after her divorce from heartthrob Ashton Kutcher in 2011. The actors had a polite exchange on Twitter – the dignity in their conversation was a lesson on how to leave a marriage peacefully. However, that may not be the case with every couple who is trying to end a bad marriage.
Divorcing the love of your life can be hard and bitter if resentment has built into the marriage over the years. A bad divorce can entail courtroom dramas and hurtful monetary settlements – it could ambush your plans to leave a marriage amicably. Perhaps a certain kind of maturity is required to end a long marriage peacefully.
But, how do you achieve clarity or restraint? What is the mature way of figuring out how to leave a marriage peacefully? What is the easiest way to end a marriage? Is it possible to exit with minimum impact? To answer burning questions around this sensitive issue, we spoke to emotional wellness and mindfulness coach Pooja Priyamvada (certified in Psychological and Mental Health First Aid from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Sydney), who specializes in counseling for extramarital affairs, breakups, separation, grief, and loss, to name a few.
How Do You Know When It’s Time To Leave Your Marriage?
You’ve probably tried everything you could to salvage your failing marriage but nothing seems to have worked. Even in such a situation, you might not consider taking the extreme step to tell your husband the marriage is over or leave a marriage when you still love your wife. But, when love dies in a marriage, there is no point staying in it. But how do you know when that happens? What are the signs you’re in an unhappy relationship and it’s time for a divorce? How do you know it’s time to leave your marriage? Here are a few signs that can help you figure out the answer:
- You’ve either stopped arguing or you argue too much
- You are no longer yourself in the relationship
- Your partner is not your go-to person anymore. You would rather confide in your friends or other loved ones
- You are in a physically and/or emotionally abusive relationship
- You no longer have a sex life
- You don’t make decisions keeping both your and your partner’s best interests in mind. You only think about yourself
- You feel happy thinking of a life without your significant other
- You don’t love each other anymore
The signs were probably always there but you might have chosen to overlook them because divorcing the love of your life seemed like a pretty harsh step to take. But when love is lost, there’s not much you can do to save a marriage. It’s hard to leave a marriage when you still love your wife or husband, but sometimes it’s the best thing to do for your as well as your partner’s happiness. Now that you know the signs, let’s figure out how to end a marriage peacefully.
Related Reading: Why Am I So Depressed And Lonely In My Marriage?
What Is The First Thing To Do When Leaving A Marriage?
“The end of a marriage is traumatic. In such a scenario, it is important to ensure that you remain safe, physically, emotionally, and financially, says Pooja, adding, “It is imperative to know one’s legal rights regarding custody of children and if any joint wealth and property is involved because let’s admit it, it’s hard to leave a marriage with no money. It will do you well to consult a good divorce lawyer. Also, you should keep confiding in friends and family for support and guidance from time to time.”
It will be prudent to familiarize yourself with your legal rights since you do not want to be caught off guard by any judicial action initiated by the spouse. If you have to exit the house, make sure you have a plan for removing or storing furniture and other items that you may want to keep and that you can legally do so. If you are leaving a marriage with a child, you should draw up a plan to organize child custody.
If this sounds intimidating, take a step back and breathe. Collect your thoughts and try not to get overwhelmed. Judicial knowledge is your first friend when leaving a marriage – it is your handbook on how to leave a marriage peacefully. After all, you do not want to commit mistakes that could be used against you legally. It could worsen your exit from the sour relationship.
Expert Tips To Help You Leave A Marriage Peacefully
If you’re looking for the easiest way to end a marriage, allow us to burst your bubble and tell you that there isn’t any. The emotional turmoil can be too much to handle. It can be immensely hard to leave a marriage after you have shared a large part of your life with your spouse. All you might hope for is to end your marriage with minimal damage, to turn over a new page without unspooling the binding of your book.
