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Every couple fights. Most of the time these fights don't last too long, and you get back to a happy relationship soon enough. But sometimes these fights last longer. A lot longer. It can last for so long that it even seems like you fight more than you actually get along.
When these bad times happen in your marriage, it's easy to question whether you made the right choice in marrying your spouse or not. And you question whether you should stay together or breakup. After all, you've been fighting for a long time and you have the right to be happy. But then again, maybe you can hold out a little longer. After all, your spouse might change soon and then you won't have to go through all the hassle and heartache of a divorce.
If only there were some telltale way for you to know if your relationship is in real trouble or whether these are just normal ups and downs every couple goes through. If only there was some way to help you know when enough is enough and there are poor chances of salvaging your relationship. Below are 4 signs that will help you do just that.
1) Is there abuse or neglect?
In my experience as a marriage counselor, when there is any kind of abuse in a relationship, it is one of the most hurtful and most difficult things to repair in marriage. If your spouse is continually abusive (either verbally or physically) it violates so many rules of a relationship that it makes it really difficult to repair — especially without outside help.
Cases where there is domestic violence are some of my toughest cases as a therapist. Unfortunately, I can't say there's a high success rate. The success statistics become even worse if the batterer is not willing to take responsibility for the abuse and get help for themselves. In cases of violence or abuse, it may be time to say enough is enough so you can move on to a healthier relationship.
2) Are you or your partner withdrawing from the relationship?
After so long of fighting it's common to become calloused. After all, you don't want to try and make amends just to have the same fight happen again in a couple weeks. So you don't. In fact, you don't say much at all. You even try to avoid your spouse so you don't talk. And when he tries to talk to you, you keep it short and sweet and to the point.
Famous researcher John Gottman of the University of Washington identified withdrawal as one of the most serious "4 Horsemen of The Apocalypse" in marriage. When withdrawal happens, one or both spouses begins checking out and the success rate for repair becomes lower and lower.
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