When you actually need to get divorced or ditch him: and why it’s not a bad thing

I’ve seen a lot (a lot) of break ups. Here’s when it’s actually over

Madelaine Lucy Hanson
4 min readMar 3, 2023

Is it ever going to get better? That’s the most important thing you have to ask yourself in any long-term commitment. Is he going to come to bed and hold you again? Is he going to send you a lovely text just because he’s thinking about you at work? Is he going to say sorry and try to make amends when he hurts you? If you can’t realistically see that happening: please get out.

Love sometimes ends. And that’s not your fault

Now: conflict is normal in relationships. You’ll never have a marriage or a relationship where you don’t ever argue over who carries the tent, who should have watered the plant, and who is taking up all of the sofa. The real test is whether you can have a squabble, resolve it, and move on, grudge free. That’s compatibility: the ability to get on with someone as your equal, not your doppelganger. For most of us in relationships, we meet someone we like, we give it a go, and when we’ve exhausted what we needed or wanted with that person, we move on when the challenges and irritations outweigh the point of staying. That’s normal. That’s dating. I really, really hope you’ve had at least two relationships before you settle down for good, if only so you know what heartbreak, healing, and falling in love again looks like. And what a good relationship looks like.

But when something just feels sad, lonely, strained, and like a memory quickly turning into a monster, you have to let go. When you know it’s not going to be better when he’s finished with the financial quarter, or the latest development at work, let go. When you know he’s not going to try to spend more time with you when he’s less busy, let go. When you find yourself begging or crying for the bare minimum, you have to admit that it’s over. You really do. No matter what you do, you’re not going to turn around and find a partner who feels the same way they once did. You’ve grown: and so have they. They’ve changed, and you’ve changed. Stuff has happened. Life has got in the way. Maybe you drifted, maybe you just fought a few too many times. Maybe you just aren’t the shy or confident person you were a year ago. That’s actually fine. We imagine that it’s a devastating failure for a relationship to have not worked out: I strongly disagree.

A relationship failing can be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.

It’s okay it’s over: Friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for life

My mother says this a lot and it’s probably the most powerful one liner she comes out with. Some people in your life are meant to be there for a little bit: a lonely winter, a summer fling, that weird year after university, or that time your husband asked for an open marriage. Other people are there for life: they’ll be there no matter what, the rock beneath your feet, there when the heavens open and you feel like everything else has been washed away. And other people still are there for a reason: they teach you something about yourself or about life that makes you stronger, wiser, better, or less naïve.

And sometimes: these ‘bad’ or ‘failed’ relationships ending sets you free to meet the next season, reason, or potential lifelong partner. I know the endorphins are intense for Mr (or Mrs) Wrong, but the pain of missing someone is nothing compared to never knowing what it’s like to be kissed, held, wanted, and loved again. You’d be amazed how quickly you can move on when you get on with life and don’t talk to your ex. The person you fell in love with has gone. Your only reality is your present relationship: all those happy memories of long ago still happened, but it’s over.

I know you’re thinking ‘but I’ll be unable to feel that strongly again’: you will. I fell very intensely in love last year after a long time on my own, but now that’s over too, I’m confident I’ll love again. I’m unbelievably happier now I’ve actually ended it and accepted that it’s over. Love is irrational, fickle, unexplainable and unpredictable. You can love as many times as you encounter it. I don’t dislike my exes: I still talk to a lot of them as friends. But I see what I didn’t see when I met them: their insecurities, their flaws, their sadnesses- some of which I couldn’t understand or heal. Some of which I couldn’t make it work with my own weaknesses and frailties. And that’s okay: you haven’t failed because someone was wrong for you.

You’ve failed by staying in a dead relationship when you know you deserve love, kindness, and enthusiasm.

So please:

If you feel unloved, and know it isn’t coming back: go.

The right man is sitting there dreaming of you and treating you right.



Madelaine Lucy Hanson

27 year old with an awful lot to say about everything. Opinions entirely my own. Usually.