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  • Olivia Sanders
    Olivia Sanders

    Should I Keep Fighting For My Marriage, or Accepting Divorce is the Right Direction?

    Dear eNotAlone: I feel like my life is currently in a tailspin and I don't know which way to turn. I'm stuck in an incredibly difficult and painful situation and I'm exhausted by it; my entire body aches from the stress and worry of it all. I've been married for 16 years to the same man and, for a few months now, things have started to unravel–especially in the last month. We don't communicate anymore and we just aren't connecting on anything. I feel so disconnected and lonely; I feel as though he doesn't listen or even care what I have to say or what makes me feel better. He's completely checked out of our relationship, and it's heartbreaking to witness.

    I think this has been a long time coming, but I had been holding on so much hope that we could get back on track and find the spark we once shared. I keep questioning what I could've done differently to prevent this from happening but I can't seem to come up with any answers. When we do speak, it's filled with animosity and anger–and some days it takes every ounce of strength I have not to give up entirely.

    I'm feeling more and more hopeless about fixing our failing marriage and despite all my efforts, I want to know if it's finally time to face the fact that divorce is the only direction for us to go. How are we supposed to find common ground when it feels like we're growing further and further apart? Should I keep fighting for us, or should I accept the fact that our marriage has run its course? I'm at a complete crossroads, and I don't know how to move forward. - A Struggling Wife


    Dear Struggling Wife,

    It sounds like you are in a very tough and confusing situation. It is difficult to see when it is time to accept that divorce is the only direction to go and make the decision to end a long-term marriage. The potential for sadness, grief, and heartache looms in the background and understandably, it is human nature to hold on to hope that things could get better.

    Though it is important to consider how much effort has gone into trying to salvage the marriage, an objective approach taking into account the current state of the relationship will help provide guidance. Here are a few scenarios that might be helpful in deciding whether to keep fighting for the marriage or accept the fact that it is time to move on. If over the past several months the couple has had a decrease in communication and a lack of connection, and conversations are limited to discussing his feelings, this indicates that mutual respect and civility have declined. Furthermore, if instead of productive conversations centered around finding solutions, they have devolved into heated arguments and an increase in negative emotions, then it may be time to accept that the marriage will not improve.

    If, on the other hand, there has been an effort to be respectful and take into consideration the other's feelings, the possibility of reconciliation does exist. This is especially true if both are committed to devoting the necessary time, effort and resources to work through the issues. It also requires two to genuinely want to rebuild the marriage and to be open to changing behaviors that contribute to the deterioration of the marriage. if the couple is able to agree on a common understanding of where to start, setting specific and achievable goals for the tangible changes needed to strengthen the marriage, this signals that communication and mutual respect are still intact and healthy.

    Making such an important decision is always tough but considering the facts and engaging in honest reflection can go a long way in helping to determine the best approach.


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