Can a marriage be saved if someone wants out?

-- Question for John --

Is there any way that my marriage can be saved when he wants out?

-- Answer from John --

The general answer is that it’s doubtful. But cases can vary.

You may have hope if: (1) the partner who wants out has some grievance or unmet needs that they still might see could be fulfilled in the relationship, if the other would change; (2) the partner who wants out still has underlying love for the other, even though it may be hard to feel right now; (3) the partner who wants out is willing to commit to counseling and commit themselves to personal growth; (4) the other partner is also willing to change the way they act and behave.

Generally, marriages fall apart because one or the other partner is unwilling to undergo personal growth, or because the challenges seem too insurmountable. Other common reasons are that the spark is long long gone, perhaps buried beneath years of not paying attention to the relationship, or years of negative judgments, resentments and unfulfilled needs.

Additionally, there are three deal-breaker scenarios that are often considered end-of-the-road: (1) infidelity or pursuit of non-monogamy (if this is not mutually agreed upon); (2) physical or emotional abuse; (3) drug or substance addiction (if this is not mutual).