When Should You Walk Away from Your Marriage?

You may consider walking away from your marriage when you experience one or more of the following:

When Should You Walk Away from Your Marriage?
  1. When there is no respect left
  2. When there is no trust left
  3. When your spouse is abusive
  4. When communication between the spouses breaks down completely
  5. When physical and emotional intimacy become extinct
  6. When your gut, heart, and brain tell you to move out

An unhappy or traumatic marriage can adversely impact your job, health, and other relationships, including those with your children. In some cases where the damage is minimal or average, it may be worth saving the marriage, but in those cases that are beyond repair, it could be better to move on. Here are the signs that tell you when you may consider walking away.

When There is No Respect Left

Having respect for your spouse means that you think before you act or speak, are courteous, respectful, supportive, and positive. More importantly, it means that you seriously consider your spouse’s opinion, decide jointly on important matters, celebrate individual or joint victories, motivate each other, understand your spouse’s potential, ambitions, and goals, and hold your spouse’s values and principles in high esteem. It also means that you are not rude, disrespectful, dismissive, negative, or neglectful.

Of course, no marriage is without its problems, but even when there is an argument, both spouses can debate it coolly instead of entering into an unpleasant heated argument. As time goes by, spouses tend to start taking each other for granted, which is quite natural so long as mutual respect is intact. But when the respect they once had for each other declines, irritation, conflicts, anger, negativity, and frustrations creep in. If the marriage reaches a point where mutual respect is completely lost, or if the constant fights, insults, and sarcasm kill your self-esteem and destroy your self-confidence, and earlier happy times together cannot be retrieved no matter how hard either spouse tries, it may be time to move on.

When there is No Trust Left

A marriage is a commitment for life, and therefore trust plays an important role in its longevity. Confiding in and trusting your spouse implies that you feel that you are in a safe, happy, secure, committed, and supportive environment that makes you feel extremely comfortable.

Trust may be broken for many reasons, such as infidelity, disrespectfulness, lying, cheating, changing attitudes, and more. When your trust in the person you love is broken, it leaves you vulnerable, weak, and suspicious. Your opinion too may cease to matter. You and your spouse can consider counseling to get your married life back on track. If, however, your spouse is unwilling to cooperate, or if the problem resurfaces vigorously after the counseling sessions, it may perhaps be time to consider walking away.

When Your Spouse is Abusive

Your spouse can verbally or physically abuse you for any reason – for example, the spouse may be having a psychological or mental disorder, may have been abused by others in childhood, has anger or control issues, has an addiction, lacks empathy, etc. Abuse begins with arguments and then reaches a point where it can turn physical. Even disagreeing with your spouse can make you feel you are doing everything wrong.

If you are abused and are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. The bigger thing is that an emotionally, sexually, or physically abusive marriage is not acceptable, and that if you are convinced that the abusive spouse is beyond redemption, please consider walking away.

When Communication between the Spouses Breaks Down

In a marriage, communication is as important as trust. Effective and honest verbal and non-verbal communication that conveys trust, love, affection, understanding, and agreement is one of the pillars of marriage.

Communicating often and effectively can keep the marriage happy, strong, wholesome, caring, and healthy. Communication suffers when trust breaks down or when the marriage is impacted by other factors. There are many ways of repairing a communication breakdown, including toning down aggression, becoming a patient listener, processing feelings before speaking, not yelling, walking away from a fight, not sulking or staying silent, consulting a counselor, etc.

When every attempt to repair the communication breakdown fails, indifference sets in, and all reasonable hope fades away, it may be time to move on.

When Physical and Emotional Intimacy Become Extinct

Emotional intimacy and physical intimacy are linked together in a marriage. Emotional intimacy lays the foundation and builds the relationship, while physical intimacy develops it and perpetuates it. Some marriages without physical intimacy (sexless marriages) can survive for a period of time but not forever, and a marriage without emotional intimacy is also very likely to fail. A high level of emotional intimacy ensures that the couple is forthright, honest, connected, happy, comfortable, and satisfied with each other.

Emotional intimacy dies because of ego issues, conflicts, resentment, or any other reason. When it starts dying, spouses grow distant and start feeling lonely; they become cold, non-communicative, non-empathetic, argumentative, unsupportive, and nervous. Lack of emotional intimacy can also kill physical intimacy.

Therefore, when emotional intimacy dies taking along physical intimacy with it, and reaches a point of no return, you can consider walking away from the marriage.

When Your Gut, Heart, and Brain Tell You to Move Out

When your gut feeling, heart, and brain convey that the future of the marriage is bleak and hopeless, and nothing can be done to make it bright, it may be time to heed that feeling. Of course, you can consider giving it one last chance by addressing the most important issue that is impacting the marriage. But if the marriage cannot be repaired despite your best last-ditch effort, then there may be no point hanging around any longer.

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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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