6 Tips to Help You Let Go and Move on When Your Marriage Is Over
Coping with the End of Marriage is Painful
Making Your Final Decision
There is a saying which goes, "all good things must come to an end." However, when two people make a promise of eternal love and fidelity to each other through the union of marriage, they expect the good to last forever. No one gets married to separate or to get a divorce. Most individuals take their vows seriously and expect to stay married as they plan to share hopes and dreams as one.
So when a final decision is made to end a marriage due to insurmountable circumstances, it is said to be one of the most painful forms of grief a person will experience, riddled with a myriad of feelings. Those circumstances usually include issues that cause deep-seated wounds such as:
- a broken trust or deception
- betrayal or infidelity
- repeated abusive behavior
The ideal in most cases of marital conflict would be to stay married and work it out. It is not the preferred choice of the individual or couple to end their marriage, but there comes a time when long-standing denial dissolves and the reality of the situation comes clearly into focus. The couple realizes they've tried everything available to them to save their marriage, but too much damage has occurred. The eleventh hour has passed and it is time to move on, as difficult as that decision might be.
The poem at the end of this article illustrates the acceptance of this harsh reality. This acknowledgement marks the demise of a marriage which has come to an end. Coping tips are offered to assist you as you move through this difficult period.
Accepting the End: 6 Tips to Help You Cope and Move On
This article is dedicated to those individuals and couples who fought valiantly to save their marriages but it just wasn't in the cards. As long as you know in your heart you did everything to save your marriage, you've done enough. Here are a few suggestions to help you transition from being married to starting over and rebuilding your life:
- See your marriage as having had a purpose in your life that has run its course; make a list of what you've learned, how you've grown from the experience, and what you've gained from the challenges; use these insights for self-exploration and future relationship success.
- Acknowledge a mixture of contradicting emotions and allow yourself to feel each one, e.g., anger, loss, sadness, guilt, relief, failure, abandonment, fear and liberation.
- Monitor the duration of these emotions which may indicate serious symptoms of depression; contact a professional healthcare provider if the feelings worsen over several weeks and months, affecting your ability to function.
- Consider seeing a therapist to assist you in getting through grieving the loss of your marriage; coping with the end of a marriage is sometimes compared to the process of mourning a death.
- Connect with good friends for social support; try to stay active with your church, civic groups, and clubs; engage in hobbies and recreational activities; seek out therapeutic support groups if necessary.
- Count the blessings and cherish the good memories of your marriage; recalling the positive parts of your marriage history will help with the healing process by reminding you that it was not all in vain.
The End of a Marriage: A Poem
Our vow as one, sealed with a kiss before God,
Held all of the promise of a newborn child,
Full of purity and innocence
The box of promise we created on that day
Beautifully wrapped in hope, adorned with
Ribbons of commitment and topped with
A bow of caring love, has fallen from the mantle
After years of neglect, the wrapping paper crinkled,
The ribbon tattered and bow crushed
The box reminds us of what might have been
With eyes wide open, we now see the truth of our marriage:
Something old cannot always be cherished,
Something new can bring painful revelation,
Something borrowed can become bruised and not returnable,
Something blue can evoke unending moods of sadness.
Our vow as one, sealed with a kiss before God,
Once holding all of the promise of a newborn child,
Lost its purity and its innocence.
Wedding Day Gone Awry - Therapists Share Their Expertise
When a Marriage is Really Over
I knew my marriage was over when . . .
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
How do I get my husband to come back home? My husband is 57, and I'm 43. He hasn't been affectionate, and we don't have sex. He is behind on paying bills. I got angry and asked him to leave. It was really ugly on my side. I totally lost it. Now I'm sitting here in a fetal position, and he has only been gone a day. I've tried to call him, but he won't even answer
It sounds like the focus should be on getting support for yourself. Counseling would help you sort through the feelings of pain and loss as you work toward deciding how to move forward without him. Marriage counseling would be an option as well.Helpful 30
My wife of 10 years had an affair with another man for two months and then left me for another month to be with him before coming back and asking for my forgiveness. I really wanted to forgive her but I think the reason why she did what she did might be because we weren't really in love anymore and our connection had faded over the course of a few years. Why do I still feel so bad about not wanting to give it another chance even though 6 months have passed and I'm seeing someone else?
It sounds like the you still have an emotional connection to her even though you've moved on. Ten years is a long time to be with someone and not have an intense bond, even if you were no longer in love. Be gentle with yourself and take your time while you grieve the loss of a relationship that meant a lot to you in spite of the betrayal. You had hopes and dreams for a marriage with her that ended after a long investment, disrupted by broken trust. It had to have been emotionally devastating. In time, you will heal as you let go of the connection and move forward.Helpful 19
How do I let go of my wedding vows? My wife left and never looked back. I’m having a hard time letting go of my wedding vows. I keep wondering if this is just a trial. I feel it’s unfair to anyone new that I date that I already promised to love someone for better or worse in front of god and the world.
Excellent question, one of the most difficult to reconcile when a marriage ends. This comes up often with spouses who are religious and regard the vow not just to each other but to God, family, and friends. It can leave one feeling guilty and ashamed of not being able to keep the promise.
The question I present to spouses struggling with this is, "Was it your choice to leave the marriage?" If not, allow yourself to let go of some of the guilt and shame about breaking the vow, especially if it was not what you wanted. A vow takes two; if your wife chose to break hers, you are relieved on your end. In time, you can grieve the end of your marriage vow, heal from the hurt, and open your heart to the possibility of making another promise to love with God's blessing.Helpful 8
My wife says she doesn’t want to be married anymore and that she needs space. Should I move out of our home?
Before you make any decisions about moving out, it should be clear what "needing space" means. It may be that some things may need to be changed, resolved, forgiven, or improved upon. This could be addressed in marriage counseling. If the situation has come to a place where there appears to be no possibility of saving the marriage, then you can make your decision with a better understanding of what went wrong.Helpful 19
© 2014 Janis Leslie Evans