Overcome your fear of separation to let go of your unhealthy marriage.

How to Let Go of an Unhealthy Marriage

by Kristen Moutria

If you are in an unhealthy marriage, you may feel depressed, trapped and powerless to change your predicament. However, finding a more fulfilling life can be attained by taking charge of your situation and making a move to get out of your relationship. If you have tried everything in your power to attain a better relationship with your spouse, but the marriage continues to be unhealthy, it may be time to let go. Analyze your relationship, overcome any fears that are holding you back and communicate with your spouse about your decision to let go of the unhealthy relationship. As you take steps toward a healthier and happier you, stand firm in the face of manipulation should your spouse try to talk you out of making a decision that is best for you.

1. Analyze Your Relationship

Analyze what about your relationship is unhealthy, and make a list of everything about your marriage that you simply cannot live with anymore. Although you are probably already aware that you need to get out, writing down your reasoning will give you the closure you need and it will help you develop a strong case if your spouse attempts to talk you out of your decision. Do not underestimate the stress that your bad marriage is causing you, advises Sharon Rivkin, a marriage and family therapist, writing for WebMD.com. Although you may think you should be able to work through your marital problems, if your marriage is genuinely unhealthy, consider that your emotional and mental well-being is at stake.

2. Overcome Your Fears

You may fear ending your unhealthy marriage because of your spouse's reaction, what will happen to your children (if you have any), or the type of response you may get from your family and friends. However, the only person who can decide if you need to let go of your marriage is you. You should not stay in your marriage because you fear being alone and may have to deal with financial obstacles or social issues attached to the ending of your marriage, advises psychologist Michael S. Broder, Ph.D., writing for "Divorce" magazine, in an article, "Should You Stay or Should You Go?" Facing your fears and overcoming them will enable you to make the best decision about your life and get out of your unhealthy marriage, he adds.

3. Confront Your Spouse

After you have made a list of everything you cannot deal with in your marriage, inform your spouse of your decision and explain your reasoning. If you feel like your marriage is in 'survival mode,' you can no longer effectively work through your problems, explains Susan Pease Gadoua, a licensed clinical social worker and executive director of The Transition Institute of Marin. Let your spouse know that you have tried to work through your issues, but that you ultimately see no solution and feel in need of a clean break. If your self-esteem is suffering, your spouse has no desire to change, there is no respect between the two of you and you do not share common goals, your marriage is most likely unworkable, Gadoua says.

4. Do Not Be Manipulated

After you have analyzed your relationship, overcome your fears and confronted your spouse about your decision, do not be manipulated into staying in your marriage when you know in your heart that it is unhealthy. You most likely have been manipulated by your partner in the past, and may feel powerless to do anything about it. However, since you have made the decision to get out of an unhealthy marriage, you are capable of doing what you know is right for you and your family. Do not allow yourself to be talked out of your decision, and if your spouse criticizes you, leave his presence and surround yourself with people who will uplift you instead.

About the Author

Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.

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