How to Tell if Your Marriage is Finished


Dear Lisa,

My husband and I have been married for almost twelve years, and to be frank, 6 of them have been pretty bad. In the last six years between the two of us, there have been three affairs, one DUI, three lost jobs, two incidents at home that involved the cops, and two children.

That’s right. We brought two children into this world and our personal drama. I used to think the drama in our relationship was just poorly channelled passion. Not I realize the drama in our relationship has nothing to do with passion and especially nothing to do with love. I feel like we’re living groundhog day over and over again. It seems like we’re in some sort of vicious cycle and I have a hard time imaging it will get any better.
My question is, how do you know when it’s time to quit? We should have gotten a divorce before we had kids. I know it sounds terrible to say that like I regret having my children. However, I do. I regret bringing them into this mess. I regret the years I’ve wasted. I regret the pain we’ve caused each other. I just don’t know if we should keep trying for the sake of the kids.




Dear Ellen,

Let me be perfectly clear. You do not stay in a relationship like yours for the sake of your children. Do not. What you are describing not a healthy environment for anyone, especially your kids. Staying for your kids, and failing to fix your marriage is not a loving act. (tweetable!) at the very least your children are in an unstable home learning terrible lessons about life, love, and relationships. At the very worst your children are in real danger, and so are you and your husband.

That said, on the list you gave me, I didn’t see the number of coaches or therapists you’ve worked with. With or without children divorce is a serious decision. However, having children in that mix ups the stakes exponentially. You do not stay for the children. People often use the kids as an excuse, consciously or subconsciously to stay when they are simply too afraid to go. However, at the end of the day, you are going to have to look yourself in the mirror and those kids in the eye and say, “mommy and daddy did everything they could.” Until you’ve tried professional help, you have not.


A lot of people try once. They don’t like the first person they talk to so they think they’ve done “due diligence”. You haven’t. Until you’ve looked for professional help and found someone you enjoy working with and feel comfortable in their skills, you haven’t really begun. Some people will say they “can’t afford” therapy. Anyone who says that surely has never paid a divorce attorney retainer fee or child support. My all time

Some people will say they “can’t afford” therapy. Anyone who says that surely has never paid a divorce attorney retainer fee or child support. My all time favorite excuse is, “my husband would never talk to a professional”. Really? So what’s stopping you? You are the one you’re going to have to live with no matter what happens in your relationship.

It is entirely possibly, especially if your relationship has turned physically violent at any point, that you shouldn’t be living together during an intervention period. Safety is the single most important thing.

Ellen, it doesn’t take a professional to see your marriage is broken, and quite possibly beyond repair. However, until you’ve done everything you can, including professional intervention, you simply do not know and the not knowing is keeping you stuck.

Wishing you the best of everything,


*This letter has been shared with reader permission and names have been changed.


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Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.

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