Marriages hit rough spots, sometimes long ones too. Put two separate individuals in an intimate relationship and arguments/fights are normal, eventually, even if the love is still strong. The frequency of arguments may increase gradually, or the length of arguments will increase. A person experiencing one or both of those scenarios might begin to feel doubt and wonder if this is going to work. The word divorce might come to mind. If such a person feels strongly that they really don't want it to come to that is that enough hope to make work, and maybe eventually actually be worked out (so to speak). Considering that rough patches are normal and most relationships (including very healthy ones) have problems crop up eventually, when do you know you are at your last resort, that your beating a dead horse or worse? How do you know your relationship can survive this problem and maybe come out stronger after?
I guess I am in a darkly contemplative mood
How long do you wait when the other party doesn't want to make any changes or promises to make changes but never comes through? My fiance spent 17 years in a destructive marriage, the last 10 for the kids. I think there is a breaking point and once you reach it you live in sort of a daze until that realization that the relationship is dead brings you total clarity and allows you to move forward.
Why is marriage necessary?
Share life, live together, have children, build a life...it can all be done without a certificate of marriage.
If marriage is what ya want, at a later date do it.
Marriage/divorce makes lawyers rich.
To answer your question, in my humble opinion, I think you know it's time to call it quits when all respect is lost for the other person and when you feel that the other person slowly, day by day is killing a piece of who are....then its time to go...remember the people around you are suppossed to add to your life and lift you at all times not bring you down...
I could say a lot on this topic (as a life coach), but I'll keep it to one narrow point:
Sometimes it's just not in your hands.
A marriage takes two, but a divorce only takes one. When one person quits, the other person -- no matter how long she/he wants to stay in the game -- is screwed.
This logic leads me to think that so long as both people want to 'stay in the game' in spite of how big the problem seems there might be hope that that will be enough to ride out the storm.
And if you can't get there on your own then get a professional to intercede.
The only thing that is ever final is death
Everything else always has the potential to change.
There is no right or wrong answer, it's up to the individuals involved. For me, I never wanted to be divorced, but the time came when I realized I just didn't care - I had no feelings left for him and I filed for divorce.
Having lived through the "Lets keep it together for the kids sake" thing The only thing I would say to this is DON"T!
My parents held onto a marriage that was miserable for both of them because of me and my sisters and the only thing they accomplished is making all of us miserable. I would have much rather lived with two happily divorced parents than what we had.
I have to agree with ya, staying together can be far more damaging to kids than divorcing. All situations are different and it may work for some but in most cases it isn't a good idea and the children would be better off if the parents seperate.
My kids were routing for divorce, although I don't think they (or any of us) knew the price that we'd all pay for it.
My mom and dad were never married, she mostly wanted to be alone and free.
My dad and step mom have both talked about divorce and at times seem to hate each other but are still together well into retirement. My adopted mom divorced my adopted dad about a year after the adoption was finalized. My adopted dad is the only man my adopted mom has been with that she speaks of with love and a sense of loss. It's a weird pick of people to choose as my role models while growing up :0
I would say it is time to move along when you are no longer living by your own values or respecting yourself. And when it becomes abundantly clear that you would have to continue living against your beliefs to keep the relationship working.
I was not married to my older kids father. We lived together. We started going out when I was a young teen and by 18 it was abundantly clear that he stood for everything I found revolting in the human species. Our fights were horrendous, but we stuck it out for a few more years. To make it work I would have to turn into what I considered to be scum. At the end of each day I thought "Ah f%^&k, he's back?"
And he loves me and my "holier than thou" attitude as much as I adore him.
You push off to your thread flirting with all the girls and leave this one to us jaded old divorcees - you can come back here in 7 or 8 years when it is your turn
kirstenblog, I'm divorced. (This post turned out long, long - but I'm not going to trim or delete it. I think your "dark contemplation" is something a whole lot of people have.) My ex-husband and I never fought. It was because we pretty much agreed on all the small stuff, both had similar day-to-day habits (being neat, for example); and even had the same values. Today, we're the same kind of good friends we had been before we got married and, in many ways, while we were married. The "divorce factor" had roots in another "element", separate from fighting, getting along, wanting the marriage to work, etc.
