How Do You Know If It’s Time To Get A Divorce?

It's not always a decision you can make alone

Q: I love your site and advice and would love another perspective on my situation please. I’ve been with my husband for eleven years, married for nearly six, and we have a three-year-old. I never thought I’d be questioning my marriage, but for a while now I keep finding myself thinking about being on my own, having my own place, my own life. I know it would be hard, especially financially, but my mind keeps going there. Earlier this year I had the realization that I’d been forcing myself to have sex “for the relationship” and hating it, so I’ve stopped doing that. Reading the response to another reader’s question about the importance of sexual compatibility really struck a cord with me. I realized that I loved my husband from early in our relationship, but for me there was never any chemistry or physical attraction. Now I’m wondering if this is something I can live without forever? There are other factors at play, including postnatal depression and very different family backgrounds. Also, I feel like becoming a parent and the challenges I’ve faced have changed me. I’m finally starting to be able to listen to what I need, and this is causing issues in our relationship. Anyway, I hate myself for even thinking about hurting my husband like this, and I don’t know if this is a normal bad patch and I just need to try harder. But if what I really want is to leave my marriage, how do I give myself permission to do that?

—Anonymous

A: Dear Anonymous,

The difference between a “normal bad patch” and “time to leave,” has nothing to do your circumstances (barring the extremes), and everything to do with you and your partner. It just comes down to, “Do I want to stay?” That’s it. Wholly, completely. Easy, right?

Ha.

I know, answering that question can be really complicated, especially with all of these other factors you’re talking about (wee kiddo! bad sex!). To get to the big answer, try breaking it down into four smaller answers.

  • What would need to change for you to stay?
  • What work are you willing to do to make it change?
  • Is your partner willing to undertake that work with you?
  • How long are you willing to devote to trying to make it work?

Before we launch into answering those questions, I’ll ask one more. Why haven’t you talked to your partner about all of this? Based on your letter, it sounds like you’re unhappy with sex, but you’re trying to resolve it by yourself, without a discussion. It sounds like you’ve experienced some changes after having a kid, but they’re internal and introspective, and you’re not involving your partner in conversations about it.

I’ll be straight. If you want a fighting chance at all, you have to bring in your partner. A marriage only works if you’re facing problems as a team, and shutting him out is a surefire way to land on the short path to divorce. Loop him in on these questions. Tell him what you feel needs to change.

So, hey. What does need to change? You mention some sexual compatibility issues. Last time we chatted about that, Meg mentioned that there’s a lot about sex that can change with effort and communication. But she also pointed out that there are some things that just… will not change (a foundation of attraction may be one of those things). Does sex need to change for you to stay? What are you willing to do to make it happen? And then, if it doesn’t change, is it important enough to you that you’ll leave?

You also mentioned a whole pile of other stuff to sort through. But I was struck when you pointed to having a kid as a catalyst for some introspection. From my own experience, a new baby can throw a harsh light on any and all inequalities in what you thought was a happy, egalitarian relationship. That’ll make you real unhappy, real fast. Any change will shake someone, and when you’re in a relationship, that shaking jars your partner, too. Having a baby is a major, huge, tectonic shift level shake-up. Even three years later, you could be reeling from the way your life has changed. Are you guys facing some friction because of stuff you never addressed when your kid arrived? You mentioned that you’ve become more aware of your own needs as a result of becoming a mom. Does that also mean you’ve become aware that you’ve got a whole mess of them going unnoticed and unaddressed by your partner? If so, that’s totally normal! But what happens next is up to the two of you. The way you figure that out? Counseling.

As luck would have it, counseling is a great place to chat about the sex stuff, too. And the different backgrounds, and the depression, and all of the rest of it. You can start by asking yourself those four little questions I gave you, but even better if you find an objective professional to help you come up with the answers. I don’t know how much of your situation will need to change before you consider sticking around, or how much effort you’re willing to make to see those changes. But don’t get ahead of yourself. Grant yourself permission to ask these hard questions and to give some hard answers. Just involve your partner when you do.

—Liz Moorhead

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK APW A QUESTION, PLEASE DON’T BE SHY!

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  • K

    Umm did I black out and write this letter?? Three cheers for counseling help! I highly recommend finding a counselor who is a LMFT (licensed marriage and family therapist). They’ve seen these kinds of challenges before. Good luck- whatever happens, you’ll all be ok, but it’s a rough spot to be in for sure.

  • Sara

    Liz, this is beautiful advice.

