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How to Know When It's Time for Divorce

by eHow Relationships & Family Editor

When two people say, "I do," they never expect the bliss to end. However, we are all just human, we evolve, our needs change and occasionally life draws a once-loving couple apart. It is often hard to know when the time for divorce has come. Read through these steps to help you come to terms with a decision.

Know that it is time to leave and seek outside help if you are abused--physically or emotionally--or you feel that your overall well-being is at risk due to your partner's behavior. Alcohol and drug abuse; physical, verbal and emotional beatings; gambling addictions and other detrimental problems will only hurt worse as time goes on. If you feel that your partner could one day recuperate, by all means support them, but not in the same house and in the line of fire. At the very least, it is time to admit that separation is the healthiest thing for you.

Consider marriage counseling if your reason for leaving does not involve any form of abuse. Many experts say that if a couple honestly tries to save a marriage with marriage counseling, but they still have serious doubts after a year, they will know at that time that a divorce is probably the best route for both partners.

Ask yourself if you remain in your marriage just for your kids. While sticking it out for the sake of children is a common choice among unhappy couples, the negative energy, the parents' fighting and the general unhappiness of Mom and Dad rub off on your little ones. While many may disagree, if the kids are the only thing keeping you from getting a divorce, be assured that while adjustment is difficult, two happy parents separated is more healthy than two unhappy parents in the home.

Take a close look at yourself, examining your own actions and your personal part in relationship problems. Request that your partner do the same, examining what needs to change and honestly admitting whether or not it is possible. If you both can recognize your own errors yet are unwilling or unable to take the necessary steps to heal your marriage, protect yourself and your partner by letting go.

Check for wounds that won't heal. As part of both of your self-examinations, it is important to look for ways that you have hurt or been hurt that stir emotions that simply cannot be healed. Often cheating, lying, betrayal, negligence, abuse, addiction or even crimes committed can be verbally forgiven while the heart forever continues to feel broken and suspicious. Guilt, anger, resentment and feelings of mistrust may never go away, and harboring them to save a marriage will only make both of you miserable.

Allow yourself to hurt, be afraid, feel depressed and even be lonely, but don't let fear of feeling these emotions be your only reason for staying. Often staying in an unhealthy relationship is comfortable simply because you are accustomed to being on your own, and the outside world seems like a huge, scary place, but the longer you stay in an unhappy relationship, the deeper you will bury yourself. Set yourself free and know that after the storm calms, both you and your partner will be able to find joy, even if it means you go it alone.