I think it's a mistake for people to automatically assume the divorce rate is tied to increasing numbers of people who don't take their marriage vows seriously; or who aren't willing to do what it takes to make the marriage work. It takes both people being willing and able to do whatever it takes and put in the effort. What happened in my case was all seemed to be fine, and we seemed so compatible in so many ways; but when really awful things started to happen (from outside the marriage - tragedies, illness, etc.) a fundamental part of our natures was revealed when each of us dealt with things so differently we pulled within (and away from each other). We kept pulling away and pulling away until one day it was clear we were strangers.
I guess the difference between "before-troubles" and "after troubles" was that we had been strangers all along. There just hadn't been anything to make it show up before the troubles started.
Fighting never feels very good, but I don't think fighting is necessarily the measure of whether a marriage has what it takes underneath. People in good marriages fight, and people in troubles marriages (usually) fight. What wasn't in my marriage was so far beneath the surface it took a whole lot to cause it to reveal itself.
There needs to be mutual respect (and not just people acting respectfully toward the other while secretly thinking little of the other). I think both have to be willing to stay in the game without resenting the other for it. People have to communicate, with both listening to the other. One-way "communicating" isn't good enough. The right kind of fighting can be communicating.
I went for years never even considering the possibility of divorce, and just kind of thinking, "Marriage is always going to have its difficulties." Then one day, it just hit me that the whole thing was dead and over - and even then I stayed for quite a while longer.
I went for quite awhile without knowing I was "beating a dead horse". This is an unpleasant metaphor, but I guess I knew when whatever I was beating it with bounced off its skeleton and hit me in the face. By that time there was no question whatsoever about the only possible outcome. I do know that my ex-husband and I had a lot of positive things between us, but we didn't have the fundamentally solid kind of relationship and love it takes to hold together a marriage.
I don't think you can ever know for sure whether a marriage that's going through rough spots will survive, any more than you can know if someone who gets the flu will survive. Most of the time if people have a healthy immune system they do survive the flu. It's miserable when they have it, though, and sometimes they need to get good medical care from a professional. I guess I'd say that if someone thinks he has "marital flu" both people should take a good, honest, look at the symptoms; ask if it seems the "marital immune system" may be weak; and consider getting professional help. If both people kind of know that, underneath any thoughts of "doom" there's something very solid - then do try to take as good care of the marriage as possible and maybe (I'm not positive about this one) be glad the problems and "enemy" are something that can be seen and maybe fought off, rather than hiding way under the surface and requiring a series of earthquakes to shake them out.)
Well, I don't know if any of this hard-earned "wisdom" is of any use, encouragement, or reassurance to you; but I sure wish I'd known then some of what I've since learned; because even if I couldn't have saved my marriage, I could have saved myself, children, and my ex-husband a lot of "awfulness" if I'd understood what was happening when it was happening.
Having said all that, I very much believe that if both people feel strongly about making it work, they can do it (and may be a lot easier to do it if they get some marriage counseling).
Oops - one other thing: For me, it was not a coward's way out. It took tremendous strength and courage to make a decision I didn't want to make, and one that would thrust my children into the whole "divorce thing". I don't think too many people (particularly mothers) would choose divorce if they didn't feel there were no other options in their own situation.
I was married to my first husband for 23 years after having met him at 14 and dated him the 4 years until I was 18 and out of school. We married the August after I graduated. We had two kids and we had a relationship similar to what Lisa described. We were compatible. We agreed on all the small stuff, in fact, we agreed on most stuff. We still get along great. There just came a point where things were boring. The sameness was boring.
We tried counseling and to some degree it helped, but it didn't ultimately save the marriage.
I bought a book during that time, in fact I ended up giving it to our marriage counselor. It was called "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" Probably the longest title ever.
The book goes through about 10 or so things you need to really think about and I don't want to give away the ending, but to say the least I was shocked. I would taint your answers if I told you the outcome. It is definitely a thought-provoking read.
In western society, divorce has become too easy. I mean if you are being treated badly or abused or disrespected and it never changes, then by all means it is your right to pursue, but if you are just having rocky patches in your marriage or are bored, that is totally normal and within your power to easily change.
The vows you take clearly state what the expectations are, so you should read them carefully before you take them. The one thing for sure is if you are still rapidly changing as a person like in your 20s, marriage has less chance of succeeding. Once you are into your 30s and pretty much set as the type of person you want to be, you have much greater odds of success.
My wife and I are boring as hell, but thats what I love about her. We can do anything together no matter how boring it is and have fun.
My divorce was far from easy! It took longer than Charles and Diana's divorce did - and it was a whole lot uglier.
