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When should you divorce your partner? Is divorce the solution?


When Do You Know It’s Time to Divorce?

In this article, you will see what it takes to avoid divorce with a divorce coach.

You will learn about some of the consequences of separation and the benefits of staying together and resolving your issues.

We will also cover the psychological defense mechanisms with strategies and habits in daily life.

If you are in a complicated and painful relationship without love, I have some suggestions on how to make your relationship work optimally again.

There will also be references to how to deal with infidelity and affairs.

Additionally, you will learn about attachment styles and challenges with intimacy.


Considering divorce is a serious decision that requires thorough reflection and consideration.

No one enters a relationship with the wish for it to end painfully at some point. Especially not if children are involved.

At the same time, it can also be very expensive to separate:
Two housing expenses instead of one.
Purchasing new furniture and another vehicle.
Sharing joint purchases.
Potentially high attorney fees.
Experience shows that a divorce typically costs over 100K within the first six months.

Therefore, in many respects, it is a good idea to thoroughly understand what can prevent a divorce.

Click here for an ultra-short description of couples coaching and what it can do for you.

Defense Mechanisms

If problems become too big, we have three basic defense mechanisms: Fight, flight, or freeze.

This is also excellent if you are threatened for your life, primarily physically.

When we feel attacked, criticized, or blamed by our partner, we might use the three mentioned types of defense mechanisms.
Additionally, there are many other more or less (in)appropriate psychological defense mechanisms, such as denial, repression, devaluation, projection, rejection, suppression, generalization, and many more.

communicationBut in a relationship, it’s about being able to communicate with each other so you can understand each other in a way that makes sense.
Not only sense for the sender but for both parties.

It is often better to have more strings to play on when Life calls you to dance.
Especially good habits and appropriate reactions that can solve problems and give us a better life.

What if both of you had better strategies and habits so you could much more easily fulfill your desires and meet your needs?

You can learn better communication strategies and gain a greater understanding of your differences relatively quickly and easily in couples coaching.

Infidelity and Affairs

If you experience affairs and infidelity on some level, it is often a symptom of something deeper that is wrong between you.

Typically, the man thinks it’s terrible if the woman has slept with another man.

And the woman thinks it’s awful if the man has confided in another woman.

giftsThis stems from the primitive brain, where the woman was supposed to pass on the man’s genes through children, and the man was the guarantee for the woman’s safety. If he became interested in something else, he was gone, and she was left to the wild animals. That is, in prehistoric times.

But even if an emotional or physical affair occurs in modern relationships, it does not have to be the end of the relationship – if you are willing to work on the underlying causes that make something else more interesting than your partner.
If you do not address the causes, you risk that the behavior that caused the distraction may continue in the new relationship(s).

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Signs that you might need to consider divorce:

Sometimes certain warning signs may indicate that it’s time to consider divorce. These signs can include:

  • Constant conflicts and inability to find solutions to problems
  • Emotional distance and lack of intimacy between partners
  • Repeated infidelities or breaches of trust that cannot be overcome
  • Divergent life goals and values that are no longer compatible
  • Lack of willingness or ability to work on the relationship and solve problems together

The decision to divorce is deeply personal and depends on individual circumstances and feelings.

But what do you do when the relationship isn’t working? When is enough, enough?

If your partner often

  • snaps at you
  • openly disdains you
  • refuses to touch you
  • won’t go to bed with you
  • speaks poorly of you to others
  • regularly threatens divorce
  • or rejects any form of couples therapy or individual therapy

it may be because your partner is unable or unwilling to work on themselves and their own beliefs and projections. Often, it’s a sign of fear of losing control. Your partner likely has low self-esteem. Either it has always been this way, or it has become this way in your relationship. The mechanisms that created this (which you both have created) must be examined and worked on. You must take your own share of the responsibility for how things have gotten so bad.

If your partner has low self-esteem (and high self-confidence), there is a high probability that your partner will claim that everything that is wrong is your fault (and wants a divorce). If you or your partner believes that all difficulties are the other’s fault, it is a selfish attitude and an immature, childish behavior.

