Why splitting up is so hard

splitting up

Almost no one gets divorced casually. Splitting up requires courage. Fransica Kramer had to ponder it carefully for a long time before she new it was time to move on.

When is a relationship so bad that divorce becomes the only option? Of course it’s different for everybody, but considering the enormous impact it has on all parties, it’s a good idea to take your time before making this decision. One thing that generally doesn’t work out well is ending your relationship over an infatuation with another person. Of course, falling in love with someone can turn you upside down and you feel like this is it, this is the person I’ve been waiting for all my life.

But falling in love also gives you a case of temporary insanity. Things happen in the brain that hamper your ability to think clearly. In his book Liefde (‘Love’), brain expert Mark Mieras from the Netherlands describes what happens in an infatuated brain. As with an addiction to alcohol or cocaine, the reward center is activated and the dopamine system goes into overdrive. All these chemical processes cause a narrowing of your perspective so that you not only don’t see any negative qualities in the person you’re in love with, but you also can’t think through the consequences of such a big decision. You should actually wait at least two years before you take big steps that have irreversible consequences, because by then most of those feelings will have passed.


But hey, tell that to somebody who’s head-over-heels in love. So what should you do? American couples therapist Mira Kirshenbaum has written a guide for doubters: Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay is the title and it includes questions that can help you to find the right direction. One of her tips is to think about what happens during the vacations with your partner. Are things good between you, does love blossom again?

If so, then the problems are most likely caused by something that’s going on at home, like having too little time for each other, too much work stress or too many tasks, or an unsatisfactory division of chores. In that case, therapy is useful. You could then think about your circumstances together, study how to change them in your favor, and give your marriage a chance again.

  • You can read the full story ‘Why splitting up is so hard’ in Issue 25.

Text Francisca Kramer Illustration Getty Images