When to Leave a Marriage

Based on this title, it sounds as though I’m going to tell you exactly when you should leave your marriage.  When to leave a marriage is the number one key word search that brings people to my site.  Yet, I haven’t written one blog post to tell you when to leave your marriage because that would be presumptuous.  Everyone faces unique circumstances.  My book however, touches on this very question in the first chapter. The quiz also prompts some hard thinking and

when to leave a marriage
sosurce; Pinterest

even gives you a score to indicate the status of your marriage today.  Is it an epic fail or is it simply in need of a little TLC?  I had one woman take the quiz with her friend by her side at the woman’s show where I was selling my book.  She finished the quiz and in a glib manner told me “I passed, so I don’t need your book.”   If I was trying to convince her to end it or at least sell her my book,  she just one upped me by passing the quiz…Seriously,  I do not presume to have that power or knowledge.  No one knows better than you, when it’s over.  No one knows better than you, what goes on behind closed doors.

Nevertheless since you asked; here are 5 very clear signs it may be time to leave your marriage…

1. Your spouse is verbally, emotionally or physically abusive (in even the slightest of ways)

2. You’ve tried marital counseling and nothing changed (or it only changed for a short time)

3. You are last on his list

4. Your sex life is non-existent

5. He does not consult you nor value your opinion in family, career and parenting issues

when to leave a marriage
source; Pinterest

I think the most difficult part of knowing when to leave a marriage is admitting the truth.  The truth of your situation can easily be glossed over.  The truth can easily be justified with excuses.  The truth can be replaced with false hope— hope for an improved tomorrow that never comes.  That is human nature and our way of coping with less than ideal situations.   We make excuses for our unhappiness instead of simply admitting that we are unhappy and that there is little chance for improvement.  ‘It is what it is’ might be the simple answer but the question is, can we accept it?  Can we continue as ‘it is’ and live to our full potential?  Everyone deserves to be happy and fulfilled and if our marriages are the opposite, should it be acceptable to continue living that way?  It is what it is…yes, but let’s take a hard and honest look at what it really is…and we will undoubtedly find our answer to the question; ‘when to leave a marriage’.  Even better, you will likely find your truth in the process.

when to leave a marriage
source; Pinterest

Did you leave your marriage? How did you know when to leave?

Don’t be shy…share your thoughts!

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20 Replies to “When to Leave a Marriage”

  1. Five excellent points, Lisa. Of course, when there are kids in the picture, it gets very, very complicated. And the longer the marriage – in my opinion – the more complicated. So many people are affected.

    But these signs surely point to realities that shouldn’t be denied.

    1. It’s true that it’s complicated with the children. In some cases it is better for the children though, as in #1. Thanks D.A., for stopping by 🙂

  2. Very good examples! There was one important reason that I feel was left off the list: Addiction. Whether it is drug, alcohol, sex or gambling– if they have been to rehab and are relapsing time and time again, then it is time to leave the marriage. You cannot fix them no matter how hard you try. Take care of yourself and the children first… Let an addict learn on their own and the hard way. Move on with your life.

    1. Thank you for pointing this out, Stella! This is so important. Addiction can destroy relationships and marriages and often us nuturers (typically women) feel obligated to stay and ‘help’ the addicted, to no avail. Thank you for mentioning this! 🙂

  3. #4 and #2 were the case with us even before we got married. My breaking point was when my ex told me he wasn’t attracted to me, which was shocking. He would literally be happy staying married to me and never being physically intimate ever again. That was not OK for me, and thousands of dollars in counseling didn’t fix it either. I did the right — but sad — thing by divorcing him. He would agree.

    1. It’s tough to be the one to make the decision. We take the rap for the breakdown even though, as you say it was broken for a long time. It’s amazing how people expect couseling to fix things but some things are just not fixable. Thanks for your input, Kat!

  4. I have been with my partner for 24 years, I have been the anchor for my husband and my daughter, giving more than receiving. My health has been affected and he refuses to see how his behavior towards me and how he manipulates me has been some of the reason as to why my health has gone down. I did threaten to leave and now his tactics have changed, seems more calm and nice, but I feel it is very superficial. I am also being asked to do sexual favors with others, it started as a fantasy for him, and I keep telling him, I am not into that, I am not that kind of person. He is not getting it, feeling sad and stuck with no motivation towards our dreams we have worked so hard to achieve…sigh

    1. Hi Yvonne, It sounds like there is zero respect for you in this marriage. My book lays out the steps to take to get started on a journey of independence and a happier life. http://www.lisathomsonlive.com/buy/

      I know it’s a hard thing to face that your marriage didn’t turn out the way you expected OR that you’re simply miserable with this person. All the best.

      1. Thank you for your input, I really do appreciate it. It has been a long journey, I will look into your book. I feel for my partner and have been compassionate and realize where much of his behavior has stemmed from, but I am also realizing that there has been no change, even with the realization of what he is doing, It is a very strange place we are in and I have detached much, but need to make good choices as I move into the next chapter of my life. I do get very nervous with what changes will be presented to me, and that is where I feel stuck. You are correct on lack of respect, very true. Thank you for your help. It felt good and right to reach out, I needed this.

        1. You’re welcome, Yvonne. I’ve no doubt you will move forward with confidence and strength. Everything will work out!

  5. I have been married now for 5 years to a man I was with years ago, the first month was great after that just seem to go down hill fights after fight, he talks down to me like I am a child an I cant talk to people I am stuck in a house 24 sevens, I cant talk to anybody or I am having a affair with them, but its ok for him to have friends an talk to whom ever he wants or get calls from who ever. we don’t have sex an when we do once every 2 weeks takes 60 seconds he is done.. we can even go to get food if its raining he gets in truck while I put food in I don’t think he has ever opened a door for me..he has put his hands on me quit a lot..when my daughter past he just walked away talking to his friends. I don’t think in 4 an half years he has held me,,i am ready to leave but scared, what do I do?