Maybe you have been with a partner for many years who does not want the relationship but wants a divorce. You can feel that it is gradually affecting both you, the relationship, and the children. Then it is time to make more drastic choices and actions. But wait a bit with the escape hatch of divorce.


argumentA divorce can have other and perhaps significantly greater consequences than if you stay together and solve the problems.
Especially for the sake of the children.

You must be able to express yourself clearly and precisely, and you must be able to prioritize your partner above everything and everyone else – just as you naturally wish to be prioritized.

To solve problems, you must be able to understand and be understood.
For this, it requires that you can communicate properly with each other. Not just exchange words and opinions, but understand each other, so it makes sense for both parties.
This requires secure, fixed agreed communication frameworks and strategies for it to be possible.

Let me emphasize that in a good relationship, you don’t need to agree to have a good time together.
But you must be able to understand why your partner does and says what your partner does and says.
With understanding comes a tolerance that “softens the edges.”
EVERYONE has the best intentions.
But sometimes behavior is not so appropriate in a larger context.
Especially if you feel hurt, ignored, stepped on, attacked, criticized, blamed, or that your boundaries have been crossed.


One of my acquaintances got divorced after many years of marriage. They had two children together, and the relationship had been struggling for several years.
I asked her what they had done to fix the relationship and make it better.
She replied that they had done EVERYTHING possible.
Nothing was left untried, she said.
Then I asked her if they had also been to couples therapy, but to that, she replied that it was probably the only thing they had not tried.
But other than that, they had tried EVERYTHING else, and since it didn’t work, they had to get divorced, she said.

But as I could see, it affected both the children, the finances, the jobs, and the social relations.

I chose not to go deeper into that conversation, as it was ultimately up to them.
They both listened more to their feelings than to rational arguments, so I did not engage in any discussion.

But the attitude I witnessed is akin to searching for lost keys everywhere.
You search and search.
Preferably under the lamp where there is light.
But the keys remain lost.
However, the only place you haven’t looked is where they were dropped!

You always find the lost item in the last place you look.
For when you have found it, you no longer need to look…..

Are you living in a complicated and painful relationship without love?

Normally, I recommend that you try all options over an extended period before considering the last resort: Divorce!
em>Remember that the sum of problems is always the same. If you get divorced because your

partner is unbearable, some problems will disappear, while others will inevitably appear. Especially if you have children together.

Regardless of what you choose, the wisest thing is to handle the problems where they are, so they do not reappear in new forms.
This applies whether you are dissatisfied with your job and quit, or dissatisfied with your car and buy another, or dissatisfied with your partner and find a new one.
If you continue to use the same strategies and rituals and communication tools, you will most likely continue to get the same problems again and again and again.

Many men are with good reason not at all interested in going to couples therapy with their wife/girlfriend!

Read here about the reason, as the masculine and the feminine approach are two very different directions in couples therapy and coaching.

Click also here to read more about my systematic working methods with a 5-point plan for a potential collaboration to improve your relationship.

Role Models for the Children

divorceYou and your partner are role models for your children.
If you are not partners in a loving relationship, but merely living together as a kind of cohabitation, that is not enough to be a good role model.

And it’s certainly not good if you can’t agree and are constantly fighting.

Where do children learn about relationships?
Is it a subject in the school curriculum?
Or is it by seeing the way adults live together?

Regardless of whether the adults are the child’s biological parents or stepparents, children copy the behavior and attitudes of the adults.
So, how do you want your child’s future relationships to unfold?
The way you and your partner talk to each other (or don’t talk…) will be copied by your child in their future relationships.

Children in dysfunctional relationships can also develop symptoms of various kinds, such as eating disorders, night terrors, withdrawal, bullying at school, obesity, unchecked cell growth – or worse.


If it’s always you who raises the white flag and reaches out, but your hand is never taken, it’s time for changes in the relationship. You may have very different attachment styles.

