How to know when to end a relationship or get a divorce - KMSP-TV

How to know when to end a relationship or get a divorce

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Ending a relationship or getting a divorce is a very difficult decision, and involves a lot of difficult emotions.

Adrienne C. Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of The Engagement Coach, offers 5 tips for knowing when to end a significant relationship.

For more information on Adrienne's counseling services and free relationship tips, please visit her website at

{It may be time to end your relationship or consider divorce when:}

1. You are no longer getting your needs met

Both partners have to get their needs met if a relationship is going to be successful long term. Certainly there are ebbs and flows to those needs, but overall you should both feel like the other hears your concerns, pays attention to your needs, and cares if you find yourself feeling disadvantaged in the relationship. When partners stop caring or respecting each other's concerns/wants/needs/desires, it can be hard to turn things around without professional help.

2. Your partner is disengaged from the relationship and unwilling to change or work on things

If you partner has just completely removed themselves from your relationship, and is no longer listening to your concerns, no longer participating in making the marriage work, it may be time to think about moving on. You can't make your partner work on the relationship and if you've invested time and effort, and aren't getting any return on your investment, it's likely things won't change.

3. Your goals for the future are completely different (whether you've both changed or just one of you)

Couples have different goals for their future all the time, and that doesn't mean they need to break up or get a divorce. It's the couples who can't support one another's dreams and goals that becomes a point of contention. Especially if one partner pulls a bait and switch! Maybe one of you wants children and the other doesn't, and neither of you are willing to budge. Maybe one of you is ok living in a small apartment making a minimum income, while the other wants a nice home and a better lifestyle. Whatever the differences are, if a couple can't compromise and find a way to support each other's preferences, it's not likely that either will be happy long term in the relationship.

4. There is constant fighting and lack of compromise on all or most issues

Every relationship has conflict, but conflict on a daily basis (or multiple times over the course of a day) is simply not healthy for anyone. If a couple can't compromise on anything, and one or both partners are simply unwilling to concede, there is likely a foundation of anger, hurt, resentment and contempt. This high level of conflict and negativity is so draining and exhausting, and over time can cause serious harm to both a person's physical and emotional health.

5. There is abuse present in the relationship, and it's not getting better or resolved

Abuse comes in many different forms, and it doesn't always have to be severe. Whether the abuse is emotional, physical or sexual, if it's not getting worked on through professional help, it really is important to consider whether or not you want to continue with the relationship.

Note: Each relationship is unique and these points should only be taken as things to consider when making a decision to end a relationship. Of course, professional counseling is always an important step if any of these elements are present in your relationship, to determine if a divorce or break-up is the best decision for you.

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