In all seriousness (and actually I was being mostly serious above), I think it's too simple to say that divorce is too easy. In a good number (maybe the majority?) of divorces it's a matter of one person wanting to try to make things work, and the other being someone who can't/won't try to make it work. As a result, someone has to make the choice to either divorce or live in a situation that nobody deserves to be in (whether that's having a spouse who cheats, who's a substance abuser making havoc in the household, or "just" someone who doesn't respect his spouse). That "someone" is either the person who has wanted out all along, who wants to stay in but wants to be a jerk, or the one who wouldn't have otherwise decided to divorce.
By the time my divorce got into "The System" a counselor-type told me I had waited "about five years too long" before leaving. Someone close to me has just separated at staying in a marriage for 38 years. The kids who grow up in unhealthy environments "for the child" aren't "divorce-kid statistics", but the impact on them shouldn't be overlooked either. I would bet that it is a very tiny minority of divorces that result because two people make a too-quick decision and then follow through on it.
What doesn't show up in divorce statistics is what goes on behind closed doors or all the things that lead up to the difficult decision of divorce. I joked about it elsewhere on here, but my own mother didn't even have a clue as to why "on Earth" I'd ever leave my marriage. I was decent enough not to share my marital business with others, so when I left there was, of course, the belief that I was making a "wacky" decision that made no sense.
Divorce, like so many things in life, is one of those things that a person sometimes "has to be there" to understand - and even then, it's not possible for all divorced people to understand the "depth" and scope of other people's decisions to divorce.
I firmly believe that too many people fail to put in the hard work it takes to make a marriage work. Combine that with the fact that it is now very easy to get a divorce, in Kansas and South Carolina at least, every divorce is listed as 'non-compatible' which is aggrevating when the reason for the divorce is domestic abuse and it won't be listed as such, and the fact that it used to take years for divorces to finalize and you have a recipe for disaster. In today's throw-away society, commitment means nothing. It is too easy to say 'well, I love him/her, but if it gets rough, I'll just leave and find someone else'. Of course there are valid reasons for leaving but the majority of divorces could be avoided.
I think sometimes people have incorrect views of marriage from TV and the movies thinking its going to be all passion and sex and bliss and excitement everyday. If you think its that, or thats what you want, stay single and stay dating. Of course it shouldn't be torment either.
But if you want someone who shares your life and interests and knows and supports you, marriage is a better choice, but the trade off is its going to be come familiar.
Chaotic Chica, Respectfully, I think a lot of people have an "emotional incentive" for believing that divorces happen because people are just too cavalier about marriage. Believing that helps people feel as if, because they're so willing to work at marriage and take it so seriously, they don't have to worry about ending up divorced. I don't think most people want to believe that you can do all the right things and have all the right attitudes (and even have what seems like a good marriage) - and then end up divorced. 25 years ago I never would have believed I would ever find the need to get a divorce, or that I'd even have been willing to get one.
I know I'm only one example, but I doubt the cause of my divorce was all that different than what happens with a lot of other people. Divorce is like homelessness: While a small minority of people may be fortunate enough to be unlikely candidates for it, a good number of people believe it won't/can't happen to them when, in fact, it could. It's easier to blame people's attitudes for the bad stuff than to really grasp that bad stuff happens to people with all the right attitudes - because if one accepts that reality one must also face the fact that he, himself, isn't immune to one bad thing or another either.
What happens in a failed marriage is the same kind of thing that happens when cancer grows for a long time without symptoms in what seems like a perfectly healthy person. People who have never been married, are so far still married, and even people who actually did get married without thinking enough about it are all people who have not seen for themselves how even couples/individual who take marriage (and those vows) seriously and want it to last can end up divorced.
One reason I'm so vocal (and verbal) about divorce is that so many people just don't have a clue about how it can happen. The divorce rate is never going to change if there isn't more widespread understanding of how divorce really happens - not just easy beliefs that the divorced people just didn't have the right attitude. As it is now, too many people hang onto their beliefs, in the face of information or sharing, because it's just easier to blame than to face the cold, hard, reality that divorce really CAN happen even to those who take marriage seriously, are willing to work, and have all those other "good attitudes".
There's "rough going" and then there's "rough going". Each partner is an individual human being; and when life dumps so much awful, awful, loss on one person it dumps it on both people. When people go through too much serious loss and grief they have to first figure out how to cope with it all by themselves, before they figure out how to cope with it as a couple. Everyone has his own coping strategies (some people don't have any); and when things get to be so awful each partner spends all his time and mental energy dealing with some awful things sometimes people have nothing left to try work miracles in a marriage that wasn't what it should be in the first place.
