As a marriage counselor, unfortunately I see lots of times when marriages just don’t work. Despite all the time and work that people put into counseling, sometimes people just decide that they’d rather not be married and they’re better off going their separate ways. Sometimes it’s probably for the better. But other times there are marriages that are absolutely savable but couple decide to divorce anyway.
In my profession, we’re not allowed to give couples advice about whether they should stay or leave a marriage. Unless there’s violence, abuse, or other big red flags, whether to stay or leave a marriage is completely up to you. But that doesn’t mean I can’t write about it. So here ya go:
Bad Reasons to Want a Divorce
My Partner Changed. Of course they changed! They shouldn’t act like they’re 20 years old for the rest of their life. Just because your partner changed doesn’t mean there are things you can’t love about them. There’s still a great person in there. Take some time with them, get to know them more and find out what makes them tick. You fell in love with the person they were when they were younger, now you get to fall in love with them all over again.
We’re Just not As Close as We Used to be. You two were in love once. And after after all that time of you two dating and being engaged, you decided that you were still in love enough to get married. You two had fun together, laughed together, had good sex with each other, etc. This means that you two have a good foundation with each other. So if you’re not feeling as close as you used to there’s nothing stopping you from feeling close again. Go back to your roots of when you were dating and find something fun to do. It’s probably been a while since you did. Find a babysitter, dress up, and don’t forget the sex at the end of the night.
They Don’t Like to do the Same Things I do. Of course they don’t! Remember back in elementary school when you’re teacher taught you that if everyone was the same that it’d be a boring world? Your partner shouldn’t be a chameleon of you. To expect them to be actually says more about you than it does about them. It means you can’t tolerate differences very well. Just because your partner doesn’t like to mountain bike, run, go out to popular chain restaurants, etc doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. And it certainly doesn’t mean you’re incompatible. It means that you’re different people. Allow your partner some autonomy to be themselves. Invest in their interests and enjoy how much they enjoy their hobbies. Along the way you’ll find things that you both like to do. If you can’t think of any, go on some dates and find some. Give yourself permission to try and fail. You’re probably not going to find something the first time – but that’s what makes it fun.
The Sex Isn’t Good. This is one I debated putting in this article. If you’re in a monogamous relationship there’s only one person that you can be having sex with. And there’s too much joy, passion and love that come from sex to just miss out on it for the rest of your life. That said, if the sex isn’t good there are lots of things you can do to improve your sex life. And most couples don’t even try a fraction of them before calling it quits. For example, toys, dress ups, and role plays are a great way to add some spice to your relationship. A lot of couples also enjoy erotic books, videos and even semi- or non-monogamy. Most people don’t even think about some of these things before just calling it quits. Instead they stew in anger about it until they divorce. Seriously, just talk about it.
I don’t get along with their friends/family. Then don’t be around them! Nobody said you have to be around them anyway. Yeah, it makes birthdays, holidays and some vacations awkward but if you really don’t like them then don’t go. You can still love your spouse and have an affectionate relationship with them even if you don’t like their friends/family. If having friends in common is important to you, try going to new places and doing new things where you might meet new people. Go to the after work happy hour and bring your spouse along, Go to a meetup for amateur photographers or wine lovers, etc. There are lots of places to meet people you DO like that you can bring your spouse along with you to.
Aaron Anderson is the Director and Lead Therapist at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. He’s an avid father, husband and youth soccer coach. He doesn’t have time to write clever bios because he’s way too busy doing one of those things.