This year marks both a fresh start and a year of new beginnings for me as I enter this year a divorced woman. Never in a million years did I think that I would be divorced and starting over at the age of 40. But as scary as that sounds I am happier now than I can ever remember being at any point in my life. The decision to finally end my marriage after the better part of a decade was the hardest decision I have ever made. Marriage is a lifetime commitment that I take very seriously and I loved my husband with every fibre of my being, but love really isn’t enough to make a bad relationship work.
A relationship breakdown
At some point during the course of my marriage, I gave up hope. I knew that things weren’t working, but I continued to hang on in vain for numerous reasons almost all based in fear. I still loved my husband and I always will love him in some way, but I had fallen out “of love” with him long before our separation. I began to resent him, yet I stayed in our unhappy marriage because I was afraid of being left alone with a large debt that mostly belonged to him but was in my name.
I felt extremely lost and alone. I alienated myself from my family and friends. I sacrificed everything: hobbies, relationships and having a family of my own. I completely lost my identity and I became someone who I did not recognize or like. I felt ashamed for choosing the wrong person to spend my life with and I didn’t want to hear “I told you so” from my family and friends who did not like my husband.
Signs that it’s time to end a bad relationship
If any of this sounds familiar to you, you might be in a bad relationship. Pay attention to red flags, if you feel like something is wrong, then you are most likely not imagining it.
A myriad of unkept promises
A telltale sign of a bad relationship is consistently unkept promises. If you find that your partner is constantly making empty promises like I will quit drinking after… we get married, we come back from our honeymoon, the holiday is over, etc. then you definitely have a red flag on your hands.
You feel unworthy
My husband could never seem to hold down a job, but he was the first to point out anything and everything I did wrong. He would diminish me or make me feel extremely insecure about any mistake I made. While I know he was clearly projecting his insecurities onto me, it’s hard not to let it get to you. If your partner is constantly pressuring you to change or makes you feel unworthy you are in a bad relationship.
You’ve lost your identity in your relationship
I set some dangerous precedents early in my relationship with my ex-husband by never doing anything for myself. I felt increasingly smothered and resentful, meanwhile, he became increasingly more controlling and psychologically abusive. I felt desperate and alone. Then I began to act differently, so out of character that I didn’t know myself anymore and I was scared of the person I had become. My ex would tell me I was crazy, and at some point, I actually started to believe him.
If you feel like you aren’t who you truly are in your relationship, I’d say you were in a bad one. Good relationships bring out the best of our personalities, they allow us to grow, bad ones, on the other hand, make us lose ourselves.
You just aren’t feelin’ it
We were all born with this beautiful thing called intuition, that should in some capacities help us make the best decisions. It’s important to take stalk in the present moment of your relationship. If you’ve had a relationship that’s been mainly unstable and unhappy, and things aren’t good now they aren’t likely to get better.
Support is one-sided
If you find that you are expected to support your partner in all aspects, but it is a major imposition for you to expect the same in return, you are in a bad relationship. Throughout our relationship, this was the case.
Early on in our relationship, I followed him to an extremely isolated part of the country and for the next seven years, I rarely had the opportunity to go visit my family. When I did, it was no more than a few days at a time. On the other hand, I was expected to drop everything to spend time with his family, who he despised (when he was speaking to them that is). And despite knowing how important it was to me, he could never get it together enough to drive me to or pick me up from the airport. But I was expected to drive him everywhere all the time because he was unable to, either due to anxiety or being intoxicated.
When your goals are out of sync
If you find that you and your partner do not have the same goals and aren’t headed down the same path in life, you’re in a bad relationship — or not the best one for you. Being in a relationship requires you to have common life goals, like whether or not you want to have a family and where you want to live.
Wonky ideas of “ours”
What’s mine is ours and what’s his is his — if you find you have a similar arrangement in your relationship, it’s a bad one. My ex expected to have unlimited access to my money (especially seeing as I was often the sole income in our relationship), but he was extremely selfish and controlling with his own money and all his other possessions.
Lack of intimacy
A bad relationship has much too much distance and much too little intimacy. After being diminished for an extended period of time in my marriage, I became extremely resentful and angry toward my husband to the point where these feelings and emotions overpowered my love and affection for him. This caused a complete breakdown of communication and intimacy between us.
After years of feeling trapped and hopeless, my husband and I finally separated two days before my 38th birthday, in June 2016. Things mostly got worse in the beginning, I still felt confused and alone as we went back and forth about whether or not we would work things out.
At this stage, my husband went back to the Yukon where his family resides and left me to deal with breaking the lease on our apartment and moving all of his belongings (several times)… you know, all of the adult things.
The next two years were an emotional roller coaster filled with a series of crazy roommates. But after finally moving into my own place this past fall, I can finally say that I am well on my way to rebuilding my life and I have so much hope for a bright future which once seemed completely impossible. My only regret is that I did not walk away sooner.