Why do people marry the wrong person? Because there's a lot of bad information/advice out there about things like "not expecting it to be perfect" and "marrying your best friend". I knew there were things that weren't quite perfect in the years I was dating my husband, but I thought it was "too much" to expect things to be absolutely and utterly perfect. I married my best friend when - really - some best friends are best not to marry. I believed we should marry someone who had similar values and (ideally) backgrounds; as well as similar ambitions. I did - but it turned out those ways in which we were far from similar didn't show up until all the horrible stuff started to happen in our lives. I even discovered that things like birth order and childhood family's style of dealing with problems played major roles. There's a whole lot a lot of us don't know when we marry someone and truly believe we're marrying the person who is right for us.
What amazes me is that I could write a whole, detailed, book (complete with proof that what I say is that truth, and a "zillion" other divorced people's stories) - and there would still be an amazing number of people who need desperately to cling to the idea that divorces only happen when people don't take marriage and vows seriously enough, or that they "just aren't willing to work at it".
Think of the insult it would be to all long-term-married people in the world if I made the statement, "I think the only thing that helps anyone stay married is pure, serendipitous, luck." That's the same kind of misguided, insulting, blanket statement people make about divorced people all the time, only in reverse. "Throw-away society" is a handy buzz-phrase, but I think the problem of divorce goes far deeper, and requires a whole lot more understanding, that just whipping off buzz-phrases.
That was very well said Lisa and I totally agree. BTW, I think you SHOULD right the book on it.
Well...you have two chapters of it maybe.
Seriously, you have a good grip on how it is for a lot of people. So many would be able to relate to what you're saying. I know I did.
Write the dang book, quit incubating it.....it's time to let it fly!
KCC, thank you. The encouragement is nice. I shouldn't admit this in public, but I have things I've been incubating for years. I have no problem whipping up stuff that I don't see as "important", but once I introduce the phrase, "potentially important subject" into the incubation time continues to increase. Ironically, it's my ex-husband who frequently urges me to hatch something. (I've even thought about writing a Hub about incubating, but I keep incubating that too. )
(This thread has actually "done something". I've spent the last 48 hours or so in "high-incubating", which is better than "regular incubating". Maybe that's what drew me to this thread today. I feel like something is about to hatch - but it's just tricky to organize what seems, to me, to be such a broad topic - and yet "microscopic as well" - topic.)
Makes me wonder why I was drawn here as well. *poke poke*
I highly urge you to go for it, Lisa! You have this topic nailed and it's exactly what a lot of people need to hear.
Glad to hear you're in "high incubation"....LOL Take a leap of a faith and run with it.
Someday, you'll look back on this day and laugh.
Obviously any sweeping statements are going to be incorrect for at least a portion of people. However, I do believe that our societies perceptions of marriage have changed dramatically, marriage has become a disposable convenience for many people. It is almost expected to have multiple marriages over the course of your life.
If people would wait until they were older and actually stable in their lives the divorce rate would probably fall pretty fast. I know this may sound harsh, but so many divorcees seem so cavalier about what they are doing to their kids, it is just pathetic.
The Situation, I don't dispute the thing that people don't think it's even important to get married these days. (Although, with the divorce and custody-case I went through, a part of what was once the very traditional-minded me can see the wisdom in not getting married at all..).
Divorce.net (. com) shows the ages of divorced people (when they got married), and people who got married between 20 and 24 (if I recall correctly) have the highest divorce rate. Between 25 and 29 it's not all that dramatically better. People whose first marriage was when they were in their 30's do better (although for guys it's the same, if I recall, as for guys under 20 or 24). (I have guesses about why, but it's too long to go into here - as if long has stopped me before )
My ex-husband and I were actually pretty well established (so much so that we got mostly crystal and other "gifty" (rather than "practical") gifts, because everyone thought we had everything. I was 27. He was 31. We had gone out for years. I thought all those factors helped "immunize" us, but they didn't.
Really, though, as a mother and a divorced person (and knowing my children's father as I do), everything was far, far, from "cavalier" when it came to our children.
I wasn't cowardly for leaving my husband. I was being incredibly sensible.
For me, there came a point whereby I became superfluous in a way. I was just another stick of furniture, a possession, a thing. Something that was cosy and comfortable - 'there'. I stopped being a wife, a woman.
