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
"The Vow" (JLE 2006)
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.
When a Marriage is Really Over
I knew my marriage was over when . . .
Wedding Day Gone Awry - Therapists Share Their Expertise
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 27
My husband asked for time and space, but he said he will never leave me. What does this mean?
Needing time and space is a type of marital separation that doesn't necessarily mean the end of a marriage. Time away can help each person gain new perspective and opportunity for self-exploration. However, it needs to be clearly defined as to what "time away" means so that the goals are the same. Parameters need to be set with the intention of maintaining the integrity of the marital vows. For example, if the intent is to gain perspective and stay together, fidelity must be agreed upon jointly.
On the other hand, if "time and space" for your husband is a precursor to formal separation and divorce, then that is a reality that you will eventually have to accept. It is imperative that he communicate his intentions to you to not give you mixed messages.Helpful 14
Me and my wife were married for 15 years and we have 8 sons now she says our marriage is over. I have tried to talk to her but she won't talk to me at all I think she is seeing someone else and I think she has spent the night with him I just can't let go I am still so much in love with her but she said she doesn't love me anymore. What do I do now that she doesn't love me anymore?
It hurts badly when a spouse has moved on from their romantic feelings toward their spouse. Your pain will not subside anytime soon so it's best for you to get help for yourself to address the grief and loss. After you take care of your own pain, you may want to suggest couples counseling to your wife to help both of you resolve any resentments and begin working on a co-parenting partnership. With a big family, you will need each other for parenting.Helpful 14
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 13
While I was pregnant my husband cheated with mutiple women. I was informed on my birthday by her husband that our spouses have been having a relationship for a year. We have been together for ten years and have two children. He left and rented an apartment on my birthday and has not returned since. Do you think I should let go and move on as well?
I'm sure the hurt and betrayal you've experienced cuts deep. Making your decision about when to let go of your marriage will be affected by the betrayal you've endured and at what point you've had enough. You will need to weigh the pros and cons of staying based on whether the two of you, as a couple, decide to repair the damage and save your marriage. His decision to leave and rent an apartment gives you information about where he stands. I encourage you to take some time to process the impact this betrayal has had on you, with the help of a good counselor, who will help you grieve from the pain and empower you the make the best decision. I wish you healing and peace.Helpful 8
© 2014 Janis Leslie Evans