    1. Hi Lona, I can understand why you’re scared. Your husband sounds volatile and controlling. Do you have a family member or a friend you can trust and maybe stay with for a while? Make arrangements for somewhere to go BEFORE packing up and telling him you’re leaving.You may have to go to the women’s shelter short term. What did you have when you got married in the way of assets or money? Arrange to have your money put into your own bank account without his name on title so he has no access to it. In fact, reading your comment over again, you say you’re stuck in the house 24/7. You sound like a prisoner in your own home, therefore, I recommend you pack up and leave without a discussion with your husband and do it when you know he’ll be out for the day. Start your plan today by talking to someone you trust and can rely on for support. Stay in touch. Stay strong. You deserve way more out of life.

  6. Hi, my husband is the full-time care for our 1 and 2 year old and I am earning the income. I feel like he hasn’t loved me since we first got married (if ever). He has been verbally abusive and emotionally neglectful to me since I was pregnant with our first baby. The fights are escalating..he tells me he hates me and that I’m his problem and he is taking baby steps to physical assault. The most recent argument caused him to grab my throat. It doesn’t matter how I try to change what bothers him..I’m always doing something to upset him. The dysfunction and hostility is affecting our children, especially our two year old. He threatens to take them from me and to “make my life a living hell” if I try anything. I believe him. I’m honestly trying to figure out if me staying with him would be less traumatic for my children than leaving him. He is the one that goes and snatches up our children after verbally assaulting me and takes them out and away from me. I can’t do anything to stop him. And I’m terrified of the thought of life while trying to seperate from him. I have no family within 1000 miles and no money. His parents are wealthy, live 10 minutes away and have offered financial support and lawyers when he has came to them in the past because of a fight. I feel like I am in an impossible situation that is going to end very badly and I have no way of stopping it. I am willing to lose everything but my children. I just need someone to tell me how.

    1. Hi Anne, You need to set up a support system immediately. It’s only a matter of time before the abuse will escalate until the violence is life threatening and your children will be in danger. The answer to your question is; staying with him will NOT be less traumatic for the children.

      Please take action as soon as you can. First, money. Set up your own bank account (start depositing your earnings into your own account—I’m not sure why you have no money when you are the income earner?) and apply for a credit card if you don’t already have those. Second, look into staying with a friend short term until you find alternative living arrangements. Apartment hunting should start now. Do all of this without discussing with your husband as that will only escalate the abuse. If you have no one to stay with please look into a women’s shelter in your local area/city. If your husband threatens you physically such as grabbing your throat, please report it to the police. If you don’t report any physical abuse, there will be zero record of it and that won’t help you in the near future. Start talking to people you trust about this and they will also be able to help you out. Friends, relatives, local shelters, therapist, children’s teachers, your doctor…these people may be able to recommend resources to help you. Best to you, Anne and I hope this bit of advice will help you.

  7. Hi,

    My name is Emily and I’ve been married since 2012. I have a son with my current husband who is three years old and I work fulltime as does my husband. My husband and I do not get along… He finds it a burden to do anything physically active with my son and continues to tell me it’s my fault if he has to watch him for me to get some work done…. I’m worried about how my son will fair in a divorce and that’s the main reason I haven’t pursued it as well as worried about how my family will react. I feel disappointed in myself and am depressed. I put most of my time in working and with my son. Help.. Please.

    1. Hi Emily, I edited your comment to protect your privacy. I will send you an email. First, don’t blame yourself. It takes two to make it work and to break it down. It’s not your fault. Naturally, you’re concerned about your son and rightly so. However, if you think about it, what is he learning if you stay with your husband? The way you’ve described the climate of the home—it’s not very cozy. So, that’s another way to look at it. As for your house ownership, unless the house is in your name only, your husband will be entitled to half the value. Even if he is not on title, he may still challenge that. That said, he can’t take it away from you and claim the entire value. You own at least half of it.

      Try to stay positive for your son and for you. Divorce is not the end of the world. Thanks for reaching out, Emily.

  8. really strong stuff. I know that when dealing with custody issue it can make the choice even harder. I agree there is no way one person can tell us when a marriage is done, but you definitely helped to outline some great issues. What do you do when dealing with custody issues in a divorce. Should you get a lawyer before you even consider a separation?

  9. So I’ve been trying to leave my husband for about a year now, and he keeps telling me if I do it will mess up our three children. And that he will not let me leave him, till death do us part he keeps saying. He has pushed me and called me every name in the book. He recently relapsed on drugs and now is spending all of our money on that. I know I have to leave but my children love him and I’ve stayed with him because of that. I love my children I don’t want to mess them up

    1. Karin, if your husband abuses you and takes drugs, there is no reason to stay and there is damage being done to your children by exposing them. If you leave, your husband may decide to get clean and consequently be a father to your children. All best to you! Also, please seek support when you prepare to leave either with a family member or friend. If don’t have those options consider a women’s shelter for safety.

  10. Hi Lisa

    My name is Nicky. I’ve been marrie for almost a year now and we are toghether for 3years.. 8 months before we got married. Everything in the bedroom went away there is no sex or kissing toutching nothing … im not happy and the problem with sex comes from me. i dont know what to do i want to end it because its not fair towards my husband but everyone els says different that it is a minor thing..

    What to to.. im tired.

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