Thank you ladies with sharing. I really felt supported reading your words and experiences. A week ago I broke up with my boyfriend of 6 months. He was very grouchy and negative most of the time. Sometimes it was directed at me, sometimes not. Initially I attributed it to his life circumstance….losing his job, reorganizing his life. I now think that is how he relates to his environment and I don’t think he will ever change. He is a Marine and maybe his exposure to that culture and the lifestyle contributed to his incompatible behavior and attitude. I recognized that continuing down that road with him would have been unhealthy for me. It already was. I tried in so many ways to support his struggle and just lost the interest in continuing. Despite my deep care for him, our dynamic became unbearable. The issues became undeniable when he was broke with nowhere to go and he started staying at my house, despite me expressing kindly that I didn’t want that because living together means more when it is intentional about a vision of relationship and less about being convenient. I couldn’t turn my back and by moving him in, we were forced into facing relationship issues sooner than we were ready. We totally broke what we had and it ended in a way I truly regret. BIG emotion and I kicked him out, which was damaging to him and damaging to me. I do not regret ending it, but I do regret ending it in such an abrupt and destructive way. I think my big message here is despite the pain that a partner’s moods cause, end it in a way that is respectful to both. We both deserve to be available for something more compatible ahead and a destructive ending makes the reinvention difficult.

Sliding Into Marriage. Couples often have low levels of commitment and end up sliding into marriage instead of making a very conscious and clear decision to be committed to their future spouse. This frequently happens when couples live together, but aren’t officially married yet. The issue is that when this “sliding” occurs, there is less initial commitment and willingness to stick it out when things get tough, which is essential to any marriage. In other words, if you slide into your marriage you may be more likely to slide right on out. A low commitment level is a warning sign your marriage is over (or that it never really began).

As the old saying goes, labels are for soup cans. That's true, but if you started a relationship with the goal of becoming a couple, including the dreaded labels like "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" or "wife" or "husband," and communicated that much from the start, then your significant other should be ready to at least discuss why or why not they want to be labeled as such.


Married almost 11 years, the entire marriage has been rocky, in and out of counseling. Brady bunch family, married into her and her 16yo daughter with my 4yo daughter, had a daughter together. Was told early on I have no say with her daughter, daughter is grown now and married. Was told frequently I suck as a husband, father etc and was routinely threatened with divorce when I raised any issues over the years. I have often thought of leaving (escaping) but haven’t because I don’t want to hurt kids or then I have thoughts of did I try hard enough, do everything I can. Btw she was diagnosed before she met me with anxiety and depression. I am a neat and organized man raised by my mother and grandmother – only child – raised the old fashioned way – had a step father who was nice at times but more times than not was an ass to my mom. As for my marriage, the threat of divorce has been there for duration, also my wife has diagnosed me over the years with bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, narcissism, passive aggressive and several other ailments, all of which I’ve researched to understand if there was any evidence of that fact. I’ve sought the help of counselors to gain clarity, gone to church, in couples therapy right now using Gottman tools to help and nothing seems to help. When we argue she ends up winning or dominating the conversation, when conversation gets tough and she doesn’t like what she is hearing, she says I’m reaching my limit and then says we need a pause and will pick this up later, then it’s awkward silence and avoiding until we address it again or sometimes we just drop it. We spend much of our non working hours out pursuing personal interests and occasionally join up for kids sports events. She dominates the relationship with our daughter we had together, I’m pretty much cut out of parenting her and only allowed freedom of parenting of my daughter who is now 16. Obviously I’m looking for answers and trying to figure out what to do. I want to be happy and have peace in my life – I’m tired of chasing my tail around in circles. I’m a good honest caring man who loves and puts his family first. Cleans the house, folds laundry, cooks dinner, makes kids events, works 50 hours a week and trying to hang on to this marriage for self, wife, kids. Insight welcome.

But that's not your best bet: "Staying in a seriously unhappy marriage can have long-term effects on our mental and emotional health," says Carrie Cole, a couples therapist and Master Certified Gottman Therapist by the Gottman Institute. Research shows that people in bad marriages usually have low self-esteem, struggle with anxiety and depression, and have a higher rate of illness than those who don't. People feel sad and grieve when they decide to let go — but people who divorce do recover emotionally, and Cole says most find new relationships. In fact, "one statistic reported that 85 percent of those who divorce remarry within five years," she says.
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