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How Do You Know It's Time To Separate?  

I remember when I was struggling with the question.  How do I know if I should separate?  Should we get a divorce?  I remember when I realized that this very question was beginning to consume my mind.  I  had two little kids.  How am I supposed to just give up on my family I wondered.  Eventually I asked my Dad, who had been divorced from my mom for many years, how did he know.  He answered in a way I've never forgotten.  He told me that I would know when the bad memories began to wipe away the good ones.  He said sometimes issues in a marriage are like cancer.  If it's an issue that is fundamental, it will eventually just spread through the marriage like cancer can through a body.  Once that starts happening, it can be pretty hard to remember what the good memories are, or why you even got married.  I tucked that piece of advice away.  I tried to focus on the good memories so that the bad ones couldn't take over.  Somehow it just didn't work.  One morning, I literally fell out of bed trying to make sure my then husband didn't touch me. I realized then that we might be at the point of no return.  I began figuring out how I might make it on my own financially.  Once I had a plan, it seemed I never looked back.  I realized that if I wanted to salvage some kind of decent parenting relationship, that I was going to have to separate and get some space before the bad memories turned us into bitter, angry, vindictive people.  So I did.  It wasn't easy, and to this day I occassionally wonder if I gave up too easily.  I don't think so, and if I'd pushed on, I would have likely wound up with an enemy instead of just an ex-husband.  I can live with it.  After all, the bad memories outweighed the good ones, but they didn't wipe the slate clean.  We all survived, and I'm thankful.
by DK-Simoneau  190 Posts 

Posted on 1/9/2008 8:58 AM
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Comments for "How Do You Know It's Time To Separate? "  (94) (You must be logged in to answer)

I have beenwith my husband 20 years this may.  We started our marriage with children, I was 19.  He never planned on a wife and kids and now we have 5 children and many years of living seperate lives.  I feel that I am desperately clinging to something he never wanted but just says he loves me but isnt happy... I am so torn and all I want is to laugh have fun andbe loved as much as I love!!!! When and how do you let go....I am scared to death!!!!
by deedeedi   5 Posts
Posted on 4/21/2015 7:54 PM

Me and my stbx were married for 20 years. We had recently been having problems in our marriage and she had been sleeping on the sofa for the last 10 months. I suspected she was having an affair but I was still trying to make it work. She even took her rings off the last two months we were together. But the day I knew it was really over between us was when I asked her what she liked about me and the only thing she could come up with was that I was good with the kids. I moved out for good the next month.
by Dad2three   5 Posts
Posted on 7/13/2014 11:53 PM

Awesome advice and now I am going thru my mind trying to find the good! It has been bad for some time now and I just don't want to be a divorcee! My husband was the love of my life, 34 years is a long time to be with someone. There were a lot of good times over the years. He is somebody totally different, he is mean and angry. We have had a lot of loss within the last two years including our only son and his two best friends, but, you have to grieve and move on.
No more excuses, people are who they are! I am ready, (sorta) but he don't want to give up house nor buy me out!
by Gotkickedtodacurb   21 Posts
Posted on 4/2/2014 10:15 PM

Wow! very well said the post, and the comments! Sorry to hear what everyone else has gone through to :(  Take care!
by NewDay99   39 Posts
Posted on 2/5/2014 7:30 PM

I knew it was time to leave when I was already sleeping on the couch and trying to be friends with him when I found out he was talking to old female friends about our marriage and jerking off to pictures of other women. He stated that he could not have sex with me and he could not jerk off to me either. My heart hit the floor. But at that moment I realized it was officially over.
by Startingover1983   2 Posts
Posted on 10/19/2012 11:19 PM

Your dad hit the spot...
by nbaume   141 Posts
Posted on 11/27/2011 8:26 PM

I have recently become an empty-nester. I have been dreading the day because my life revolved around my daughter. As expected, I am pretty depressed/disappointed about my marriage. We have been leading pretty independent lives but my child's activities were an easy way to hide the truth and create distance between ourselves by focusing on other things. My wife seems perfectly happy with our current status, the status quo. So I am questioning whether my happiness is more important than keeping things as is. Those 2 concepts are mutually exclusive. Staying means I am not happy and being happy is not going to happen at my house!. Is happiness overrated?
by fishoutofwater   4 Posts
Posted on 9/28/2011 4:53 PM

Great post!

