Normally people talk about “why did the marriage fail” or “the problems that lead to divorce”, but what if we looked at this from the perspective of just one of the people. After all, the only thing you know for sure is your own perspective, and you only have the power to change yourself. So, let’s talk about how people reach the decision “it is time to end the marriage”.
People come to this decision when they have enough evidence that led them to the conclusion “things are not working and there is no way to fix it”. Essentially this comes from a subjective sense of helplessness. This is a list of the most common situations that lead to a person feeling helpless in their relationship:
when it seems like there is no way to make the other person happy
when it seems like there is no way to get through to the other person, communication is broken and any attempts to talk will lead to a fight
the other person doesn’t hesitate to fight in front of the kids or even bring the kids into the conflict
the other person threatens to leave you
the other person is acting like they don’t care anymore
one or both of you see each other as an enemy, therefore are constantly thinking about how to protect yourselves rather than thinking about the other person or the relationship as a whole
along similar lines, one or both people assume their partner has the worst intentions
seems like the other person doesn’t even like you anymore, let alone treasure or appreciate
when it feels like you cannot be yourself in the relationship
Even one of these criteria show up in the relationship, it could lead you or your partner to reach the conclusion that there must not be help anymore. But don’t give up without trying. Sometimes it’s actually a huge misunderstanding, and other times it is a conflict that can be resolved through creating agreements.
I’m obviously going to tell you to find a couples therapist to help you, after all, that’s the reason that this profession exists at all–that professional help actually helps. Not all the time, but enough of the time, otherwise there would not be such a profession and the world would have even more divorce attorneys (if you could imagine that).