Are you going through the normal ups and downs of a long-term relationship, or is it over? These signs a marriage is over will help you see your relationship more clearly.
Feeling like you’ve hit rock bottom in your marriage isn’t necessarily the worst thing to happen in your relationship. Sometimes rock bottom is where you need to be, so you can rebuild your marriage. Rock bottom might help you see your relationship clearly – such as identifying when guilt is keeping you in a marriage you wish was over.
If you have no idea if your marriage really is over, read Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum. It’s an excellent resource that will change the way you see your spouse. Getting an objective perspective without the pain of marriage counselling can help you move forward. And, remember that sometimes you need to go through a bad stage of marriage before you can rebuild a happy, healthy relationship. “In my work doing marriage coaching, I have noticed that very often the turning point in a marriage is when a couple hits rock bottom,” says Mort Fertel. “It’s not until they’ve been through the worst that things start to get better.”
7 Signs Your Marriage is Over
Remember marriage coach Mort Fertel’s words: just because you’re struggling with problems in your relationship, doesn’t mean your marriage is headed for divorce court! The following issues may represent the end of one stage of your marriage….and may herald the beginning of a new, healthier chapter of life. In fact, Mort says cheating husbands are more likely to build stronger marriages.
Your partner can’t see the reality of your marriage. If your spouse doesn’t understand how his actions are affecting you – and even worse, refuses to compromise – then your marriage will be difficult to rebuild. To rise from rock bottom, both partners have to see how their actions or inactions are affecting the relationship – and both partners have to be willing to work on it. If your spouse refuses to accept responsibility, then you have to decide if you want to stay in your marriage the way it is…or end it.
Your spouse sees how thing are, but doesn’t care. You can communicate until you’re blue in the face, but if your partner doesn’t care how you feel or whether the relationship is healthy, then perhaps it’s a sign your marriage is over. Marriage coach Mort Fertel says, “Ironically, communication techniques sometimes give people clarity that they don’t care what their spouse thinks or feels. They “got it,” but “it” doesn’t matter to them anymore.” Communication is secondary to caring.
You don’t connect with your spouse. When you first got married, you probably felt understood, heard, and connected with your partner. Time passes, and the stress of daily life and kids and jobs and money and house all take a toll…and you find that you’re not connecting anymore. This isn’t necessarily a sign your marriage is over – it just means you need to make the time and effort to reconnect.
You have different visions of the future of your marriage. He wants a four million dollar home on oceanfront property; you want to live in a cottage in the country. He wants six children; you’d rather be childfree. He wants his mom and aunt to live with you in his four million dollar home; you can barely tolerate Christmas dinner together. To keep your marriage together, you need to agree on your vision as a couple or family – and put each other first (and your financial goals, parents, or careers second).
Sometimes you don’t need to read signs your marriage is over, because you know divorce is the best option. If you aren’t financially independent or free to walk away, read How to Get Money to Leave Your Husband.
You’re not physically intimate (but this isn’t always a sign your marriage is over). This may not be a sure way to tell if your marriage is over — it depends on your physical and mental health – but if you have no love life to speak of, then you probably aren’t connecting on an intimate emotional and physical level. The less you connect, the less healthy your relationship is…and the more likely your spouse is ending the relationship.
You fight the “wrong” way in your marriage. If you can’t focus on the topic of your argument, opting instead to bring up past mistakes or reopen old wounds, then your marriage may be leaning towards “over.” The more past conflicts come into current arguments, the less healthy your marriage is. This may not be a certain sign your marriage is over, because it’s actually fairly easily remedied if both spouses are willing.
You partner cheats and wants to end the marriage. Many couples survive marital infidelity, and even have a stronger bond because of the cheating. Other couples split up right away, while other marriage limp along for years or decades…and the cheating partner remains unfaithful. Cheating in and of itself isn’t necessarily a way to tell if your marriage is over…it’s how the partners act after the infidelity that determines if they’ll stay together.
I welcome your thoughts on these signs your marriage is over. I can’t give you advice – but below I offer a direct link to marriage coach Mort Fertel. He gives relationship advice, and shares his perspective on the signs of a marriage ending.
If you and your husband are willing to work on your marriage, read How to Go on a Marriage Retreat Without Leaving Home.
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.