Every single relationship has its ups and downs. No one's perfect – even marriage guidance counsellors get divorced sometimes. But it is so difficult to know when to redouble your efforts to save a relationship or whether it is time to bail.
Sometimes a relationship is just going through a rough patch, but when it gets to a stage where there is only rough patch for years and nothing else, it may be time to hit the road.
These signs may help
A flirt forever.
Your partner seems to have commitment problems and there are other women and men vaguely and constantly in the background. What you're dealing with here is a serial Romeo or Delila. Nothing you do is going to change that. Any other person who got married to your partner would have been treated in this manner. Unless you are prepared to live with strings of other romances in the background, pack your bags.
Many marriages have survived one of the partners having a drinking or drugging problem. But if it becomes clear that drinking or drugging is more important to your spouse than you or the family, it is time to get out. I am not referring here to a once-off incident, but to a pattern established over years. When you become aware that your spouse has no real interest in sorting out this problem, it's time to think of the interests of the children and pack your bags.
Charity does not begin at home.
You and your family are always last on the list when it comes to getting attention and assistance. Every charity or hopeless case needing a wailing wall takes up your spouse's time. Now while it is admirable to give of oneself to others, there is a point where it becomes a defence against reality. Yes, the week before the church bazaar will be busy, but I am talking about a long-term pattern here. And a point where giving attention to others becomes passive aggression against the family. Family is most important in the long run and if they consistently get neglected in favour of outsiders, it could be time to bail.
Black and blue.
If someone hits a spouse, the marriage is already over. Packing your bags is a mere formality. The destruction and humiliation that constant abuse brings about is incalculable – also to the children. Being told constantly that you are worthless, useless, fat, stupid etc. can be just as destructive as being assaulted. And no, he/she will not change. You cannot change someone else, however hard you try. When someone treats you in this way, it is undeserved and there is nothing you can do to change the other person's behaviour. Leaving is the only option.
Every marriage goes through rough patches financially. Sudden retrenchments, a business deal that's gone bad, overcapitalisation on a house – the list goes on. This is not what I am talking about. I am referring to the constant financial Big Dipper – the feast and famine syndrome. More famine than feast, usually.
Gambling, constant get-rich-quick schemes, abusing of credit cards and shop accounts, spending of rent and electricity money on things like drink – the ways are endless in which money gets frittered away. And then of course there is the job-hopping. And you live in constant fear of repossessions and disconnections. This is no way to live. A simple, but secure existence is infinitely preferable and better for your nerves. Pack your bags and get some peace of mind. – (Susan Erasmus, Health24)