Divorcing Your Marriage

Rings on TwineIf you aren’t happy in your marriage what have you done to make it better?  If you are like most people, you have complained to your spouse.  Good! Complaining is the appropriate first step.  But what else have you tried? Have you asked your spouse to go to counseling?  I hope so.  By doing  these two things, you have done what most people do when they are unhappy in their marriage.  Unfortunately however, this is where most people stop.  These are two positive steps that can move you forward but they aren’t enough.  Why you ask?

First, change is hard.  Let me say it again.  Change is HARD.  If it were easy, every diet would work and we would all be skinny!  But research shows that changing even little behaviors take monumental effort and motivation.  When you complain to your spouse and tell them you need to see changes, you are giving them an alert but not the motivation to actually make the effort to do something about it.  Your unhappiness is usually not enough to spur them into action.  Your spouse has to feel a serious threat to his/her own happiness before they are motivated to make changes.

There are lots of ways to motivate a spouse to want to change, but most people don’t get creative here.  They just give up, assuming nothing is going to help.  What usually happens is the unhappy spouse gets discouraged.  After months and sometimes years of complaining, your spouse doesn’t seem to care or even understand you are unhappy. This makes you feel angry so you withdraw in the relationship.  You stop putting forth the effort to connect.  You stop initiating sex.  This doesn’t seem to motivate him/her either so you start to feel hopeless.  You begin to question if this relationship is worth staying in and you become apathetic about your spouse and the relationship.   You feel he/she doesn’t really love you because surely they would change if they did, right?   Soon you start to believe they simply can’t change.

This is a dangerous place to be.  Once you believe change is impossible, what’s really left?  Staying in a miserable situation?  Trying to learn how to endure and find happiness where you can?    Here is where one of two things usually happens.  You either have an affair (emotional or physical) or you divorce your spouse.  And here’s the kicker.  Once your spouse finds out that you have had an affair or are filing for divorce, he/she becomes very motivated to make changes.  Why?  Because now they are losing something they want.  But oftentimes it is too late.  You have been suffering for so long and you are done!  You waited until you were worn out and emotionally disconnected before raising the alarm to DEFCON 4.   In fact, when you see your spouse making changes now it makes you angry!  I hear “Why now?” from my clients every single week.  You finally get the courage to end your marriage and NOW your spouse is changing.   You are upset it took extreme measures to get their attention and you tell yourself the changes aren’t real and they surely won’t last. Your spouse is upset because they feel ambushed.  They didn’t see this coming because you didn’t let them know how bad things were until it was really too late. Now your spouse is feeling desperate and alone.  They are promising to change any and everything if you will just give it one more shot.

Too often these marriages end and it shouldn’t be that way!  If you aren’t happy in your marriage, raise the level of alarm before you shut down emotionally.  Don’t just complain, give your spouse some motivation.  Let them know if things don’t improve by a certain date, you are moving out.  If your spouse won’t go to counseling, go by yourself!  Just be sure you see a marriage counselor who is PRO marriage.  Keep doing something!  Raise the alarm to DEFCON status and make sure your spouse knows it!  But don’t quit trying.  Complaining and withdrawing isn’t enough.  Get their attention!

By the time most people get to the point of wanting to divorce, they are exhausted and tell me they just don’t have the energy to keep fighting.  But here’s the thing.  Divorce requires exorbitant amounts of energy.  It is not a restful or peaceful journey.  Use the energy you would spend to divorce your spouse and divorce your marriage instead! Leave your old marriage behind and begin a new one with your spouse!  Build something better than you had before.

At Engage With Love we fight for marriages and we are good at what we do!  Let us help you build a better marriage.  We can show you how to get your spouse’s attention in a way that will let him/her know you mean business. Our counselors and coaches can work with you no matter where you live.   Give us a call at 972-441-4432.

17 thoughts on “Divorcing Your Marriage

  1. This is exactly what is happening in my relationship however it’s my husband saying he’s done and not me. I need tools to build our relationship back to a good, happy placefor both of us.

  2. We have married almost 29 years but the last 2 have taken there toll on me and I am not sure if I can do this anymore. He says he just doesn’t know what to say when I ask a question. Wants sex but don’t ask him if he has any feelings. He doesn’t know what to say, therefore he says nothing at all. Leaving me with nothing. Just don’t know what I have left to right with.

    Thank you,


    • Susan,
      I’m so sorry you are in this place. I’ve asked a coach to contact you. Hopefully you have already been reached and help is on the way!

  3. I’ve been with my husband for 11 years and now he has become a man that I don’t even know anymore. He doesn’t know if he still wants to be married or not.. I have asked him to go to counseling and he said no. I just don’t know how much more I can take. He has become very cold and heartless..

