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Lost That Loving Feeling? When to Give Up On Your Marriage

The bad news is it doesn’t matter how you feel. That’s also the good news! Why? Because your marriage commitment goes beyond feelings. Here’s how to know when to give up on your marriage instead of trying to make it work – these tips are inspired by a reader who asked for help deciding if she should stay or go.

give up on marriageIf you want to save your marriage, read Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. He describes how husbands and wives communicate, and shares that unconditional respect is as powerful for husbands as unconditional love is for wives. He also reveals the power of unconditional love and unconditional respect – as well as how husbands and wives can reap the benefits of marriage.

But how do you know if your marriage will offer benefits – or if it’s worth saving? Here’s what one reader said: “I’ve been married 13 years and I keep thinking it’s time to give up on marriage. I would say my husband is a good father but he always flirts with his coworker in front of me. He doesn’t include me in conversations when we’re in public and it makes me not trust him. Nor feel close to him. When I talk to him he said I was over reacting and he wasn’t flirting and he loves me. I really feel cannot trust him. When I try to have a conversation he get angry and always with he’s cellphone and he don’t even let the kids use it. I’m very concerned I don’t know if I should give up on this relationship or keep trying to save my marriage.” – from How the Power of Love Can Save Your Marriage.

I can’t tell you if you should give up on your marriage. Only you can decide if you should keep trying, or decide to let go.

This article was inspired by a comment from one of my readers, on 7 Signs Your Marriage is Over. She says, “I found out my husband has been having lunches and dinners with another woman from his work, for almost a year. I decided to forgive him and stay in the marriage, to give him a chance to work our relationship out because I know it’s worth it. But I’ve been very physically and emotionally insecure after since. He claims he’s over her. But he doesn’t let me look at his phone, and says I’ll get paranoid if he tells me who he’s having lunches and dinners with. I don’t trust him and want to give up on this marriage. What do you think?”

You Might Give Up on Your Marriage If…

The most important sign that it’s better to give up on your marriage is your own gut feeling…and I think this reader’s gut is telling her that she can’t make it work with her husband because he isn’t meeting her halfway. She has good reason not to trust him – he’s giving her reasons not to trust him.

You and your husband have different life goals

One of my friends wants to have children – she’s 39, and feeling like it’s now or never. But, her 37 year old husband doesn’t want kids. They’ve broken up and gotten back together several times because she wants kids and he doesn’t…and they keep trying to work things out. Neither one will budge on their goals, but they love each other too much to split up.

If she doesn’t want to give up on her marriage, then she needs to make peace with never having children. It really is as simple as that. If you want to save your marriage, you need to compromise and accept your husband for who he is…because he won’t change.

You keep hoping things will get better – but they never do

On my article about how to cope when you’re unhappily married, a reader said she knows deep down that she should give up on her marriage, but she keeps hoping things will improve. Many women (and men!) stay in loveless marriages or unhealthy relationships for years or even decades, hoping things will get better.

If you’ve been unhappy for several years, then maybe it’s better to give up on your marriage.

Your husband doesn’t care about trying to work things out

Do you feel alone in your marriage? Does it seem like your husband doesn’t love or respect you – much less want to work on your marriage? Are you the only one who wants to learn how to save your marriage? That’s another common complain women have about their partners: they just don’t seem to care enough to say “I love you”, much less build a strong, healthy marriage.

If your husband doesn’t want to do his part in working things out, then you need to give up. You can’t create a healthy marriage all by yourself.

Your intuition (gut feeling) knows what’s best

Why is it crucial to listen to your gut when you’re trying to decide if you should give up or make your marriage work?

Give Up On Marriage

When to Give Up On Your Marriage

Because your gut is picking up on signs and signals that your conscious mind isn’t aware of. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking does an excellent job describing how our subconscious picks up on external cues and clues. That’s how your gut works: it picks up on things in your marriage that you’re not even aware of.

In my reader’s case, I believe she’s picking up on signals from her husband that show who he really is. I don’t think she can trust a man who cheated on her for a year. Her gut is telling her the same thing. But it’s not her insecurities that are telling her she should give up on this marriage. It’s him. Her husband is telling her he’s doesn’t want to try to make it work (he isn’t showing her his phone, and he’s accusing her of being paranoid and insecure). Sometimes you have to listen to your gut about when to give up on a marriage.

Anything good is worth fighting and working for. Marriage is good, but it requires your time, energy, discipline, and commitment. They forgot to put that in the wedding vows, didn’t they?

I welcome your comments on the “should I give up on marriage?” question. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but it may help you to share your experience.

