You may sometimes find yourself questioning whether your marriage is worth fighting for or whether you should bail out. If you are like many married people, being sure that the relationship is over is one thing, but doing something about it is quite another. After all, divorce is one of the most life-changing steps a married person can take in life.
The truth is, if you are completely sure that your relationship is over, you need to end it. Somebody has to make the first move, and your spouse may be just as scared/lazy/unsure about it as you are. Breaking up is no easy task, and you would not be alone if you are in a relationship that is long over-due for a breakup.
Some breakups happen like they do in the movies, with (usually) the man’s luggage being tossed out onto the street. In other cases, the relationship sort of just dies a slow death. So, how do you know when your marriage is over?
First, it is important to get in touch within yourself with the reasons why you want to end your marriage. For most people, the reason that first comes to mind is not the real reason. So, really do some soul-searching and be honest with yourself about why you want to leave your spouse.
Once you know the answer, the next step is to be totally honest with yourself and with your partner. Set up a time that makes sense for both of you to discuss the pending breakup. It is much better to do it in person than over the phone or by letter (or text, e-mail, etc.)! However, if long distance separation is currently a reality in your marriage, these other methods may be the only way to do it.
When you are preparing to end your relationship, get yourself into a mindset of compassion first. It is important that you treat your partner with love and respect, even if your breakup is accompanied by a lot of hard and bitter feelings. It is especially important to preserve this cordial relationship between the two of you if you have children – or if you have mutual business dealings that will require ongoing communication in the future.
During the breakup, do your best to say things that do not put your spouse on the defensive. For example, talk about what you have gained from the relationship and how much you have grown during the time you have been together. Be totally focused in the moment, rather than wandering off in your mind. Be in touch with not only what you feel, but with what your spouse is feeling, as well.
Make sure to avoid taking anything he or she says too personally. Your spouse may talk crazy or say things that they will regret later. Do not respond with the same type of talk in a way that would let the negativity escalate. Rather, take it all in stride – it will all be over soon and eventually both of you will heal.
In the weeks after the breakup, give your partner the chance to meet with you more than once. They may need you. Or, conversely, they may want some time apart where they do not have to be reminded of any pain they may be feeling when they think of you. Either way, give him or her what they ask for throughout the course of the breakup process.
At the same time, you do should avoid feeling regret or guilt about your actions. You are ready to begin a new stage of your life, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. The secret is to stay in touch with the real reasons for your breakup and be confident in your decision.
IF, however, you follow my advice and get stuck on the first step (i.e., getting in touch with the real reasons you want to end your marriage), maybe you are not really ready to break up. In fact, you may be hiding a real desire to make things work with your spouse. Maybe you are just too afraid or are feeling too much pain to make the right effort. If so, it may be worthwhile to make a last-ditch effort to try to save the relationship. After all, almost all relationships can be saved if you meet certain conditions. If you have the time and are willing to give it one more serious try, you may be able to make a positive difference. The two of you could pull through this stronger than ever.