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When You Know it’s Over

By HERWriter
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Emotional Health related image Photo: Getty Images

There are probably two main moments in a marital breakdown; the first is when you first realize, in a kind of “a-ha!” moment, that your marriage is not what you thought it was and you start fighting to get back to what you thought your marriage was or what you want it to be; the second, is when you reach that point when you know there is no salvaging the relationship.

Perhaps there are moments in between these two pivotal ones that confirm your initial suspicion, and there probably are. A marriage doesn’t break down overnight. It is a gradual process sometimes taking years, sometimes taking weeks or months.

But there is a little bit of shock and pain when those thoughts register with our consciousness…my marriage isn’t how I imagined it and, despite all my efforts, I can’t handle my marriage anymore.

My Story

True to form, the downfall of my marriage came over time. It didn’t happen in the blink of an eye.

In our case, the first moment I mentioned came about seven years before the second moment. The first moment brought with it disappointment and self-analysis. I admitted I had some issues that I needed to deal with that were affecting our marriage (not that my husband was completely innocent in this department but I couldn’t do anything about his issues…only mine). So I started working on me. Learning about the habits I needed to give up and what a wife’s role should be and what I wanted it to be, and working towards that.

In between the first and second major moments, there was a middle moment when my husband admitted that he didn’t love me and wasn’t sure that he ever had. Which really wasn’t news to me, truth be told. A girl can tell. But I had coached myself into believing that he did in his own way. To be told that what I had thought was wrong totally crumbled my world.

Seven years after the first moment, after much soul searching, I finally came to the point where I knew the marriage was over. I had made a choice many years before to love my husband (around the time of the first moment) and had to admit that I hadn’t been “in love” with my husband for a long time although there were blips.

Add a Comment3 Comments

For me the difficult part is the acknowledgement that things aren't going as you want them to. Even though I knew deep down inside I didn't want to let go - I was convinced that I could make things right. My last relationship ended after 9 years, I am now in a new relationship but it is different from any other that I have known before, it is definitely taking me out of my comfort zone, but I am willing to try this, the only problem is the gut feeling you get from thinking "this isn't going how I want it to" and I'm not sure if that's because of past experiences or if it's because it is a new-style relationship.

March 15, 2011 - 5:48am

Thanks for this article, Darlene. I know first hand the pain of an unhealthy marriage. My first marriage was like this. Luckily we didn't have any children, and it only lasted 2 years before my husband told me he didn't love me and didn't think he ever really had (so what had we been doing for the past five years?). I honestly can tell you though that I knew the night of our wedding that something was off. I knew in my heart he wasn't ready for marriage, and perhaps I wasn't either. I thought what we had was love, or something that could have grown into an enduring love. But factually, we were still trying to figure out life and what was important to us. There were some events the second year of our marriage that opened my eyes to what was going on, and the final straw was simply me breaking down in tears over seemingly nothing--I knew at that moment I couldn't go on pretending we would get past our problems. In hindsight, I would've handled it differently, but at that time I just wanted out when I knew the inevitable. I made some bad financial decisions following our break-up, but trading in the marriage sedan for a new sports coupe and brand new apartment I could barely afford were meant to make me feel better. It worked, but I could've been more practical. Live and learn. We got an "easy" paralegal paperwork divorce and only had to go to court for the final decree ten months later. I still miss some things about my ex-husband (memories come to me in blips), but I do not miss the pain and low self-esteem. Oh, the things we put ourselves through.
Your article was raw and brave. I hope you are in a much better place now, like I am. I look forward to your follow-up articles.

March 9, 2011 - 9:01am
HERWriter (reply to Christine Jeffries)

Thanks, Christine.

And thank you for sharing your story.

Yes, I am in a much better place now even than I was a year ago.


March 9, 2011 - 9:36am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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