  • Emily

    Counseling sounds like a really good answer here–maybe relationship AND individual. No one can you you when it’s time to pack up and go (again, barring the extremes) but a licensed professional should be able to help you make a map. Good luck OP!

    • quiet000001

      I was just going to comment – be prepared when seeking out marriage counseling to possibly need to/decide it would be wise to see an individual counselor also. Sometimes we have personal issues we need to get better at dealing with before we can really work with another person on related issues. And sometimes individual counseling helps identify what the issues really are for the couples counseling.

      (I had friends who tried couple’s counseling and basically every appointment turned into a session of private counseling for one of them with the other person just hanging out in the room. They really really needed to do independent counseling first, due to personal problems with setting boundaries and expressing needs and so on.)

  • Violet

    Does anyone know if there’s maybe a book called something like, “Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay” and whether it’s a good recommendation for OP? I’d Google it, but then the internet gods (ie, Google and Jeff Bezos) will start spamming me with divorce stuff.

    • Jess

      Yup! The subtitle is “A Step-By-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship” by Mira Kirshenbaum

      I’ve not read it, but it looks interesting. (Come at me Google and Jeff Bezos, I ain’t scared)

      • Violet

        My favorite is when my sister sends me a link with “Should I buy these shoes?” and then the damn shoes follow me *everywhere* for a month.

        • Jess

          Also, when I already *bought* those shoes. And they still follow me around? I don’t need another pair, internet.

          • theteenygirl

            Not to hijack this comment section, but my husband’s job is literally to do this to you. His biggest pet peeve is that there are so few ways right now (particularly in Canada due to privacy laws) to know that you have indeed purchased the shoes. In the US if you see the shoes online and you buy the shoes in store with a Visa card, however, it is technically possible to match up your Visa purchase (because Visa sells this data) with your online behaviour so they know that you did in fact buy the shoes. You can always delete your cookies frequently if it’s bothering you!

          • Violet

            Omg, can we meet up tomorrow in Happy Hour? I have allllll the questions and don’t want to derail this comments section.

          • CeCe_R

            I should be around tomorrow! I don’t know too too much about it but I can always ask my husband if you have specific questions :)

          • Lisa

            Seconded!

          • Jess

            Ha! That’s pretty funny, and I can totally see it being obnoxious for the people trying to sell me stuff!

            It’s not so much of a bother as it is humorous for me – like, “Oh Amazon, stop e-mailing me types of vacuum cleaners. I already bought one… from your site.”

          • CeCe_R

            I agree. Since I work in healthcare research I get.. quite odd ads served to me.. which are always good for a laugh

          • Lawyerette510

            Fascinating!!!

          • Lexipedia

            Adblocker?

          • Jess

            I mostly use one, but some sites (like APW) get whitelisted, because ads support them.

          • Eenie

            AdSense ads have a little thing in the upper right corner that you can click and say “don’t show me this ad again!”.

    • Gail

      Yes, and I used it. I would certainly recommend it to anyone stuck in a quandary. I found it so helpful. Deep down I knew the answer. It just helped me work through it logically but I could see how it could bring you to the opposite conclusion if that was right for you. Certainly worth a try as it’s full of good thinking point for both OP and her partner.

      • Jess

        The most helpful conversations in my life have been the ones where somebody is just asking me open questions with no right answer and lets me talk through the decision I’ve actually already made.

        It’s as if being able to put logic and words to the feelings gave me permission to feel them and act on them.

        I’m glad that you were able to find that in a book! I may have to recommend it to other people in similar binds.

    • Liz

      Read it and liked it. Of course, what I did not know when I read it was that my then-partner had already fallen in love with her intern and had been planning to leave for some time. So… timing is everything?

    • SJ

      Yep and it helped me leave a relationship (we were engaged) I was unhappy in. I was also in counseling at the time, which helped, but the book is very straightforward–I think more than most counselors are. It asks you a series of questions to try to get to the bottom of your true feelings rather than relying on the typical pro-con list we all write in our heads to make decisions. The one that stuck with me most (and I’m not even religious) was, “If God gave you permission to leave right now, would you leave?”

  • Sarah E

    It’s hard to make any kind of decision if post-natal depression is hanging over you like a cloud. I’d expect some individual counseling for that alone will help give you more/better tools to move on to these other big things.

    • ElizaS

      Seconding this. Depression can really profoundly shape how you see everything in your life. If OP isn’t already accessing good treatment for depression, it might be really helpful to start there.