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8 thoughts on “Lost That Loving Feeling? When to Give Up On Your Marriage”

  1. Feeling unloved, disrespected and distrusting of my husband Not because of any one thing just a build up of lots of little things and I am now feeling worn down
    Im trying to follow my gut but I’m getting very mixed feelings and can’t read what it’s telling me. First I feel initial relief and hope that I’m going to end the relationship then my gut wrenches or I begin to feel comfortable around my husband again. I don’t want to waste my time with the wrong person but I also don’t want to throw a marriage away. He knows what I’m feeling.

  2. Husband had an affair with coworker left note on my table purposefully so I would find it then denied he was sleeping with her later on new years he did not come home said he had tobwork late stayed withbmale friend 8 days later I realized note was intimate confronted him and he admitted affair asked him to leave .we had had one marital therapy previous to affair coming oytvwasnt ourctherspist surprised then as marital therapy progresedcand he was to make decision to come back or not I realized he was using affair as exit strategy he had already worked out own issues with his own therapist and spioledcout scripted accounts of previous behaviors of his which he minimized he also talked about marriage in past tense The marital therapist was oblivious to this …he was charming and soft spoken showing little or no emotion …I was sputtering upset had been lied to for over 6 months .and now even marital therapy a sham.Ibwould say some men can be evil.

  3. We’ve been married for 15 years and we have 2 kids together and I have 1 from a previous relationship. My husband has always enjoyed drinking and smoking pot, and I used join him on occasion. Over the years he has struggled with quitting smoking pot. The longest he’s ever gone without smoking it was about 4-5 months, and when he does quit, he suffers from moodiness and depression. So while he’s detoxing from pot, his drinking increases; so much so, a few months ago, he and a friend went to a bar, he drove home drunk, doesn’t remember driving home, nor does he remember the fist fight him and his buddy got into that night. Soon after that incident, the same buddy he fought with, he went to his house for some drinks, promised me he would stay there for the night. I get a phone call at 5am from an ambulance driver telling me about the rollover accident my husband was in. He was ejected from the sunroof as well. Luckily, he ended up with a couple broken ribs and a few lacerations and no drunk driving ticket. Our car ended up totaled and he still has to go to court for failing to report accident. Ever since the car accident, I hate his drinking now more than ever. I told him if he ever drinks and drives again, i will leave with our kids and fight for full custody with him having supervised visitations.

    I know I’m a good wife and mother. He’s a good dad and loves our kids, and a good husband when he’s not self-medicating. He tells me he’s never going to stop drinking and he may stop smoking pot and if I don’t like it, then I should leave. We both work full-time and our finances are a mess right now. Between our marriage being completely unstable and our financial disaster, and even though he will deny it, my husband is not emotionally stable.

    I am actually scared to leave, and the funny thing is, I was an independent single, full-time working mom who had it together. I’m scared of hurting my kids and destroying their family. I’m scared that if I leave, he will get worse. I’m not afraid to be alone, never have been. There is not a single, unbiased person who I can turn to right now. I’m pretty much swimming against a current of angry Rapids.

    So if anyone can chime in with any advice or perception I will really and truly appreciate it.

  4. I’m a man trying to decide if it’s going to work with my husband. All the problems seem exactly the same as heterosexual couples, and then I get to the part about differences between men and women REALLY being the problem. Aside from this not being helpful at all to a gay man, if I’m having the same problems, maybe the problems aren’t about gender, but about people.

  5. He wants to try I don’t. I don’t want to be lied to I’d rather be alone. If he needs to fulfill himself in other ways than me. Then I feel I need to do the same. Maybe it’s time I find a life on my own besides that my marriage isn’t terrible but no trust I have remorse , regret some how he still loves me and take care of me. Idk what to do losing my mind. This is vague I know . Wish I never got married ever in my life. Terrible mistake ever being with anyone.

    1. Oh my gosh I feel exactly the same
      My marriage has left me with anxiety but we have not had any real bad issues like adultry or abuse
      Just feel unfulfilled I don’t know what to do either
      Is it enough to call it a day when nothing really bad had happened ????

  6. Thanks, Jeff! I do appreciate your thoughts. My articles are geared towards women, which is why I’m using the word “husband” instead of spouse. But, I 100% agree that not all men are evil husbands who drive women to want to give up on marriage!

    Whenever I have problems with my husband, I’m more likely to be at fault than he is. I’m more emotional, complicated, and sensitive, and I tend to see problems and criticisms where none exist.

    So yes, I hear you…it’s just that I’m writing for a specific type of woman in a specific type of marriage.

    All good things,

  7. you really should use the word “spouse” not husband when you write about giving up on marriage….

    I am a man and these “evil husband remarks” you make could easily apply to wifes. Your page assumes that women are just innocent victims of men who seem just hell bent on destroying marriage and that is wrong. In fact one thing that will destroy it is to always fault the other and not recognize your own faults or how how have done things to contribute to the problem = this is what your page fosters.

    You make women think its all the mens fault and I am here to tell ya that aint true.

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