If it’s always you who gives your partner a hug, and your partner refuses to touch you, refuses to go to bed with you, refuses to look you in the eye, and obviously or secretly disgusts you, I can reveal that the children can feel it long before you can.
Very young babies can only feel.
In the fetal state, and when they are very small, they cannot interpret visual impressions or distinguish sounds.
They can’t understand anything, but they can feel what their parents feel and are.

Divorce and children in the relationshipAfter my daughter was a month and a half old, she slept through the night.
(When I say that, some people tell me that I must never have tried to have children….
But when she was about six months old and, without any apparent reason, was restless for a couple of nights in a row, my wife and I asked ourselves if we had a conflict brewing.
And it turned out to be true. Our daughter could feel it before we could.
When we resolved the conflict, she calmed down again.

The Children’s Pain

So children sense trouble long before you do.
If you have a complicated and painful relationship, the children have noticed it long ago.
It certainly affects them in a negative direction, both emotionally, physically, and health-wise.
It can manifest in eating problems, sibling issues, school problems, sleep problems, and similar issues.

Children are, on an existential level, deeply dependent on their parents getting along.
Many thousands of years ago, if adults couldn’t function together, there was a risk of being eaten by wild animals.

I often experience that when people come to me for couples coaching or divorce coaching, one of the first visible signs of improvement is that the children begin to relax.
The good results can show up in just a few days.

Divorce as a Last Resort. When Should You Divorce?

divorceMaybe you have tried “all” options:

  • a vacation, a new conservatory, cosmetic surgery, another child, and similar symptom treatments?
  • books and lectures?
  • courses and workshops?
  • individual therapy (you can’t see your own inappropriate beliefs and habits, but you can get help to identify and work on them)?
  • couples coaching and therapy with one or two sessions?
  • couples coaching and therapy in a whole process lasting several months?
  • …or something entirely different?

If all avenues have been tried without a positive result, divorce may be the last resort.

If one party has given up or constantly sabotages and undermines the relationship, it’s time to make a dramatic change – not least for the children’s sake.

It helps no one to wear each other out.
But in reality, it should only be a very small percentage of all relationships that go so far as to need a divorce.

That the divorce rate has been around 40% for years is entirely unreasonable and actually unnecessary.
If only people knew how to communicate with each other so that they understood each other, and it made sense to both parties, many problems could be solved.
You don’t have to agree to have a good relationship, but you must be able to understand each other.

Pain and Frustration

All too often I have heard statements like:

When is divorce the right thing?
When do you know you should divorce?
When should you get a divorce?
When do you know you should leave each other?
When should you get divorced?
When should you leave each other?
I want to divorce my wife
My wife wants a divorce
My husband wants a divorce
My husband doesn’t want a divorce
I want a divorce but my husband doesn’t
When is it time to leave each other?
When should you stop a relationship?
I want to divorce my husband
Help, my husband wants a divorce
Should we leave each other?
How do you know if you should divorce?
When should you leave a relationship?
Should I leave my husband?
I’m considering divorce
Is there such a thing as a good divorce?

I help people with their uncertainty, confusion, and fear of the future.

The Sum of Problems

The only guaranteed way to reduce the sum of problems is to work on your own feelings, attitudes, and beliefs.

If you have inappropriate behavior or destructive beliefs and habits, it will reflect in your relationship.
Your partner mirrors you, for example, by being “impossible” or absent or other unpleasant behaviors.

If you don’t work on the bad habits yourself but just replace your partner with a new one, the likelihood of repeating your pattern is very high.
Therefore, the risk that you will again face the same problems in a few years is relatively high.
This is at least my practical experience – and I have had more than 400 couples through my clinic in the last 10 years, where I have specialized in couples coaching.

Watch the video that explains why the sum of problems is always the same

The Solution to the Problems

It is probably a good idea to work on your attitudes and behavior right where you are in life right now.

There are many different types of couples coaching and therapy.
Some therapists work mostly with feelings, while others are more systematic and methodical with concrete communication tools and strategies.
I myself clearly belong to the latter with couples coaching,
but if appropriate, we can easily also go deep with couples therapy, which is more about the background of your issues and what you can do about it.

