Marriage is a layered and complex relationship; one of the most intimate bonds we have in our knowledge of the human experience.

Marriage signifies a deep and intentional connection, and it’s not to be entered into lightly, nor should it be exited out of after the first fight. You are the one who knows when to give up on your marriage; not books our outside perspectives.

Let these suggestions help you frame the issues you may be having, and inform your future actions, be it to resolve those concerns, separate, or ultimately pursue divorce.

1. You Feel Unsafe

This is an immediate red flag that really should give anyone considerable pause. Marriage is supposed to be supportive and kind, but there are a number of reasons one might feel unsafe.

You could have a partner who is fueled by jealousy and rage, bringing that energy into your interactions, or perhaps a partner who exhibits strong possessive behaviors.

It should be noted that commitment and monogamy have healthy boundaries, whereas possession and jealousy do not.

If you are wondering if your marriage or relationship has traits of abuse, this might be a good place to begin.

A healthy, communicative and open relationship is open welcoming of the other party, but respects each spouse’s autonomy. It’s the difference between sharing with joy, and demanding from fear.

If affection, care, respect and sex are being demanded and not given freely, there could be some serious signs of danger.

It should go without saying, but abuse and harm is absolutely a reason to end a marriage. Do not allow someone to hurt you repeatedly, perpetually promising that it won’t happen again.

You do not deserve a relationship where abuse is a part of the equation, and there is life on the other side of this situation.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a number of resources if you are experiencing abuse, or would like to speak with an expert about your situation.

2. There is No More Kindness

Kindness offers smiles and hugs and gentle words, but a lack of kindness can be so much more than that.

This is not a run of the mill, “lack of spark,” or less affectionate time in a relationship, but truly fundamental breakdowns in the ability to love and be kind to each other.

This might look like simple conversations dissolving into bickering or fighting. A lack of agreement or respect, consistent passive aggressive behavior, or general dislike.

These behaviors do not have to be abusive to justify taking time apart from the relationship, either to rediscover your kindness, love and passion for one another, or to ultimately go in different directions.

3. You Want Different Life Paths

Humans spend their whole lives adapting and changing. We are driven to grow and find meaning, and sometimes we are met at a crossroads between two worlds. This could be promising or important careers pulling each other apart, a change in desires, or even a deeper understanding of sexuality.

Ending an otherwise healthy relationship does not require negative emotions or experiences, in order for the relationship to reach a natural conclusion.

We are culturally hardwired to assume that if something does not last for whatever reason, it was not good or profitable. Similarly, we are conditioned to believe that wanting different dreams or lives means that one partner will always have to sacrifice.

This is obviously advice to take with discretion and time, but it is worth respecting each individual partner as half of the relationship, and learning to love each other through the journey of ending a formalized marriage. Love does not have to be lost in order to part ways.

4. You Have Been Faced with Fundamental Disagreement

Values might be shared at the beginning of a relationship, but they might not always stay the same. There could also be understood expectations that are no longer the same, after some time.

There could be a strong desire to have children, which may not be possible, or desired any longer. There could be any number of expectations which push previously understood truths to the breaking point.

These disagreements are often larger than an opinion; fundamental beliefs are not generally up for compromise. This is an optimal situation for a therapist, who can help you and your spouse find ways to seek common ground, or acknowledge when there might not be a middle area to stand upon.

5. Trust Has Been Broken

When trust has been broken, the process of rebuilding can take extensive time and a lot of care. Broken trust often happens through infidelity, deceit, or intentional misrepresentation.

One might have had an affair, or multiple affairs, lied about whereabouts, life situations, or family backgrounds, as well as mishandled money, or deliberate deception when entering into the marriage.

These situations could be motivated by malice or pure fear, each impacting the ultimate result; one might have lied for fear of judgment or consequence, or one might have lied because they didn’t want to be discovered or held accountable.

Broken trust will ultimately lead to a thousand questions, and countless decisions to be made. Is the situation appropriate to grow from, or should you part ways?

What are the deeper motivating factors which led you to where you are today? There are generally two sides to every story, though in most circumstances, one partner should not be held responsible for the other’s deceit.

Be mindful of manipulative tactics which can turn an affair into blame about a lack of sex or affection.

Clear, intentional and thoughtful communication should always be the first course of action when dealing with conflict.

Ultimately, your marriage is unique, because there are no two people in the world who are exactly like you two. If you are at a bypass, looking for solid answers or direction, the truth is that most situations are not straightforward and simple.

You are worth careful consideration and intentional thought, regarding the future of your marriage. A therapist or counselor can be an invaluable resource when it comes to helping you make that ultimate decision, and we sincerely wish you the best when weighing those choices.

Author's Bio: 

C Mellie Smith specializes in providing her readers with tools and resources to help them overcome the pain and uncertainty when one partner cheats. Don't end the most important relationship you have ever had without putting up a fight. Get the help you need by to feel secure again. Visit: