Some people appear to be better cut out for relationships than others – it seems like they never have anything to complain about, they never fight with their significant other, or they seemingly live perfectly happy, drama-free lives that others can only strive for themselves. Meanwhile, on the flip side of the coin, some people seem to never feel right with their spouse and are constantly considering divorce. They might never even think to ask themselves, “is this a sick marriage or a dead marriage?”
These people are the type who come home feeling drained, stressed out, annoyed, and blame it on work, family, or friends — because marital problems just aren’t that big of an oppressor in their lives. Most of the people who live like this don’t know how it might be that their marriage that is causing them so many health issues, both mentally and physically.
Recognizing the Differences Between A Sick and Dead Marriage Before Considering Divorce
Recognizing A Sick Marriage
What does it mean when your relationship is “sick,” and how are you expected to help it get better? One blog “Be Irresistible” puts it like this:
“Treating the symptoms of a ‘relationship bug’ can take on many different forms. You might pamper yourself with a shopping splurge. Or respond to his frustrating behavior with some passive-aggressive jabs. Or even disconnect emotionally by avoiding real conversation and intimate moments. The relationship will stay sick, and you’ll only feel marginally better. Rather than just treating the symptoms, why not deal with the disease?”
Some of the following suggestions in doing just that include:
Better Time Management: Set aside more time than usual to be with your partner, because the disconnect between you might be as simple as you’re not with each other enough to address one another’s needs and make sure they’re all being met.
An Attitude Upgrade: Maybe the relationship feels one-sided, or perhaps one person in the partnership doesn’t feel like the other is offering enough to keep the relationship going strong, or vice versa — all of which are things that can be addressed and resolved. Rather than complaining to friends via social media, a marriage counsellor could be of help in realizing and touching on fixing any issues there might be putting a distance between you. After all, your social media venting could hurt you badly in court later on down the road.
Admitting a Mismatch: People change over time; that’s what makes humans so human. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, or even a thing that means two people are destined to split up, but in most cases, when it causes tension in a relationship, it means it might be time to go separate ways. While it’s always disheartening to think that the person you married is no longer the person you live with, it’s important to remember that you yourself have likely changed a lot too, and that’s not anyone’s fault.
Recognize a Dead Marriage
Even with all of those possible scenarios in mind, what happens when, after all of that effort has been put into those potential solutions, nothing seems to have changed? How do you recognize the difference between a sick and a dead relationship?
Chances are, either the real problem is not being addressed, or unfortunately, the relationship might not be salvageable at all — which, especially when you’ve been seemingly happily married for years and years, isn’t exactly the good, positive news you’d like to hear.
There are just some things that cannot be remedied, which cause too much unnecessary strain on a relationship. For example, financial issues are one of the top reasons marriages end up in divorce — but it doesn’t have to be “hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt” levels of stress that leads to a necessary separation. If one person is bad with money — maybe even both partners aren’t skilled in budgeting, and require a monthly meeting with a personal financial advisor — chances are the marriage is going to be burdened with stress that just isn’t necessary, or at least, should be easily avoidable.
Other reasons for divorce include extramarital affairs, abuse, addiction, and contrasting parenting styles, all of which might have some form of solution available, but are difficult to manage when both partners aren’t in the same mindset and eager to communicate through their issues. Some issues aren’t those that can be ignored or justified with thoughts of “they’ll change eventually.”
Considering Divorce Might Not Be an Unreasonable Option
Many issues just can’t be, or shouldn’t be brushed to the side, and either need to be aggressively dealt with or cut off entirely. It’s the sad truth, but if you find yourself feeling drained, stressed, or overall just unhappy in your marriage, it’s important for your first step to be determining what the main cause is. The signs of stress can show themself in any way from feeling angry, drained, or even in physical symptoms, like breaking out no matter which skincare products you use.
Of course not all marriages are perfect, and even those that seem to be will have their ups and downs, but marriage is supposed to be a haven of communication and support, not walking on eggshells and waiting for positive changes to happen.
If you find yourself recognizing some of the issues listed under sick marriages or dead marriages — or you’re just overall not satisfied with your partner despite constant efforts to make changes, it might be time to take the leap and consider divorce. Not only will it benefit you and any children you have, but it offers you a chance to find someone else who can better support, communicate, and lift you up in the future. As the saying goes, “do not set yourself on fire to keep others warm.”