'I left my husband of 18 years. I felt unloved': Why some marriages can't be saved while others can

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  • Mandy Abrams* shares with us that she finally left an unhealthy marriage of 18 years after staying for the sake of her kids.
  • Relationship therapist and founder of Couples Help Louis Venter says marriage counselling is needed whenever appropriate.
  • For marriage counselling to work, each partner needs to be willing, honest and prepared to listen.

Marriage counselling is an idea tossed around when the love boat faces unprecedented storms. While some marriages can be saved, reconciled or healed, some unfortunately drown. 

Mandy Abrams* shared with us that she finally left an unhealthy marriage of 18 years.

"I stayed with a hope that things would work out and be the way it was when we met. Instead, he hated me for persevering through his gaslighting, silent treatment, ignoring me, not appreciating me and not involving me in anything," Mandy said. 

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It has been months since she left a marriage where she was made to feel like she was difficult to love. Those close to her are still in disbelief that she honoured herself and chose to reclaim her life. 

"I am on my road to healing and reclaiming what I lost in the process of loving a man who never saw my good side and only enjoyed proving my flaws, my imperfections, my wrongs and my weaknesses," she shared. 

Mandy has forgiven her ex-husband, whom she thought she could stay with for the sake of her four children.

"They are the reason why I left. I couldn't raise my children in such a cold and abusive environment," she said.

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Though some marriages can be saved, others can't such as in Mandy's case.

However, if you are having marriage problems, it's advisable to seek counselling as soon as possible, bearing in mind that both partners have to commit to the process.

Relationship therapist and founder of Couples Help Louis Venter says marriage counselling is needed whenever appropriate.

This means even when there is no confrontation or a problem it is normal to attend counselling sessions as a means of emotionally "working things out" and strengthening a good relationship.

Most common signs relationships require counselling: 

  • A tired, almost bored, feeling the relationship has run its course.
  • A sharp decline in communication or willingness to talk.
  • Dialogue that quickly turns heated or angry.
  • A fear of open, honest discussion.
  • Viewing a partner as an obstacle or the "antagonist".
  • No honesty.
  • No intimacy.
  • Hoping the partner will change.
  • Staying together due to guilt only (common in relationships with children).

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Louis said for marriage counselling to work, each partner needs to do the following: go early, be willing and be prepared to listen, be honest for as long as needed.

Both partners must be on the same page. If one partner has already given up, dragging them to a therapy session is unlikely to work.

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