When Is It Time To Divorce? Learning When To Call It Quits

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated August 1, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Ann-Marie Duncan, LCMHC

It has been said many times that marriage isn’t easy. But if you’re finding that your marriage is a lot harder than you could have imagined, “When is it time to divorce?” may be a question running through your mind. If you feel like you’ve given it everything that you’ve got and it’s just not getting any better, it might be time to look into learning when it’s time to call it quits.

How To Know When It’s Time To Call It Quits

One Of You Cheated

Working Through a Stressful Divorce?

Unfaithfulness in a marriage is a difficult thing to overcome. When one spouse cheats, the trust in a marriage is broken and lost. Therefore, even if the spouse that cheated says that they will change their ways and make things better, it’s hard for the other partner to trust what they say.

However, marriages can be healed and saved. It takes work on the part of both spouses and can take time to rebuild trust. This involves both people being willing to work on the marriage. Without this, the marriage will most likely fail or continue in an unhealthy pattern. At that time, it could be a sign that it’s time to call it quits.

The Relationship Has Turned Abusive

If you are in an abusive relationship, you must get help. There are multiple kinds of abuse, and all of them can be detrimental to a marriage. Most people are familiar with the idea of physical abuse, where one spouse physically hurts the other. Other types of abuse that could take place within marriage include verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological abuse.

Physical abuse leaves visible signs of the wrong behavior, which can make it easier to recognize. But all abuse is hurtful and wrong within any type of relationship. If you believe that you are in an abusive relationship, you should take immediate action. If you are physically abused, make sure that you remove yourself from the situation, so you can be safe while you decide how to proceed.

If you are facing or witnessing abuse of any kind, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or Text "START" to 88788. You can also use the online chat.

Not all abusive relationships have to end in divorce. If you decide to try to work on your marriage, you must find a way to maintain your physical and mental safety as you work on making the necessary changes. If your spouse is unwilling to change their behavior, then it might be time to end the relationship for good.

All You Do Is Argue

Marriage involves a lot of compromise between two people that may be very different and have different ideas and beliefs. If you find that you and your partner are always arguing, it could be a sign that divorce is coming.

It’s normal for couples to have disagreements. However, if you can’t agree on anything, especially the big decisions that you need to make together, you could be in for a long life of arguing.

Compromise is an important part of relationships. You might have heard the advice that both partners in a marriage need to give a little. And while that can be helpful advice, there are some situations that the advice can’t apply to. For example, many of the major decisions in life are not things that compromises can be made on. If you and your spouse have different ideas on what’s right for the situation, one of you is going to get your way, and the other is not. One example of this has children. If you want kids and your spouse decides that they don’t, it can only go one of two ways.

If you’re finding that you and your spouse can’t come to agreements on these big decisions, it might be a sign that your marriage is not going to be a successful one.

You Don’t Respect Each Other.

A good marriage needs love, but it also needs respect. If you and your spouse don’t respect each other, it may be difficult for you to move forward together. You may find that you’re always questioning each other’s motives or actions. You may also find that the two of you start to criticize each other. This is hurtful behavior that can have you both putting up walls in your marriage.

If your spouse knows that you don’t respect them, it may begin to negatively hurt their self-esteem. Or, it could cause them to start looking for respect from other sources. They may throw themselves into their work more if they feel that they are respected and appreciated by their coworkers. Or, they may start looking for another person that respects them, so they feel better about themselves. This is a dangerous situation that could lead to an affair. While your lack of respect should not be an excuse for them to cheat on you, it could be an excuse they use to justify their actions.

You Haven’t Cut The Cord With Your Parents

Your parents maybe some of the most important people to you, but if they rank higher on your list than your spouse, it could be a sign that you’re headed for divorce. Or, if your spouse hasn’t cut the cord with their parents, it could be time to call it quits.

If your spouse relies heavily on the advice of their parents and won’t make a decision without involving them, it could be a sign that they don’t respect your values and opinions. It may be difficult for the two of you to come together as a couple and your own family unit if your spouse refuses to set boundaries or cut the cord with their parents.

If you try to talk with them about the situation and they never take you seriously or blow you off completely, you have a decision to make. You can continue with the way things are and deal with it, or you can end the relationship.

What If You Want To Stay Together?

Seeing the signs that it may be over in your relationship doesn’t mean you need to rush out and call the divorce lawyer. There are things that you and your spouse can do to improve your marriage and stay together. Here are a few things that you can try:

Get Counseling

Working Through a Stressful Divorce?

Trying couples therapy could be just the thing that you and your spouse need to turn your marriage around. A therapist can help you and your partner get to the root of the problems in your marriage. You can learn how to work together to overcome the obstacles that you’ve been facing. Marriage counseling may be able to help the two of you reconnect with each other.

Work On Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a crucial part of a successful marriage. You and your spouse are not perfect people. There will be times when you each do or say something that has a negative impact on the other. It’s important to learn how to apologize when you’re in the wrong. If your marriage is struggling and you want it to work out, you may need to start taking responsibility for things that you’ve done wrong in the marriage. Learn how to own up to it.

On the flip side, it will also help to learn how to forgive your spouse when they do something wrong. Even if they don’t ask you for forgiveness, it will help you and your relationship to learn how to extend it.

Remember that forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean restoration. For example, if you or your spouse has broken trust in your relationship, you may forgive each other but still have work to do on the relationship before it’s functioning successfully.

Focus On Reconnecting

Sometimes couples feel like they have grown apart, but they still love each other. This can be a good sign that you need to work on reconnecting with each other. Spend time together. Work on improving your communication. Sometimes instead of ending your marriage, you just need to put some more work into it.

What Happens When It’s Over?

If you decide that your marriage is over, it can help to figure out a plan before jumping into action. Think through the logistics of what separation will look like and what steps you need to take.

Gather a support system around yourself. As you split with your spouse, it can help to have others that care about you that can be there to help you through the transition.

If you have children, don’t forget to focus on what this transition will look and feel like for them. Work with your spouse to see what will be in the best interest of your children as you move forward with splitting up. Remember, just because the two of you are ready to be done, does not mean that is what your children will want to happen. They may need extra love, attention, and reassurance throughout the transition and time after.

Whether you decide to stay together or get divorced, it may benefit you to talk to a therapist like the online therapists at BetterHelp. They can help you cope as you work through fixing your marriage or moving on from it.

Helpful mental health resources delivered to your inbox
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Therapist
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.