    • Tray..I don’t wait for your husband to agree to counseling. GO ALONE! I can’t stress this enough. You need the support and the quickest way to change any relationship is simply changing something YOU are doing. Trust me! Go see a counselor or talk to one of our coaches. 🙂

  4. 8 months ago my husband said he wanted a divorce. This took me by complete surprise. I found out a couple weeks later that he had started having an affair with a woman he met online. He moved out on March 7th, said he was conflicted, didn’t know what he wanted and needed to find himself, but since he left he’s met the other woman and spent 25 days of the last 2 months vacationing with her. She seems to have enough financial resources that she can fly halfway across the country in 2 months and not be strapped for cash. My husband filed for divorce on June 3rd and is extremely hostile to me. It has only gotten worse since he’s physically met the other woman. Apparently they talk for hours every day on the phone, not to mention texts, and he is “happier than he’s ever been.” We just had our 27th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago. When this all began. He said he loves me, but he’s not “in love” with me. I just don’t know whether I should give up hope for him and this relationship, let it go and move on with my life. Please give me some direction.

    • Audrey…your husband sounds like he is in limerence. And that is tough! Because it means this relationship is an addiction and you aren’t likely to see him behaving rationally until the limerence is over. PLEASE call us and work with one of our coaches. You need the support and you need to understand what is happening here. Learning to stand up for yourself appropriately will help. I’m so sorry you are experiencing this. Limerence is tough to wait out…but not impossible. If you want to move on…you absolutely should. But if you want to save your marriage, there is still hope.

  5. This is exactly what is happening to me after 16 years. I have worked hard on making changes for the last 2 months, but my wife says she is not changing off the course of leaving at the end of March. Kids are not helping the situation either. She is not into counseling, but this post speaks volumes. Can you give your spouse an article like this? Is there a right time?

  6. I have been with my husband for 16 years. He has had an affair for a while in which he thinks he has fathered a child he is nosure its his. He had a vesctomy years ago and I thinks there is no possible way that this child is his. He left home to live with the other woman with his supposed child and another child she has from her previous failed marriage. We have a 12 year old child and I think he is suffering too. When my husband said he was leaving my son cried and asked him not to leave. My husband still left 2 days after. He didn’t leave to live alone he right away sent into live with the other woman. My husband said I’m worth much more than the other woman and I asked why would you leave if think that way and say that? His response was that he didn’t want to hurt me anymore. He asked me to wait for him to come back, be has co.e home to see my son but ends up looking for me and wants to be intimate with me. I’m very week and gave in we have been intimate since he left home but when he leaves I feel so empty and so lonely.I know I’m worth more than what my husband thinks I’m worth I still love him despite his wrongdoing. I tell him to stop giving me false hope. That I married him till the end of my days and I promised to take care of him in good and bad times. He says he wants to spend his old age with me I’m confused and he is confused. Please help! I live in Chicago can I get some advice on my situation?

  7. My wife and I have been together for 17 years married for 13 years, we married when we were young and my wife has stayed home to raise our three children. My wife came to me about 7 months ago and said she needed her space at first I smothered her and now have realized that was a mistake. We have tried a few sessions of marriage counseling but that has not worked, she feels we are to far apart for it to work. My wife says she no longer feels connected to me. She also says she feels like she has done nothing with her life and she is unhappy. I am really confused we communicate and get along fine. She wants to divorce and I feel like we have not done much to try to work it out. I am torn on what to do I want her to be happy. I love her and care for so much. I am not sure what to do.

  8. On January 3, my husband of 29-1/2 years told me he wants a divorce. He said he “loves me but is not in love with me.” He swears there is no one else, but I have my doubts.

    He did agree to go to counseling; however, the counselor did NOTHING to help. He said he thought my husband had already “emotionally left the marriage.” We have met with the counselor twice together and once separately. At this point, the counselor just seems to want to counsel us on how to come to an agreement on the divorce without making it a war. That is NOT what I wanted the counselor for, as I believed that the marriage could be saved. The longer this drags on, the less I am sure I want to save the marriage.

    I don’t know what to do at this point, and don’t know if there is any hope left for the marriage, since my husband has already made up his mind, and since he has never believed that anyone can ever change.

    Mary T.

  9. It’s been 3 years of fighting. I’ve been trying. Changing everything. But she’s apathetic, and has a new guy. Even though we’re still married. We don’t live together. Sleep together. Or even eat together. I filed for divorce as I see no hope. She doesn’t want to do counseling. I am. By myself. And I’ve accepted it’s over. As much as it breaks my heart to say it. I still love her. But can’t be in a one sided relationship. I wish I understood what she wants. And who she is. I’ve read blogs articles. And tried numerous sources to save it. It’s over.

  10. My husband told me to move out of HIS house and then complained by email that I wasn’t packing fast enough. We’ve been married 3 years and he’s told me to move out 15 times. I’m not kidding. This time I’m not moving back. It is an incredible amount of work and I work full time. I think he’ll file for divorce to protect his assets. There were times he was a wonderful person but he can flip so fast. I’m very sad but he just does not want to be married.

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