Five signs you’ve had enough of your marriage
Are there only Five Signs you’ve had enough of your marriage? On my goodness, no! You may notice many different signs to the ones I share here, but noticing is everything! Thoughts, feelings, sensations. Are you paying attention?
Do you know the fable of the boiling frog? The story goes: put a frog into a saucepan of cold water and gradually heat it, the frog won’t notice. So the frog eventually boils to death rather than jumping out. What’s this got to do with whether you’ve had enough of your marriage, you ask?
Everything! You see, we spend much of our lives on autopilot. We all do, including me. The world has far too many demands for us to constantly be questioning everything. We need to take mental shortcuts. And that can be a good thing – it stops us getting over-stimulated.
But it also means we often don’t notice what we’re putting up with. Until we take a moment to reflect. Then all of a sudden our saucepan is feeling uncomfortably hot. And we don’t know what happened.
As we enter September the autumn breeze is starting to nip. Change is in the air. Children are returning to school. It’s the ninth month of the year but it’s a time for fresh starts. It’s the perfect time of year to take stock and make decisions for yourself.
Five Signs you’ve had enough of your marriage is a chance to give yourself a moment to reflect on your life and marriage now. We look at what you need to do about it.
Five Signs you’ve had enough of your marriage
You are constantly bickering
Every relationship has its fair share of rows. In fact, psychologists believe it far healthier to row than to keep feelings bottled up. You can read more about ‘healthy fighting’ here.
What I’m talking about isn’t a disagreement that you work through and then move on. I’m talking about arguments being the default for how you communicate. When you and your spouse are always in combat mode, it’s a sign something is wrong.
It may be that one or both of you has so little respect for the other that everything becomes an opportunity to criticise. They do the washing up all wrong. You can’t agree on what to do together at the weekend. They don’t like how you stack the dishwasher. And it causes arguments.
In healthier marriages, those sorts of conversations happen every now and then – maybe if one of you is tired, or feeling stressed. Or if something seemingly trivial really bothers one or other of you, you point it out and resolve it.
But if every small thing becomes the start of an argument it’s time to think whether your relationship needs some attention. Because it’s not really about the washing up or the dishwasher. It’s about the two of you. Maybe it’s a sign you’ve had enough of your marriage.
You see the world very differently
Maybe you’re not arguing over the small things – maybe it’s the big stuff. Like politics, or big decisions about how to parent your children. Perhaps your values are completely different.
It’s possible to be in a healthy marriage with someone who views the world differently to you. You can agree to disagree as long as you respect each other, you can still make decisions collaboratively. Life would be very boring if we always agreed on everything!
But if one of you continually prioritises something that the other doesn’t care about it gets tiring. If your spouse is a workaholic and you are desperate to spend more time together, for example, it can be hard. Especially if you’ve tried to reach a compromise before and nothing has changed.
You are putting up with bad behaviour
Maybe there is no conflict in your marriage at all. Maybe you are so sick and tired of it all that nothing matters any more. Your spouse can do what they like. However they talk to you, it’s like water off a duck’s back. It’s like having another child in the house to look after. You are weary and you don’t like how things are, but it’s become normal.
If this is you, consider this blog a wake up call! If you are in a marriage you are entitled to have a partner in that marriage. That means you deserve to be with someone who is a co-pilot with you through life’s ups and downs. Someone you trust and can depend on. A partner who doesn’t leave you to do all the work. Someone who respects you.
Don’t beat yourself up for letting things get to this state. But now’s the time to consider whether you’ve had enough of your marriage.
You’ve learned lessons from lockdown
One of the effects of the spring/summer 2020 lockdown was that it shook us out of our routines. We had no choice but to follow social distancing guidelines. We worked from home, homeschooled, didn’t leave the house except for essentials. Basically lockdown stripped everything back. It gave us a chance to see ourselves without any social props.
If you were stuck in a rut pre-lockdown, maybe it was the nudge to see that things need to change. Perhaps it showed you just how much heavy-lifting you do in your home, and you’re no longer up for it. Maybe it showed you that your spouse doesn’t respect your needs. Perhaps you found that you simply don’t have enough in common to enjoy each other’s company. Is any of this ringing true for you? You can read more about marriage lessons from lockdown here.
You know there’s more to life than this
The final sign that you’ve had enough of your marriage is that nothing is wrong. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out.
Is your spouse treating you well?
Is the amount of conflict or bickering what you’d consider normal for a relationship?
Did things in lockdown carry on pretty much as before?
Is everything on the outside fine, but you still have a nagging voice in your mind that it’s not working?
I want you to stop and listen to that voice.
Don’t want you to panic. I don’t want you to jump ahead and assume that I’m suggesting divorce. I’ll take you through all your options in a minute. But I do want you to allow that voice. Stop pushing it down.
Do you know why you should stop pushing that voice down? Because it won’t go away. However much you rationalise with yourself or tell yourself that you’ve got it good and you should let it be. That voice will stay with you. Like tinnitus. Until you let it speak.
So let it. Allow the thought that you’ve had enough of your marriage – even if nothing’s wrong.
I’ve had enough of my marriage, now what?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these signs, then one thing is certain. It’s time for a change.
That doesn’t mean divorce is automatically on the cards. Don’t rush ahead.
First of all, it means you need to spend time with yourself, working out what’s important to you.
What have you had enough of, exactly?
What would a better life look like, exactly?
It might feel simple to want to ditch your marriage and start afresh. But remember this: when you divorce you take yourself with you.
So it’s absolutely vital you know what the problem is.
Is it something you can fix? Is it something you are in control of – your own attitude or behaviour? Maybe you can start creating your own boundaries, and respecting yourself, first. Add a positive change in your marriage, and the rest of your life will follow.
Is it something that an honest conversation can help with? Communication is essential to any healthy relationship. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Sometimes truths need to be told, and difficult opinions need to be aired. And maybe that will be a new start. Maybe acknowledging you’ve had enough of your marriage will lead to talking about how things can be better. And that will lead to positive changes.
Is it something that can’t be fixed? Have you had enough of your marriage because it is over?
It could be any of these things. But you need to know what you want first.
Get the support you need
Knowing what to do next once you realise you’ve had enough of your marriage is hard.
Working out what you want and need can be confusing – especially if you’ve had years of putting other people’s needs first. It’s a good idea to work things through with a coach or therapist. Or seek out a trusted friend who can reflect your thoughts back to you.
It can be hard to have a constructive conversation with your spouse. A relationship counsellor can help keep you on track and work through emotions without getting overheated or sucked into unhelpful blame games.
It can be overwhelming knowing what to do if divorce is something you are considering. Do not make the mistake of asking a solicitor for help at this stage. It’s expensive and you won’t get the answers you need! You can read more about when to contact a divorce solicitor here.
You do need to do some research and some preparation. My book ‘How To Be A Lady Who Leaves’ is a good place to start. It takes you through everything you need to decide whether divorce is right for you. And if it is, what you need to do, in the right order.
If you would like some support as you consider your options, I am here. I will listen and I will provide space for you to talk through your emotions. You are worth more than a marriage that you’ve had enough of.
You can book in a free call with me today.
Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self-study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com