Marriage is a layered and complex relationship; one of the most intimate bonds we have in our knowledge of the human experience.
Marriage signifies a deep and intentional connection, and it’s not to be entered into lightly, nor should it be exited out of after the first fight. You are the one who knows when to give up on your marriage; not books our outside perspectives.
1. You Feel Unsafe
This is an immediate red flag that really should give anyone considerable pause. Marriage is supposed to be supportive and kind, but there are a number of reasons one might feel unsafe.
You could have a partner who is fueled by jealousy and rage, bringing that energy into your interactions, or perhaps a partner who exhibits strong possessive behaviors.
It should be noted that commitment and monogamy have healthy boundaries, whereas possession and jealousy do not.
If you are wondering if your marriage or relationship has traits of abuse, this might be a good place to begin.
You do not deserve a relationship where abuse is a part of the equation, and there is life on the other side of this situation.
2. There is No More Kindness
Kindness offers smiles and hugs and gentle words, but a lack of kindness can be so much more than that.
This is not a run of the mill, “lack of spark,” or less affectionate time in a relationship, but truly fundamental breakdowns in the ability to love and be kind to each other.
This might look like simple conversations dissolving into bickering or fighting. A lack of agreement or respect, consistent passive aggressive behavior, or general dislike.
These behaviors do not have to be abusive to justify taking time apart from the relationship, either to rediscover your kindness, love and passion for one another, or to ultimately go in different directions.
3. You Want Different Life Paths
Humans spend their whole lives adapting and changing. We are driven to grow and find meaning, and sometimes we are met at a crossroads between two worlds. This could be promising or important careers pulling each other apart, a change in desires, or even a deeper understanding of sexuality.
Ending an otherwise healthy relationship does not require negative emotions or experiences, in order for the relationship to reach a natural conclusion.
We are culturally hardwired to assume that if something does not last for whatever reason, it was not good or profitable. Similarly, we are conditioned to believe that wanting different dreams or lives means that one partner will always have to sacrifice.
4. You Have Been Faced with Fundamental Disagreement
Values might be shared at the beginning of a relationship, but they might not always stay the same. There could also be understood expectations that are no longer the same, after some time.
There could be a strong desire to have children, which may not be possible, or desired any longer. There could be any number of expectations which push previously understood truths to the breaking point.
5. Trust Has Been Broken
When trust has been broken, the process of rebuilding can take extensive time and a lot of care. Broken trust often happens through infidelity, deceit, or intentional misrepresentation.
One might have had an affair, or multiple affairs, lied about whereabouts, life situations, or family backgrounds, as well as mishandled money, or deliberate deception when entering into the marriage.
Broken trust will ultimately lead to a thousand questions, and countless decisions to be made. Is the situation appropriate to grow from, or should you part ways?
Be mindful of manipulative tactics which can turn an affair into blame about a lack of sex or affection.
Clear, intentional and thoughtful communication should always be the first course of action when dealing with conflict.
Ultimately, your marriage is unique, because there are no two people in the world who are exactly like you two. If you are at a bypass, looking for solid answers or direction, the truth is that most situations are not straightforward and simple.