There might not be an easy way out but you can figure out how to end a marriage peacefully. Emotional clarity and responsibility for actions will be the biggest allies in your quest of leaving a marriage without any drama. Here are a few expert-backed tips that can help you get a grip on your emotions and approach the process with the maturity and calmness needed to avert the drama:
1. Own your part
Self-reflection could turn out to be a scary exercise as you may end up discovering certain frightful aspects of yourself. But, it is imperative to reflect on the part you played in the end of your marriage. It is very easy to cast the blame on the spouse, however, a little introspection and acceptance of your mistakes could help you grow emotionally. The more you claim responsibility for your role in your relationship falling apart, the better poised you will be to end your marriage peacefully.
“The guilt of being a “failure” after the marriage ends is one of the first emotions that may strike an individual. However, it is better to look at the situation in a detached and balanced manner and own up your part rather than assuming complete blame for the end of that relationship. Don’t see yourself as the victim but at the same time, don’t beat yourself up. Hold yourself accountable for the mistakes you made, not the ones your spouse made,” says Pooja.
2. How to leave a marriage peacefully? Let go
There is a possibility that even after the divorce, you may hold on to the idea of the marriage that once was. Its lingering side-effects in the form of warm memories of the person and the relationship may trigger a wave of despair. You have to let go and grieve the moments that have been lost. Try to see the ending of your marriage as a transition and not as a failure. Tell yourself that you have to let go so that you can create a healthy emotional space for the future.
“It is normal for people to evolve and relationships to end. If you remember all the good things you once shared with your former spouse, learn to rejoice, not wallow in them. Know that you walked out after deliberation and careful consideration of the situation, hence do not let pity hit you. Treat yourself with compassion after divorcing the love of your life,” says Pooja.
Related Reading: 10 Must-Follow Healthy Relationship Boundaries
3. Commit to your emotional well-being
When emotions are surging high at the end of a long-term relationship or marriage, it can be hard to prioritize yourself, right? It takes effort to look after oneself, but it pays off because you know yourself better than anybody does. So, wake up every morning and commit yourself to peace.
What does that look like when you are trying to end a long marriage peacefully? What does it feel like when you tell your husband the marriage is over or leave a marriage when you still love your wife? It means you do not talk badly about your former partner, you do not speak aggressively, and do not send any demeaning messages or voice texts.
Even if you have had to leave a marriage with a child and no money, do not fill him/her with poisonous thoughts about your former spouse. Don’t forget that he/she is your child’s parent and will always be a part of their life. The chaos you create may return in ways unknown. Silence and maturity will help you sail through the pain without creating hurdles for the future.
“It is hugely important to focus on yourself when leaving a marriage. Your relationship with yourself is most important. No person is a ‘half’ of a relationship, but a complete individual. Hence, in such a challenging time, self-care and self-love are of utmost importance. You could undertake activities that can nourish you physically and emotionally,” says Pooja.
4. Set boundaries
A divorce is a long process that can evoke strong emotions. There is a chance that overriding emotions could translate into reverberating, sour utterances. To prevent this from happening, try being mindful. Try to remain polite throughout the process, and avoid personal discussions and sharing feelings that may spark arguments.
Setting boundaries is one of the most crucial tips on how to leave a marriage peacefully. Treat the resentment like a wounded physical limb that needs to be tended to. Nurse it till its ache diminishes. You could seek professional help to wade through the maze of complex emotions. Bonobology’s panel of licensed and experienced therapists is only a click away, if you are looking for guidance on how to end a marriage peacefully.
5. Forgive yourself
If you feel you have hurt your spouse, you have to attempt to forgive yourself to end your marriage peacefully. However, ensure that your attempts to forgive yourself do not stem out of pity for yourself. They should aim at liberating you instead. If you have made peace with yourself, you could apologize to your partner for hurting them. Again, this should not be an effort to salvage the marriage but should be directed toward getting a closure.
Pooja says that the apology to the partner should be based on how your marriage was. “Some marriages are highly toxic and even abusive. There is no need to apologize in such a situation. But if you stay friends with your former partner or co-parent your children, you could consider apologizing only if you are the one who was responsible for the end of your marriage,” she says.