Couples coach Mikael Hoffmann

Basically, I don’t care if you stay together or not….
I will not interfere in that.
That is entirely up to you (after a sensible rationalization, and not just because it FEELS that way).

I cannot solve your problems.
But I can help you to become able to solve your own problems – and I am quite good at that!

So, whether you choose to stay together or not, it would probably be a good idea to learn the “Traffic Rules of Relationships” so you can have a good and loving relationship with a partner in life.
Whether it’s together, alone, or with a new partner, it doesn’t really matter.

It’s About YOU

You also risk that your partner might suddenly die.
With that sentence, I want to illustrate that it is actually primarily about YOU.
In that case, you will still have to create a relationship later in life based on your values, attitudes, and your behavior.
If you are not satisfied with what you have, you must either accept it or change it. That is, change it fundamentally.
If you keep doing the same thing you have always done, you will probably keep getting the same thing you have always gotten.

If your beliefs are inappropriate, it can be difficult to attract a good partner and keep them in a wonderful relationship for the rest of your lives.
It is not so hard to attract a NEW partner.
I am talking here about a GOOD partner.


So, if you want to HAVE something different from what you have had until now, you will probably have to DO something different from what you have done so far.
And this DIFFERENT is either unknown, difficult, unpleasant, unnatural, artificial, strange, or similar.
For if it had been known and easy and “normal”, you would probably have done it long ago…

If you have children together, it will generally be much easier in the long run to solve the problems together with your children’s other parent.
If there is too much “my children and your children and our children,” it can get complicated and difficult.

The partner you have chosen to be with is the partner you have chosen to have your problems with.

Achieving lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey towards what we ourselves find valuable.
Happiness is not about reaching the top of the mountain, or standing still in the moment, or wandering aimlessly around the mountain.
Happiness is instead the very experience of climbing towards the top of the mountain.
For example, feeling the sweat and muscle aches, and enjoying the view along the way.

Success Rate

My success rate with couples in my clinic is around 80%.
This means that the vast majority of couples who choose me as their couples coach succeed in their relationship – no matter how bad it was beforehand.
I focus a lot on your strengths together, the fun, your motivation for a positive change, the constructive and the forward-looking. Not so much on the problems and the past.

Moreover, the success rate is 100% for the couples who have followed my advice and done their homework between sessions.

It should also be mentioned that I only start a collaboration with couples whom I have already spoken to over the phone.
We need to get to know each other first and see if the chemistry is right.
This is probably the reason why I am so successful in what I do and have a trail of satisfied clients behind me.

Understanding and Meaning

To avoid divorce, understanding must be created through communication so that it makes sense – for both parties.

Next, trust, security, respect for each other, and forgiveness for what needs to be forgiven must be rebuilt.

These areas are exactly what a couples therapist helps with.
For if it had been known, easy, and simple, you would probably have done it yourself long ago. Wouldn’t you?

One of the most popular among my clients is The Cave & the Wishing Well.

Reflective Questions

Here are some questions to consider when thinking about divorcing your partner:

  • Are you happy in your marriage, or do you feel stuck and dissatisfied?
  • Are there possibilities to solve the problems you are facing, or do you feel that the relationship is insurmountable?
  • How will the divorce affect both of you emotionally, financially, and socially?
  • How will it affect your children? What will they learn about conflict management? Are you good role models for the children?
  • Have you tried couples coaching, couples therapy, or other resources to save the relationship, and it still hasn’t worked?

Resorting to divorce is an emotional and complex process that requires careful consideration and support.
Whether you are looking for signs that you should divorce, seeking guidance on how to navigate through a divorce, or want to make the relationship work again, it is important to remember that you are not alone.
There are plenty of resources and support available to help you make the best decision for yourself and your future.

Feel free to contact me for a non-binding conversation
+45 21 79 18 50

Mikael Hoffmann
Couples Coach