Thanks for the advice...:D
by nbaume   141 Posts
Posted on 7/13/2011 8:54 PM

wow dk, ive been in this spot for some time now, and your fathers quote really hit home, i cant remember any happy memories, the bad ones just consume me. and i guess that is my answer right there, thank you for opening my eyes.
by feelingalone   3 Posts
Posted on 3/21/2011 8:27 PM

I had my "breakthru" when my heart had had enough and my brain kicked in. 
I'm wiser now.  And I'll say this: If he/she isn't good TO you AND good FOR you, (and your children), what are you staying for?!

If the marriage/relationship you want to believe you have has no evidence of being REAL, then it's not.  It's what you're HOPING it to be.  It takes two to make a marriage work, but only one to make it fail. 
Wasting away in an unfulfilling, and even destructive relationship is wasting you life away, AND damaging the children you take with you.
Staying in a bad marriage does not instill positive marital values in your children.  How could it possibly?
The life you save will be your own (and the children's.) 
Keep the divorce as civil as possible.  Keep the post-divorce relationship civil and even friendly.  Neither one of you are doing anyone any favors my staying together if you're not happy and you can't fix it.
by devandlib   12 Posts
Posted on 1/17/2011 3:13 PM

The day my status changed from wife to friend. I've always been his friend, actually his best friend so he said...it was way more obvious to other ppl - It's hard to accept when you don't know what changed.
by googdood   1080 Posts
Posted on 1/11/2011 3:13 PM

I still say my wife punched out too early...she went to two counseling sessions, refused to do anything but talk about me and how I was negatively impacting her life...Then after I told her I felt like she would not commit to solving our problems or suffer any inconvienence to work towards a solution...A week later she was living in a luxury condo...yea way to prove me wrong...and she still thinks I should give her a bunch of money...
by Vukovi   918 Posts
Posted on 1/10/2011 1:35 PM

I knew it was time to separate when my wife met me at the front door in a sexy negligee. The problem was she was coming home. :)
by gregory1969   1991 Posts
Posted on 1/10/2011 12:15 PM

I knew it was time to separate when  I saw a naked man jogging down my street. I asked him why in the world was he doing that and he told me I got home to early.
by gregory1969   1991 Posts
Posted on 1/10/2011 12:12 PM

When you are told I don't love you and I never loved you and I am sorry but I am leaving. Then a week later she moves in with the most amazing dope smoking, no working, no child support paying, probationee and then her mom contacts me about two weeks later and tells me the wonderful news that my wife is pregnant with his child. Oh Oh Oh I think it is time to turn out the lights and sweep up and get out while the getting is good.

Thank God and Greyhound she is gone...
by gregory1969   1991 Posts
Posted on 12/30/2010 11:08 AM

What do you do when you say "I love you" to your husband and he replies "uh huh" or "you know I care about you"?
by Kimmy70   1 Post
Posted on 9/25/2010 7:34 PM

Choosing separation and/or divorce is so difficult!  It is even more difficult if you have children together or have have become emotionally attched to your spouse.  There are times when choosing separation is a choice of what is best for your children; perhaps when you argue more than you can agree.

I think it is helpful to step back and think about your own feelings and how you view your life.  When a really great (or not great at all) event happens at work, do you think about telling your spouse first?  Who is the person you fell in love with, and do you still see that person in your spouse?

Alternatively, has all all substantive communication ceased in your relationship?  Do you dread seeing your spouse walk in the door every evening?  Have you started to lead separate lives?

Perhaps the most relevant question is whether or not fear of an uncertain future is the only reason that keeps you in the relationship.  Unfortunately, no one can give you the answers.  Only you can decide if separation and/or divorce is the right choice.

by BarbaraL   49 Posts
Posted on 6/26/2010 12:03 AM

When your battle yourself on a daily basis. When no matter what you two are doing you want to flee and never look back. When the only thing that keeps you in constant company with someone is fear.
by Tweetybird   10 Posts
Posted on 6/16/2010 7:26 PM

I have been married 4 years and this is my 2nd marriage, no children from either. I'm almost 50. For me, I think it's time to separate when you don't 'like' your spouse anymore. You may love them and will always have a place in your heart for them but you don't like them as a person.  I think you know you need to 'get the hell out' when the sound of their car door closing means they're walking in the house any minute and you will shortly lose yourself; they will suck all your energy. Its like an emotional, toxic vampire draining your blood just to communicate with them in a decent manner. You can feel the tension in your shoudlers and GOD FORBID they try to rub your neck or touch you! You are almost repulsed! I truly believe they sense how you feel; like a dog that senses when you're not a 'dog person'. They seem to follow you around more and ask more annoying questions like "how was your day?" "What do you want to do tonight?" and you want to scream: "WHERE THE HECK HAVE YOU BEEN?? Where were you when I needed you? When I needed a husband? Why are you bothering me now??" Its time to leave when you have so much anger from conflicts never being resolved and you keep bringing up old wounds yet he still cant apologize or acknowledge all the pain is due to him not wanting to participate in a marriage. When there is no empathy on his part and you realize there never was, its time to leave and begin loving yourself. You are already alone in the marriage. Now it's just about getting distance from the DIS- ease! 