    • zero

      This is so important. I’m not clear if OP is currently still depressed, but if that’s the case she should make no life changing decisions until the depression has lifted. Depression lies to you, in ways that are really hard to notice when you are in the thick of it. It could also be deeply influencing her sex drive, her connection with her husband, just about everything.

      • quiet000001

        This! I have PTSD and with it depression and anxiety, and I do definitely have times when I’m just kind of not into my SO. I’m not into much of ANYTHING, but it’s easier to notice with him than with many other things because a partner is more in your face everyday than the fact that all you can muster for your favorite cake flavor is ‘meh’ or whatever. These days those times are relatively short-lived and I know it’s just my brain chemistry being wacky, so I do my best to just wait it out.

        (My SO and I have talked about it some, too. When I feel like that I don’t feel honest saying “I love you” because I feel so out of touch with my emotions, how would I know? So he knows not to take it personally if he says “I love you” and I don’t say it back, or if I’m not up for cuddling etc. If he needs reassurance we talk about it – I’m usually okay with saying “I’m pretty sure I love you but I’m not feeling it right now” and that seems to work for him in context, and we also try to find close things to do that work for both of us – it’s usually a good time to sit close on the sofa and watch a movie or marathon some mindless tv, for example. Low pressure but physical contact and just being there together.)

    • Another Meg

      Oh god yes. And a counselor who specializes in PPD can really help understand how parenting and hormones and partnership can all impact your perspective and feelings about control.

  • Jess

    This is truly lovely advice, and those four questions of “What needs to change, what am I willing to do to change it, what is the other person willing to do to change it, and how long can I be working on it?” are so so important in any relationship.

    I hope you can start addressing some of these feelings with your partner and with a therapist, LW.

    You deserve to listen to what you need, and to be able to ask for what you need, and to get your needs validated and met when possible.

  • Katharine Parker

    This is excellent advice. I wonder, what is your partner’s perception of your relationship? Did he notice that you don’t want to have sex with him? You say, “I’m finally starting to be able to listen to what I need, and this is causing issues in our relationship.” What does that look like?

    At a certain point, too, it’s ok to decide that you don’t want to put more work into your relationship. In answering Liz’s four questions, you might come out with the realization that you’re finished and there is no return. It’s a hard decision to make, but you can make that choice.

  • BashfullyAEB

    I cannot second this enough: “you want a fighting chance at all, you have to bring in your partner. A marriage only works if you’re facing problems as a team, and shutting him out is a surefire way to land on the short path to divorce. Loop him in on these questions. Tell him what you feel needs to change.”

    My marriage failed for a lot of reasons but at least some of it is that my former partner fell in love with another woman TWO YEARS before he talked to me about it. By that point, my desire to do things like go to counseling, talk, etc. was too late. He’d already done a bunch of thinking and it left me reeling. He was ready to move on when I was just getting up to speed. It felt unfair and also like we’d missed a chance to check in. It will absolutely be scary, but my former partner said “if I’d known you’d react this way (e.g. with love and compassion and a desire to move forward *together*), I’d have talked to you about it earlier.” Please, as a kindness to your partner, bring him in to the “no answers” space.

    • Violet

      Thank you for sharing. This is so important. A huge part of a partnership is going through things *together.* Now, I’m not saying you have to share your every waking thought with your partner/spouse. But once you start keeping something important from them, you begin the process of acting autonomously. Which then, over time, erodes the partnership. I really feel for you, because you can’t have a fighting chance if the partnership was effectively ended unilaterally ages ago.

      • quiet000001

        When I feel myself tempted not to say something (particularly when our relationship was newer, it doesn’t happen much anymore) I ask myself “do I really want to spend a lifetime with someone I can’t talk about X with?” That usually inspires me to say it. (Because either I know it’ll be okay, or because if it isn’t okay I need to know that, too.)

        That doesn’t mean the conversation will be easy or enjoyable, but we should be able to have it. (Or if I decide not to bring it up right then, it should be because I’ve decided I’m not ready to talk about it, not because I feel like the topic itself isn’t allowed.)

    • Jess

      In this vein, one of the things that struck me about Manya’s recent essay about Almost Running Away was that she went home and told her husband what she was feeling
      (https://apracticalwedding.com/ran-away-from-marriage-almost/ ).

      That is the kind of thing I place the most value in, not that there won’t be hard times or mistakes or times when we aren’t so sure about our marriage being a lifelong commitment, but that when they happen we are able to turn to each other and say those feelings when they first come up. That we can trust in the other person’s compassion first, and figure out what happens next together.

