6 Tips to Help You Let Go and Move on When Your Marriage Is Over

Updated on September 18, 2018
janshares profile image

Janis has extensive experience as a licensed professional counselor in assisting clients recover from the pain of unhealthy relationships.

Coping with the End of Marriage is Painful

The dreams held on the wedding day don't always last. They slowly fade during the course of a bad marriage.
The dreams held on the wedding day don't always last. They slowly fade during the course of a bad marriage. | Source

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 Gift of Matrimony is Often Taken for Granted

A gift bow that has seen many rough days loses its luster over time.
A gift bow that has seen many rough days loses its luster over time. | Source

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.

The Sacred Wedding Vow is Framed in Memory

A couple shares a sacred moment during the exchange of vows, intending it to last forever.
A couple shares a sacred moment during the exchange of vows, intending it to last forever. | Source

Wedding Day Gone Awry - Therapists Share Their Expertise

When a Marriage is Really Over

I knew my marriage was over when . . .

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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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Will my ex ever come back? We have a 15-month-old toddler.

    It is very difficult when children are involved. The welfare of small children should always be the priority in a decision to end a marriage. You ask, "Will he ever come back?" He should definitely come back to continue his co-parenting duties.

  • My husband and I no longer have a connection. Should I divorce my husband?

    I cannot answer that question as it is a very personal decision. I do, however, recommend that you seek counseling to weigh the pros and cons of whatever decision you make about your marriage. Divorce is final and should be considered with discernment.

© 2014 Janis Leslie Evans

Comments

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    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 weeks ago from Washington, DC

      Sad to hear. You will decide when you're ready to demand and expect better. Healing from the damage will he!p to empower you and increase your ability to say "no more." Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      dee 

      5 weeks ago

      My husband constantly criticises me . I seem to do everything wrong and speaks to me as though I'm a child. When I have tried to talk to him he tells me that it is all in my mind and it's what I'm thinking. He flies off the handle at the slightest thing. then his approach is to buy me something. the message being that this over and he no longer wants to talk about it.What t I find hard to deal with is that his friends think he's nice and he seems to treat them better than me.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 months ago from Washington, DC

      Sounds like it's been very difficult, especially after investing so much time into your marriage. It's only been a year and a half. So you're right where you should expect to be. You have to change your perspective in order to let go. When a marriage ends, it's like a death. It's time to grieve the loss and mourn what no longer exists in order to move on with your life. Every situation is unique so I can't offer a "women's perspective" that would provide insight into her decision to pull away. Regardless of her motives or lack of "for better-for worse" support of you, in the end you will eventually have to accept the loss and begin to heal. Thank you for taking the time to read and inquire. I wish you eventual peace.

    • profile image

      4 months ago

      My wife and have been separated 1 -1/2 year. My 2 young adult daughters live with her. She originally moved out and lived in a dysfunctional stituation with her sister. We have been married 21 years I owned a company when economy went bad business failed. She resented me because lifestyle change started the blame game and we, she pulled away. Now she goes back and forth emotionally with me so I totally ignore her. I want to move on with my life. I need a women's perspective.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 months ago from Washington, DC

      I'm so glad to hear that the poem resonated with you. It will help to alter your perspective as you let go. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I wish you the best.

    • profile image

      CARMAN MELONCON 

      5 months ago

      I am accepting the reality that my marirage is over. IT HURTS. This poem is going to help me.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Glad to hear it worked out for the sake of the family. But I hope you didn't sacrifice yourself too much by not sharing your position. Thanks for reading this one, peachpurple, and commenting about your own personal experience.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i had often some ups and downs in my marriage but for the sake of our kids, we stayed on, just talk less. In the end, I don't voice out my opinion now.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks so much for reading, DDE.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      To know the end of a marriage must be difficult to cope with especially if you were committed to the marriage your tips are most helpful.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Glad you liked it, carolinemd21. Thank you for visiting and reading this hub.

    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 

      4 years ago

      Great article and I love your poem.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you much, mylindaelliott. So glad you found the tips useful. Thanks for your visit.

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 

      4 years ago from Louisiana

      I love your poem. The tips are very useful too.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Poetic. I appreciate it.

    • Poetic Word Bird profile image

      Malik S Canty 

      4 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      Good advice and Needed advice for those who want to get this thing called Love Right...Your insight is refreshing, Keep the words flowing...

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks, Eddy. Always good to see you.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      4 years ago from Wales

      Interesting and will benefit many I am sure.

      Eddy.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      That is fantastic, MsDora. Thanks for sharing that positive outcome. I appreciate your visit.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Glad you liked it, Beth. Thanks for your comment and vote.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Jan, very useful and thoughtful. My divorce was finalized on the eve of our 20th wedding anniversary. I believe in remembering the positives. After almost 20 years, my ex and I both spent Christmas together with our son and family and we enjoyed it. Life goes on!

    • Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

      Beth Eaglescliffe 

      4 years ago from UK

      This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking article. Voted up.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you, Jodah. You're quite welcome. Thank you for reading it, appreciate your visit and comments.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Beautiful caring and helpful hub. More marriages end early now than become 'death do us part'. Touch wood mine is still going, but this is valuable advice and very sensitively written. thank you Jan.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you very much, MG. I appreciate your comment, fanmail, and follow. Very kind of you.

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      Very practical, I must say and well done

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      All so true, Jackie. Thank you so much for reading it. I'm so pleased you enjoyed the poem.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      A beautiful writing, poem and song. I really enjoyed it all and listening to the song now. I think classes should be given to kids on marriage, how easy it is to get off track and how painful it can be, unsettling and in some cases expensive not to mention the children when they are involved. Who gives thought to any of that before marriage? Anyone?

      ^

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