Marrying a narcissist is some form of karma I dont wish on anyone. I will learn from this and look forward to getting healthy and perhaps spending the rest of my life with my dog. Which doesnt bother me in the least. At least now I will receive unconditional love
by bktes09   1 Post
Posted on 4/19/2010 6:52 PM

Good post and good advise from your dad! Add to that when you have done everything you can - counseling etc- to try to salvage the marriage..then you know it is time to quit! Don't look back - look forward now. Don't beat yourself up over it. To have stayed longer may very well have made things much worse~
by mtnvly   4119 Posts
Posted on 3/23/2010 10:19 AM

It was easy for me to know: When the PI came back with definitive proof that he was engaging in an adulterous affair with a girl 22 years younger than him (which would've made her one year old when we started dating....wow). I had had my suspicions for months, but once I got the proof and therefore would be able to use it against him, I locked him out of the house, changed the locks and the security code, cancelled our credit cards, closed our joint bank accounts, and high-tailed it out of town.

And the stupid sap has had the audacity to tell me I left him "homeless." No, buddy, you did it to yourself.
by m3linda   81 Posts
Posted on 3/23/2010 7:23 AM

I have been with my husband for 25 years.  Things have never really been good.  We got married because I became pregnant with twins as a teenager.  I really tried for many years to get him to be a father and a husband.  He was verbally abusive for most of those years.  He was unfaithful to me in 2003.  That same year I discovered that he had been using cocaine.  We went to counseling and the affair and drugs ended.  My children are now all grown and for the most part started their own lives.  I feel so empty and do not feel like I love him or have ever loved him like a wife is supposed to love her husband.  He is and has always been very dependent on me.  He says that he has no one but me.    I think his love is a dependency love.  Now that he knows that I want out he is trying to fix something I have been asking him to fix for years and he didn't care then.  I am still young and may have a chance to have real love in my life.  I am confused.  I feel very sorry for him and worried that I am making the wrong decision.  How do you know?
by LisaBehappy   5 Posts
Posted on 3/19/2010 8:20 PM

New here. Struggling with the 'should I stay or should I go' question. I am married to the love of my life. It took me a bad marriage of 15 yrs, 2 kids, and a few more failed short-term relationships to find him. He was the last one I was willing to take a chance on. My kids, especially youngest and him were attached at the hip. They were best buddies. My oldest distanced himself for fear of betraying his dad. Nothing ever developed between them and now my youngest is shutting down too. He doesn't like my kids, doesn't want them here. According to him, they are irresponsible, disrespectful 'screenfreaks'. He doesn't want to have anything to do with parenting them but wants everything to do with disciplining. He says they have to deserve to spend time with him but they can't do anything right for him to deserve it. He thinks I only want him here to be a dad to my kids. His drinking is turning him into someone I don't know. My kids and I are in counseling, hoping to find some way to live with him. I don't want my kids to grow up thinking marriage is a bad thing, but the situation we are in now is unhealthy for all of us. I'm not ready to give up and he says he isn't either but he's not doing anything to help the situation. He doesn't see himself as part of the problem. I've taken some baby steps in preparing for separating, just in case. There are additional problems involving 'sexting' on his part, swears he hasn't cheated, but I've told him, to me, what he did was the same thing. Says he doesn't do it anymore but took his name off our cell phone bill so I can't check up on him. I told him I wouldn't have to if he wasn't giving me reasons to. My pride is keeping me from admitting failure again. I want this to work but when is enough, enough? I'm so torn. I have 2 best friends in the whole world to talk to. None of my family or his has a clue of what's going on. Emotional abuse and low (no) self esteem have drained me completely. But I'm in love with this man, truly.
by Shayne29   3 Posts
Posted on 2/24/2010 2:21 PM

there is a book about this very subject at
101 reasons to work it out
by calebperrin   3 Posts
Posted on 2/23/2010 7:15 AM

I wonder why no one says "I simply fell out of love"
I no longer am attracted to my husband.
I married at 18 and I now know it was infatuation and not love.
There are definetly more bad memories than good.
I have slept in my own bedroom for a couple of years now.
Only thing is in the morning I have to creep downstairs hoping he won't hear the stairs squeak and say "watcha doin?"
by florabelle   7 Posts
Posted on 12/14/2009 11:22 PM

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