      Ending your partnership was something your husband had done, as Violet says below, unilaterally two years before he gave you a chance to do the work. It was unfair, and I’m sorry.

      • BashfullyAEB

        Thank you for your kind words (and I’d missed that essay and it’s wonderful and exactly right). APW folks are always so present and empathetic.

    • Transnonymous

      This is not only spot-on, it’s critical. The demise of my last major relationship boiled down to an inability to be not just honest, but open. When I started dating my now-husband, I made a promise to myself that I was not going to lie about anything. Not just feelings about major life decisions, but even stupid small stuff about my day that would be easier to skip. Without establishing this dynamic early on, we would not have been able to navigate my transition, my partner’s desire to leave a dead-end job, attractions to other people – the list goes on – with as much grace and respect as we do.

      • Loran

        My partner and I both came out of emotionally abusive relationships before finding each other – As we were showing one another our (almost narcissistically similar) scars, we put forward three tenets for our burgeoning (or any future) relationship:
        1. Honesty
        2. Kindness
        3. Affection
        Be affectionate. If we can’t be affectionate, be kind. If we can’t be kind, at the very least, forever and always, be honest.

    • Yes, there’s nothing you can do when your partner exits the marriage emotionally and/or physically, decides to be with someone else instead of you, and acts on all that without ever informing you until the decision is already made and there’s no going back. I’m so sorry you went through that. I went through something similar (but on a much, much shorter time frame of events). It’s incredibly painful, and it creates some major cognitive dissonance…

  • emilyg25

    I’m my husband’s second wife. Based on his first experience, we made some promises to each other: You can’t leave without going to counseling. If one person asks to go to counseling, the other must go. Refusal to go to counseling is a deal-breaker.

    tl;dr: counseling

    (* With the caveat that it can be a very bad idea to go to counseling with an abuser. They have a knack for turning the counselor to their side.)

    • MC

      I love this.

    • Another Meg

      (* With the caveat that it can be a very bad idea to go to counseling with an abuser. They have a knack for turning the counselor to their side.)

      YUP

  • zero

    I commented elsewhere about the importance of ruling out depression as the cause of wanting to end a marriage – but assuming for a moment that that not’s the case what really stands out to me is that OP says that there was never any physical attraction or chemistry with her husband. If that’s true and OP is not asexual then something fundamental is missing in this relationship, and actually has never been there in the first place. That seems like a strong reason to divorce. OP might want to look into some of Cheryl Strayed’s advice on ending relationships in her past “Dear Sugar” columns.

    • MC

      I was just thinking of her line, “Wanting to leave is enough.” It’s definitely more complicated with kids in the mix, for sure, but I still think it’s true.

  • Jessica

    Just wondering — when you envision yourself “being on my own, having my own place, my own life,” how do you see your 3-year-old fitting into that? Are you seeing yourself as being a solo parent for weeks at a time?
    I ask because I read an article in a women’s magazine somewhere that said it’s actually pretty normal for women to fantasize about “getting away from it all.” Most of my adult responsibilities arrived simultaneously with marriage, so it can be easy to create this world in which escaping marriage also means being able to sleep in, just pay one room’s worth of rent, etc etc. I think knowing that those fantasies are common but also that it’s not super healthy to spend too much time there is important.

    • Rose

      That makes a lot of sense to me. When we were planning a move last year, I found myself fantasizing about just being me, floating away to the new place. In a more rational moment I realized that even if it were just me, moving would still be a pain, and it would actually be a lot more work solo. When I’ve talked to my mom, she’s also mentioned having similar thoughts about how life would be just so much easier if she moved out into her own apartment, etc, even though it probably wouldn’t be. I agree that sorting out those kinds of daydreams from wanting to live on your own regardless of the challenges is important.

    • Sarah E

      This is a really good question. I think this could tie in with the depression, too– I know I’ve been there, imagining a life where I suddenly feel better about everything. Navigating custody arrangements and split parenting is tough, and certainly won’t ease the responsibility burden off the bat.

    • quiet000001

      I also think we tend to diminish the value of “getting away” for a short time. If you’re really feeling overwhelmed, try to organize maybe a long weekend just you somewhere relaxing. (I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my mom and I both watch for special deals at the fancy hotels in town. Get a room for a couple of nights, get room service or go to that place no one else is curious about or that you don’t get to go to enough normally, rent a stupidly expensive movie in your room, whatever. Just chill.) Sometimes just that can be enough to recharge.

