Getting out of a marriage is never easy. Even if it’s the right decision, it still hurts.
The investment you’ve put in the person, the time that now feels wasted, and the many question marks that arise around even mundane things in your life, like how you’ll carry all the groceries into the house now fill you with dread.
But before you can truly admit to yourself that the marriage has expired, you need to discern the signs your marriage is over.
I’ve coached hundreds of women over the years on how to get the most from their marriages.
Dozens of women have brought me their crumbling relationships and asked me to put a magnifying glass to them and assess the marriage.
Time and time again, I’ve found these four signs that a marriage is over.
Here’s a question for you and answer honestly:
How do you feel when you’re around your husband?
Do you feel sad, rejected, inadequate, discouraged, or scared? If so, is it fair to attribute these feelings to his treatment of you?
If the overall feeling you have when around him is negative, it may be a sign the marriage is coming to a close. Ideally, you feel the opposite of sadness and zapped energy. In the ideal relationship, you’re vivacious, feel open with your partner, are always joking, and most importantly, are happy. It’s okay if you feel as though you haven’t won ideal relationship bingo. Few have the ideal relationship. Even if you have moments or brief periods of feelings of negativity that you can attribute to your relationship, that doesn’t mean it’s even on the rocks.
However, sustained depression rather than positivity as a consequence of spending time with your partner is a clear indication that the relationship has deteriorated.
There is a line between telling your partner you want more from them in a compassionate way and criticizing them.
Has your partner been overly critical recently?
If you can’t tell the difference between vitriol and compassionate requests for change, consult with a friend. Ask them if his requests and way of asking seem fair to you. Sometimes it’s difficult to judge things from up close. Consult with friends, family, and even professionals about your husband’s behavior.
But perhaps you feel as though constant criticism is needed. Maybe you think your actions warrant mistreatment. I’ve here to tell you they don’t. It’s true, I don’t know you, but if you feel strongly enough to consult the Internet about your husband’s behavior, chances are he’s in the wrong.
Sure, we can all do better, but we don’t want a raging husband to be the impetus.
Oddly enough, regularly picking fights and heavily criticizing can be his way of trying to leave the relationship. If he’s the alpha male type, he may feel as though he can’t be the one that ends the relationship. He can’t leave what he’s built, he can’t leave the children, he can’t admit failure.
Instead of leaving the marriage (something he desires), he’ll push you away until you can no longer sustain the marriage. Then. he’ll point the finger and feel superior.
In reality, he’s checked out and doesn’t have the emotional intelligence to address the relationship’s inadequacies in a healthy manner.
What are your guiding values? What are your husband’s?
When the values of a husband and wife don’t align, it’s difficult to sustain a marriage.
I for one make it a point of emphasis to have friends and family close to me. I surround myself with them every chance I can. So when my ex didn’t care to always have family and friends around, it created a conflict. She’d run and hide every time friends and family were near. It’s not that she was a bad person; our values just weren’t aligned.
As a consequence, we struggled to make joint decisions. When deeper values are in alignment, superficial things don’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you’re a vegan and he’s not or if he likes bluegrass, but you prefer funk.
What matters are the deeper values.
Is your relationship conducive to growth?
Does it make you want to grow emotionally and mentally?
If your husband isn’t supportive, if he swallows up your dreams, and if he puts you down, you’re not in the ideal romantic environment.
Now some of this may have to do with how you feel about yourself. You may attract the type of person you think you’re worthy of. If you feel lesser than you may attract a person that feeds this unhealthy belief in yourself.
To do away with this negativity, you have to change from within. Change how to view yourself. Doing so will not only improve your own well-being but may spark a change in your marriage. If you make the positive changes you need to improve yourself, your husband may see this and be inspired to change. He may just rise to the occasion and feel a desire to grow with you.
Also, think of your children. Is this sub-optimal environment good for them?
They may see you accepting a crap situation and believe this is the best it will ever get. The cycle of settling for a toxic environment will then continue.
You may need to get out for yourself and your family. Telling your children this is a negative environment is good enough.
Elevate yourself and your family by making internal shifts.
Now that you know the signs your marriage is over it’s up to you to decide what to do next. Is complacency your destiny or will you rise to the occasion and improve your lot in life?
While you may want to do the latter, knowing how can be difficult.
In my program, the Authentic Relationship System, I help women understand men, improve their marriage (should they desire), and of course improve themselves. Book a 1-on-1 call so we can learn more about each other and determine if the program is right for you.
Read how my clients have improved their marriages and overall lives here.