So I left. And no, it wasn't easy: I suffered, even though I knew I was doing the right thing. I dropped weight as though it was going out of fashion, couldn't sleep, eat, focus. Crashed my car and generally behaved like a wraith for months.
It would have been far easier had my husband listened to me - and worked with me. He refused, time after time.
Indifference is worse than animosity, in a way.
Frogdropping, that's the thing - of a good number of divorced couples one partner wouldn't even try, and the other one wanted to; so that means that 50% of "a good number" of divorced people shouldn't be blamed and said to "not have taken it seriously enough" or "been willing to work".
Then you have those situations when both partners tried as hard as they could and wanted very much for things to work, but it just didn't. That's another whole bunch of people who shouldn't be accused of having a lousy attitude toward marriage.
Then, too, there are the people who either marry someone who turned out to have a very real personality disorder, which is a "clinical thing" and not someone's own doing.
What's left is probably a fairly small percentage of divorced couples that consisted of two people who had a frivolous attitude. All the divorced people in the world shouldn't be put under that umbrella of "frivolous attitude". Not only is it unfair to people who are often left dealing with long-term emotional and "general-life" aftermath of divorce or who spend a whole lot of effort and energy trying to keep their children feeling as if life can still be whole; but that belief won't help any of us figure out the root causes of the high divorce rate, help kids understand how things happen (so maybe they'll learn from their parents' situation/mistakes), or just generally better understand divorce so that maybe the courts would do a better job of handling things.
And, as you say, when someone does take it all seriously and want things to work out, it is an awfully difficult decision to make to end things. Some people actually don't make the necessary decision because they can't muster up the courage, or can't step back and see the picture for what it is.
Divorce is never a pleasant thing. It does take both partners to fix the problem. If only one is willing to work on it, it makes it double hard!
having two in my past, i liken it to taking a much needed dump, wiping yer arse and watching it flush away
I'm stuck in a situation right now where, sadly, after only a year of marriage, a divorce is looking imminent. My husband and I are both fairly young, myself being 24 and my husband being only 21. We got married, had a child, and settled into what I feel is a fairly comfortable life. Our daughter is a beautiful little ball of energy and curiosity, and she amazes me more and more every day.
I love my husband, and I love our life together. I don't want things to change, but I've sensed for the last several weeks that something simply wasn't right. I finally confronted him just a few nights ago about it, and he unloaded a great deal to me. He told me he felt trapped by our marriage, and to some degree resented myself and our little girl for making him have to be a responsible mature parent when all his old buddies are out partying, drinking, and taking home random women from the bar. He said he knows he's been an inconsiderate jerk lately (for reason I wont get into, if anyone cares to know feel free to read the hub I posted about this) but simply doesn't want to go the rest of his life without ever picking up a "random skank at a bar" as we got married while he was still 20, and doesn't want to have to be responsible for caring for another helpless life at this point.
The sad part to it is that I do sympathies with him. He is young, and I tried to tell him from the start I didn't think he was ready for it, but before we got married he continually insisted that he was ready, and this was what he wanted. Now, the really hard part is that I'm left at the impasse of weather to go along with what he wants, which is for us to separate for a few years so he can go live his life while just sending money and coming to see our daughter from time to time, with every expectation of coming back and just expecting me to take him back and resume our life where he left, or to stick up for myself and demand an actually legal separation or divorce so as to have the court order for child support and the ability to eventually try to move on and see someone else without fear of him trying to use it against me if I did find someone else. I don't want to loose him, but what he wants simply isn't ok or fair to myself or our child for that matter. I just don't know what to do anymore :-(
I understand this is a difficult situation for you and but I think you already know deep inside what you need to do. Your daughter is the most important thing in the entire equation. You must know that if he stays with you things will deteriorate even more quickly that they are now. If he goes he will never come back...sadly men, or should I say boys of this nature never really change..they may mature a bit but will never become real men because they think of themselves as more important than those around them...wives, children..whoever.
If and when they do change or grow up it is often to late to regain those bonds lost. In the long run your daughter and you will be better off and will find someone who loves you both...really truly loves you and puts you first. Just always remember your little girl is the only thing that matters...her happiness,growth and development are all in your hands, hands that need to be strong and make the right choices...If that means letting him go then so be it. Be strong, be brave...being alone is not the worst thing that could happen to you and your little girl.
This works for both ways and definitely is on a case to case basis. What I have noticed though is that how prevalent divorce is depends on the society and how they tolerate it.
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If a person has divorced 3 times, would you conclude that the person has an underlying problem?
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