      (Socially we don’t really talk about women needing to recharge, or it’s implied that they get so much joy from the tasks of spouse and parent that they recharge that way, or with a gaggle of female friends doing ‘girly’ things. But most people need ‘me’ time occasionally, and I think especially if you’re more introverted you can easily get to a place where you’re what I call ‘over-peopled’. My SO knows now that if I say I’m feeling ‘over-peopled’ it means I need at least a night at home to myself, if not a nice weekend away.)

      • penguin

        That’s a good point about recharging – people talk about “man caves” (ugh) and how guys need their own space, but you don’t hear people say that about women much. I definitely need time to myself sometimes, and I’ll know when it’s been too long without it when I start getting irritable at my husband for little things (“ugh why is he eating crackers so LOUD!”).

        • quiet000001

          Not just me! It’s always the stupidest little things, too.

      • Ros

        THIIIIIIS.

        And when money or a full evening away isn’t an option, sometimes, just having my husband take the kids out of the house so I can sit in front of the fire and read and drink tea (while it’s still hot) uninterrupted for 2 hours is GOLD. Like. Dude. Go visit your parents. Take the kids to whatever playground there is. GO. AWAY. For 2 hours.

        And not 2 hours where you’re leaving a messy house and laundry and chores that I feel I need to do. 2 hours LEGIT to myself.

      • Ros

        Also, from personal experience (ahem: very current personal experience: I have a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, I’m in the weeds, as it were) I find that the transition between ‘I hate my spouse he can’t do anything right why does nothing work I want a fing divorce it’d be so much easier to live on my own’ and ‘the baby isn’t sleeping, it’s a super rough period, we’re both doing our best, there’s no one else I’d rather be doing it with, thank god we’re a team’ is, LITERALLY, if I’ve had under 4 hours of sleep or over 5 (and how many interruptions… ) I’m aware that I’m running on the edge of ‘one thing breaks and you’re gonna get sick as hell and hate your life’, and I don’t really have another option right now, but, for ME, resenting the hell out of my spouse is the first thing that happens when I’m lacking sleep (and, erm, the baby has woken up every 20 minutes, all night every night, for the past 2 weeks. My husband takes half the wake-ups, which means we’re both running on the edge of things being juuuuuust ok but don’t take another 20 minutes out or it won’t be ok at all).

        So what I’m saying is: maybe look at how much sleep and personal time you’re getting. It makes a MASSIVE difference as to how willing I am to work at it. (And I’m aware of it, so I tamp down the sleep-deprived fury that he doesn’t deserve, since he’s just as sleep-deprived… )

      • GCDC

        Yup! I find it harder to take entire weekends away (though I do it once or twice a year) and much, much easier and better for my mental health to do smaller amounts of time on a regular basis. It is easiest for me if I have non-negotiable, non-work/kid/housekeeping activities built into my schedule on a weekly basis. What I’ve found to work for me is a running club, book club, and regular adult dates with my friends on a semi-weekly basis. It’s also key for me to commit to them in advance, and put them on the family calendar so that I have to work to get out of them (rather than work to make them happen).

        • quiet000001

          And make sure others in the family know that time is important. (Friends may count as family here.) You may have to be a bit demanding – it’s not ‘it would be nice if I could…’ it’s ‘I NEED this time to keep functioning.’ Plus don’t think you have to figure out how getting the time away will work all by yourself – your partner can figure out a babysitter if needed, dinner plans, getting chores done, etc. without you if expected to do so. If you need a break to get away and recharge, it doesn’t really help if that break ADDS tasks to your list because everyone else is acting helpless if you don’t tell them exactly what to do.

          (Make a date with yourself if you don’t want to meet up with other people, put it on the calendar. “Mom out for dinner with Mom.” “Mom’s bath time.” Whatever.)

  • Anon

    To hijack just a tiny bit, we have been trying since the new year to find insurance-covered premarital counseling in our area (preferably with a LMFT) and are having no luck whatsoever. Our primary care people seem happy to give us a referral to whoever, but we haven’t found anyone in the East Bay that both does pre-marital counseling and accepts insurance (Anthem) to ask for a referral to! Most couples counseling centers state explicitly that they do not accept/work with insurance. We’d be incredibly grateful for any suggestions from you guys.

