Marriage is a lifetime commitment for some couples. You work every day to make your marriage work through the best and worst times of your life. However, some marriages aren’t meant for a lifetime – no matter how much work you put into them.

Leaving a marriage is intimidating for anyone, but it’s especially challenging in a long-term relationship that lasted decades. Luckily, there are ways to make it easier for you to leave and start a new future based on your needs and priorities.

Five tips to end your marriage

Before you take any action, make sure you are making the right choice for you. Analyze why you are ready to leave and how this will help you in the future. Once you make a final decision to leave your partner:

  • Keep your message clear – Sometimes, divorce is a surprise hit to a spouse. In these cases, make sure you have a clear explanation of why you want to leave and give a concise reason to your partner. Vague reasons will only make the discussion harder for both parties.
  • Establish the next steps – After discussing your feelings, make sure to establish the next steps in the process, whether that’s a divorce or a separation. You don’t want to leave room for the hope of a reunion if there isn’t any.
  • Control communication – While you work through a separation, try to control communication, so no one feels annoyed, overwhelmed or neglected. You have to find a communication policy that works for you but try to establish certain times they can call or text you during the day.
  • Stay strong yet compassionate – Remember that you were with this person for a reason, and you need to acknowledge the pain they are going through. By acting empathetic, you are taking responsibility for your actions while staying true to your message.
  • Consider counseling – Make sure to take time for yourself to understand your emotions through this traumatic experience. You may want to visit a counselor to check in on yourself and make sure you know the best course of action for you.

Ending a marriage is messy and difficult. It’s like being on an emotional roller coaster with a blindfold. You need to make sure you are doing what’s best for you and your future, because everyone deserves to live the life they want.