6. How to end a marriage peacefully? Share priorities
In a marriage, two partners build a life together by sharing multiple responsibilities. This part need does not have to be suddenly discontinued, especially since it has been vital to your lifestyle or routine. Like two mature adults, you could continue to share priorities. For instance, if you are leaving a marriage with a child, you could figure out rules of co-parenting. If you are emptying the house, you could share the responsibility of bookings and reselling of items – if necessary.
However, Pooja says that an individual must remember that the ex-spouse is the same as a partner. “It is crucial to separate emotions from logistics. One must create a safe space for oneself while respecting the space and boundaries of an ex-partner. Sharing how things might work differently now is crucial too when trying to figure out the easiest way to end a marriage,” she says.
7. End the relationship on a good note
At the end of the divorce proceedings, if you feel you are ready to move on and are certain about wanting to leave the marriage peacefully, thank them for everything they have shared with you. Appreciate the good aspects of your relationship or marriage and the things that you have learned from one another. This may not be a particularly pleasant conversation but more like an acknowledgment receipt of the many years that you have spent with one another.
Related Reading: How To End A Relationship On Good Terms
8. Set the stage
If you have figured out how to leave a marriage peacefully, its tenets will influence how you move forward. If you carry resentment, your future may be filled with bitterness. But, if you have been mindful, it may create a whole new world of wisdom. In short, the way you handle your divorce is how you will set the stage for your future.
The energy that you carry after you end a long marriage peacefully may also be a determining factor in starting a new relationship in your life. A mature outlook may help you attract new friends and may even foster a second chance at love. Don’t just give up yet.
9. See the big picture
A divorce can leave you emotionally drained and the future may appear bleak and full of uncertainties. In such a scenario, you may want a counselor to guide you toward the big picture that you have not been able to see due to fogged-up emotions. Remember that this divorce is a milestone by the side of a long street that will be left behind sooner or later.
Can visualizing what lies ahead for you help you get a better perspective? Are there some things that you wanted to do while you were married but never got around to? Was it a job or writing a book or learning a new skill? There is no better time than the present to start. Seeing your thoughts reflected in your work is sure to give you a sense of satisfaction.
- Divorcing the love of your life can be a hard and bitter experience, making it all the more difficult to leave a marriage peacefully
- Not having arguments or having too many, not spending enough time together, non-existent sex life, and not being in love with your partner anymore are a few signs that your marriage is over
- Consider your physical, emotional, and financial safety and know your legal rights when you decide to end a long marriage peacefully
- Let go, acknowledge your mistakes, set boundaries, share priorities, take care of your wellbeing, and try to look at the brighter side if you want to end a marriage peacefully and move on
If you intend to end your marriage peacefully, it is prudent to ask yourself if you want to create an enemy of your former partner. You may not have to be friends, but if you are breaking up with the love of your life after a long span of being together, it is a given that you will still share some part that involves children, their graduation, weddings, and so on. It is a complex relationship, of course. Being cordial and handling it peacefully may take you a long way. If you are finding it a tad bit difficult, help isn’t very far away.
Legally, there are three ways – divorce, legal separation, and annulment. For your own sanity and emotional wellbeing, try to end your marriage peacefully and on a good note. Leaving a marriage when you’re still in love with your spouse can be incredibly hard, but that doesn’t mean the end has to be bitter. You do not have to be friends, but you can end a long marriage peacefully and amicably, provided it wasn’t abusive. After all, you’ve shared a life for several years.
Focus on your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing when headed for a divorce. COnsider your legal options. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Cut yourself some slack and avoid blaming yourself for the end of your marriage. Acknowledge the mistakes you made and apologize for them, but don’t take the entire blame. Lean on your support system for help, advice, and emotional stability.
Yes. Divorce is a much better option than staying in an unhappy marriage. We understand it’s a difficult decision to make, especially when children are involved. But it’s the best thing you can do if you and your spouse don’t love or get along with each other anymore. We suggest you seek help and leave immediately if your marriage is abusive.