    (I was going to post this on tomorrow’s Happy Hour, and may post it there as well, but it seemed appropriate to ask while we’re on the topic of the value of counseling)

    • ManderGimlet

      Insurance specialist here! Are you searching through your insurance website or just calling doctors? I would use the Anthem website to direct you to networked providers first and see who they are saying is available. If a provider networks with them, they MUST accept and bill your plan, they are contractually obligated to and Anthem can advocate on your behalf if they try to turn you away or say they won’t bill your plan.
      If they don’t have a network provider close enough to you, they may also supply you with an out of network authorization to see another doctor. Even if the doctor doesn’t accept insurance, you may be able to file your own claims for reimbursement. Many independent practitioners of all types specialties don’t contract/work with insurances, but if your plan offers out of network benefits or flat rate reimbursement for certain provider types, you may still be able to get the visits covered.

      • Anon

        Thanks! “Couples counseling” is covered, up to 5 appointments at our main healthcare center or they can refer you offsite – we assume it falls under that. We have jumped through so many hoops already. The main healthcare center has agreed to give us a referral to whoever we want that is in the Anthem network, and they also gave us a list of 5 providers (3 of whom were LFMTs). And then so far all 5 have either told us they don’t actually do premarital counseling or have not gotten back to us. So we’re trying to put together a 2nd round of 5 to be ‘referred’ to. I’ve been going through the provider list (finally figured out that MFTs are under ‘professional counselors’) but would love any names of people others had good experiences with because this whole process takes a week or more and it would be great not to do a 3rd round.

      • quiet000001

        I did not realize you can possibly get reimbursement even if the practitioner doesn’t take the insurance…

        • Alli

          Yeah, I’m about to go to a psychiatrist that doesn’t take any insurance at all. So you go there, they bill you, and you fill out the reimbursement forms yourself. It’ll work really well under my current insurance but not so much when I move to my husband’s next year.

    • Amy March

      Does your insurance specifically cover this? Most don’t- they cover counseling only for mental illness. But if you do have coverage for it, starting with your insurance co is prob your best bet.

      • ScaryPoppins

        Seconding what Amy said – I just did a lot of research on this. Unless you are the rare exception to the rule, insurance providers (including my platinum plan that covers almost everything) will not cover any sort of couples counseling “unless you come out of it with a diagnosis.” Ie, if you go to couples counseling and the therapist also diagnoses one of you with a mental health issue, which may be related to some of the reasons you’re going to counseling, they’ll cover it. We’ve just come to terms with the fact that we’re going to have to find some room in our budget :/ If you are a faith-based person, or going to be married by one, religious clergy people will typically provide these services for free.

        • Random Drive-by Therapist

          Therapist (social work trainee/masters student) here! Many therapists that are used to working with insurance and who have the right credentials to diagnose mental illness are used to doing a work around for this: there is a diagnosis called an “adjustment disorder” that is time limited to six months and means you don’t have underlying mental health issues, you are just having an unusually hard time “adjusting” to life changes and/or stressors. If you can determine that your couples counselor takes some insurance, it might be worth asking in your initial phone conversation or first appointment.

    • Rachel

      I’m really late, but if either of you have an Employee Assistance Plan through your employer that may be something to look into. I’m not sure if they typically cover couples’ counseling, but mine at my old employer covered 6 sessions with a therapist at no cost and it was pretty awesome.

  • Emily

    As I have struggled with this own monumental decision this past year (AWP was kind enough to share my story this year: https://apracticalwedding.com/first-year-marriage-falling-apart/), I have learned that if there is a voice in the back of your mind telling you to go, you should go. Marriage is about partnership, first and foremost, and if your spouse doesn’t feel like your partner, you deserve better than that. YOU DESERVE BETTER THAN THAT! I agree with all the other commenters to try counseling, especially individual counseling (which has truly saved my life this year). Maybe you and your spouse will be able to navigate back to the space of partnership, including open and honest communication. But at the end of the day, it’s okay to say that this just isn’t working for you, even after giving it a try in counseling. I know how hard it is to give yourself the grace and acceptance to make it ok, but in the end, that is the best gift you can give yourself, and your child. You will be okay, either way. Lots of hugs your way!

  • ManderGimlet

    Thanks to all the commenters sharing their stories. It’s easy to overlook the “work” of marriage when planning a wedding, but the shared wisdom in these posts provide so much insight.

  • Sarah

    As a regular listener to Dan Savage, I would echo my understanding of his words: is your marriage more about companionship – it sounds like it perhaps always has been like that. Perhaps it’s worth considering options to have those sexual needs met elsewhere if that’s a solution. And it doesn’t have to be marriage ending. But I feel, from other commenters drawing attention to points, is that there’s far more than the sexual compatibility. I wish you all the best