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How can people better protect themselves when leaving toxic marriages?

On Behalf of | Nov 27, 2023 | Divorce |

Some relationships are easy to recognize as unhealthy. When one individual engages in physical abuse, most people understand that that is unhealthy. Other kinds of abuse and manipulation are more subtle, often go overlooked, or are even doubted by the people experiencing them.

Extramarital affairs, emotional abuse, financial infidelity and a host of other behaviors can lead to a toxic dynamic in modern New Hampshire marriages and intimate partnerships. A person who recognizes they are experiencing any kind of abusive behavior and is aware that their relationship has become hopelessly toxic may want to divorce or otherwise separate from the relationship. However, doing so can involve certain risks, and in some cases, it can be dangerous to extricate oneself from an unhealthy relationship. Keeping the following considerations in mind can help an individual who wants to leave to do so with a greater measure of safely than they otherwise might.

Gather evidence early

From screenshots of social media postings, downloads of threatening text messages and phone records, hostile email strings, and financial records proving that someone has misused marital resources, or engaged in an affair, there is a wide range of documentary and image evidence that people should collect and save as they prepare for separation or divorce. Additionally, they will need information about their relationship and financial circumstances. Tax returns, bank statements and other financial records can often be difficult to obtain after someone announces their intention to separate or divorce. Collecting these records before declaring that one is pursuing a separation or divorce is almost always beneficial.

Connect with professional resources

There are several different types of professionals who can help a person who is planning on exiting a toxic marriage or other relationship. First and foremost, legal assistance is likely necessary. A family law attorney can help prepare a person’s exit so that their personal safety, as well as their property rights, are better protected by the time they move forward with a separation or divorce. An experienced family law attorney can provide an understanding of what to expect throughout the process, including short-term and long-term consequences. Additionally, people who are struggling in a toxic relationship frequently need mental health advice and support from professionals who can help them sort through their emotions to gain mental clarity, and develop effective strategies for moving away from a toxic relationship dynamic. Seeing a one-on-one counselor can be highly beneficial, even if someone has already attempted unsuccessful couples counseling with their spouse or partner. In some cases, other professionals, like forensic accountants, may be an important part of the preparation process in situations where unraveling complex financial relationships are needed.

Plan and seek support discreetly

Oftentimes, people who are trying to make a toxic relationship work will withdraw from their healthier relationships out of a sense of shame or embarrassment. Sometimes, people in a toxic relationship have a spouse or partner who is actively isolating them from their friends and family. A person struggling in a toxic relationship usually experiences a steady increase in their stress levels, which over time, makes coping increasingly more difficult. Fortunately, there are ways to break free from these harmful circumstances. Reconnecting with healthy, well-adjusted friends and family is an excellent first step in weathering the instability that is associated with being in an unhealthy relationship. Getting the professional help needed, and seeking the friends and family support needed to help facilitate an exit from an abusive or toxic marriage or other relationship is often the best path forward. And it is best pursued discreetly to help prevent the exiting process from being another source of distress.

Careful advance planning for an exit from a toxic marriage or other relationship can increase someone’s safety, and improve their chances of successfully moving to a happier, healthier life.