Here’s the thing: I know I am writing this for a family magazine. Please know that I’m not an advocate for breaking up a marriage. If your relationship is happy and healthy, should you stay together? Absolutely. If your relationship is toxic and unhealthy, should you stay together? No (though I know it is so much more complicated than that). I write this because I know so many people struggle in the purgatory, the foggy unknown space between whether to stay or to leave. They are in search of a sign. They want a higher power to give them the ultimate sign of what they should do. And sometimes they have received that sign. And then they ask for a larger, clearer one.
I know it is hard. Staying is brave. Leaving is brave. There will be challenges no matter which path you decide. No one can make this decision except for you. I am not a doctor or a lawyer or a therapist. I am speaking to you as a friend. Here are the top three signs that define a path that a change must be made:
1. Abuse. If you are physically abused you need to leave your marriage. Emotional abuse is harder to identify because chances are it has gone on for so long you don’t know any other way but a warped, trapped love. It is not healthy. Pain and fear are not love. Please take the steps to protect this one wild and beautiful life that you have.
2. You have googled twenty times “signs that you should get a divorce.” That in itself IS the sign. Google can not make this decision for you dear one. It is yours to make and you know that deep down that is what you want and most likely need to do. I recommend googling divorce attorneys and meet with one with any questions that you may have about the process. You don’t have to decide the fate of your marriage in a day but please decide to be informed. Be an advocate for the life that you deserve to live.
3. You are deeply unhappy to your core. Or maybe they are. You feel caged in the life that you have chosen. You don’t remember the last time the two of you were happy or had fun together. You constantly complain about them. Maybe you despise your spouse. Maybe you have even fantasized a life where you never have gotten married or maybe you have thought about hurting them or hurting yourself. I want you to please know that you have options. We don’t think that we do, but so many things in our worlds are in fact a choice. Please start with therapy, whether alone or together or ideally both. Start somewhere to find yourself and your happiness again. Sometimes the path of healing and saving ourselves begins by setting the other person free.
Sometimes people stay just so they don’t have to justify their choices to others. You do not need to justify your decision to anyone. You choose what you decide to carry and what you need to let go of. You have a choice in which hands you choose to hold on the journey. You get one life. That’s it. I hope in whatever you decide that you factor in your own happiness. You’ve got this brave one.
Katie’s essay and tangent collection about motherhood, life and imperfection, Happy Broken Crayons is available on Amazon now. Thank you for reading. You are the (queen) bees knees. Happy happy holidays and happy happy new year to you. In setting your hopes for 2018, please think about your word. I can’t wait to hear it. Xoxo
To read more blogs by Katie Moore click here.
Katie Yackley Moore is a freelance writer, yoga instructor and a momma of four navigating life and a separation and finding herself in the process. She adores coffee shops, laughing until it hurts and impromptu dance parties. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Mamalode and HuffPost Parents. She has published a journal entitled “Dream a Bigger Dream” and the children’s books “You Are a Warrior” and “We are Family” and just finished her first novel. Catch up with her between tea breaks at The Naked Momma and on Facebook.