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Divorce and Separation

How to Tell When It's Time to Move On and Leave Your Marriage
By Susie and Otto Collins

You might have been raised with the belief that divorce is a “bad thing” or even a “failure.”

Maybe you simply don't “believe” in ending a marriage because, after all, you made a wedding vow.

It could also be that after an affair, a betrayal of another sort or different difficulties arose in your marriage, you promised your mate that you would stay together and “work it out.”

The trouble is, you've been trying and your mate has
possibly also been trying but you still aren't happy. The two of you remain disconnected and distant from one another.

How can you tell when it's time to move on?

You might be wondering if you've just not used the “right” technique to save your marriage or if it is beyond saving.

You might also be wondering if you really want to save your relationship at all.

Kendra doesn't like to admit it, but she sometimes wonders if she wants to stay married to Roger.

There was a time when Kendra couldn't imagine her adult life without her husband Roger by her side, she was so in love with him.

But now, after trying to heal and recover after Roger's affair, Kendra doesn't see how she can go back to feeling in love with him-- in fact, she's not entirely sure she wants him by her side.

Roger has certainly tried to rebuild trust with Kendra. She knows this and a part of her wants to work through this difficult time in their marriage.

Kendra frequently goes through an internal battle trying to decide whether this relationship is worth trying to resuscitate or whether it would be better to let it go and start over alone.

What's your non-negotiable?
When you're grappling with the question of whether to stay in or leave your marriage, it can be helpful to answer some core questions for yourself.

What is non-negotiable for you? In other words, what is your bottom line?

It can be a clarifying exercise to think about what
behaviors, situations or conditions are completely
unacceptable to you.

This might include infidelity (a subsequent time or for the first time), abuse (of any kind), a particular persistent feeling within yourself, or other things.

There is no official list of absolute non-negotiables. It is up to you decide. You can choose to share this list with your spouse or not.

If you do choose to share your list with your mate, you can even ask what his or her non-negotiables are.

Knowing what your bottom line is gives you a boundary that, if it is breached, signals that it's probably time to leave the relationship.

Kendra has always prided herself on living life to the
fullest. She deems a sense of feeling alive and engaged with the world of prime importance.

It is a non-negotiable for her to feel disengaged and dull in her life and her marriage.

She also decides that subsequent infidelity is a non-
negotiable. Kendra and Roger have already agreed to this, but she re-affirms it to herself.

What do you want?
When you're in the midst of difficulties in your marriage, knowing what you want can be a tricky question to ask.

Just as you might choose to write down your list of non-negotiables, take some time to write down what you prefer as well.

Don't think about this question too much.

Instead, write the question, “What do I want?” at the top of a blank piece of paper and just write.

Be sure to include desires that pertain to your current relationship and the relationship you'd like to have.

When you know what you want, you can better re-orient yourself toward that rather than pointing mostly toward what you do not want.

Kendra, for example, has focused much of her attention lately on being sure that Roger is not having another affair (or secretly continuing his previous affair).

Infidelity is often on her mind. When she writes on her paper that she wants a relationship built on absolute trust, love, passion and connection, she shifts more toward what she wants.

This can be a powerful practice.

As you get clearer about what's non-negotiable to you and also what you want, you still might feel confused about whether to stay in the marriage or to leave it.

We recommend that you keep tuning in to what's true for you and to what you want.

When it is time to take a step either closer to your spouse or in the direction of divorce, if you are listening to your gut, there will be a sense of clarity and you will know.



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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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