If You Think Your Marriage Is Over, Give It One More Year

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About Mort Fertel

Mort Fertel is a world authority on the psychology of relationships. He has been featured as an expert on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and Fox television networks, as well as dozens of publications including Glamour Magazine and Family Circle, to discuss his Marriage Fitness System. His program is endorsed by a wide variety of mental-health professionals, and he has helped save thousands of marriages. Fertel graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, was the CEO of an international nonprofit organization, and is a former marathon runner. He lives with his wife and five children (including triplets!) in Baltimore, MD.


  1. Excellent, Mort! Thanks.

    Love this:
    “You’re not doing it for this marriage,” I explained. “You’re doing it for the benefit of your next one.”

    Which means you’re doing it to address one of the CORE REASONS your marriage is in trouble: You.

    My marriage didn’t survive after hitting rock bottom, but healing myself was not about getting rid of my wife. It was about figuring out and fixing the parts of me that helped lead to her departure. Oh what a ride it is!

  2. Good article Mort. I think we’re too quick to walk away from things these days. And just as quick to bandaid the blow with someone new while not actually dealing with the reasons why things went pearshaped in the last relationship.

    Of course the flip side are people who hang on for dear life years longer than they should. (Been there!)

  3. Very good advice but when that year is over and she is still saying “soon” and “it’s medical” but refusing to go to the doctor run. I hung on for 5 years. Mostly for our daughter. I really wanted to believe, but in the end she admitted that everything that she had said for 8 to 10 years had been lies and she walked last summer.
    My 14 year old daughter is with me and it was mortifying the first time she came to me and said “How did you stay with her so long?”
    When it is over and after you have tried CPR and failed to revive it, just let it go. Everyone knows already so just let it go.

  4. wellokaythen says:

    As long as:

    She’s not abusing you.
    She’s not abusing your children.
    She hasn’t moved out and refuses to contact you.
    Her behavior isn’t threatening your health, safety, or sanity.
    You can safely say you have more than a year to live.

    I don’t think we should give a man any divorce advice that we would not give a woman. Men and women seek divorces for a lot of the same reasons. I would never tell a woman to stay married for one more year without some exceptions allowed, so it should be the same for men.

    But, I do like the idea that the year will be good for you to work on yourself and turn your own life around regardless of what happens with your marriage. Not mention the fact that it might be in your financial best interest to get some things in order before you go through with a divorce. It may take some time to prepare yourself for the pain her lawyers will inflict.

  5. Yes and teach your children to remove bandages slowly, just peel them back and feel every millimeter of adhesion breaking…

  6. FlyingKal says:

    I think that if you really have personal issues or “clanky gears” that need to be worked on, it might often be a good idea to actually do so in a more solitary environment, instead of having another person around who have been conditioned to have a negative attitude towards you and probably will interfere with the process.

    Then again, if you have kids it’s probably a good idea to plan ahead a little more.

  7. Big Willie says:

    I had a rocky marriage. A few years into it, she decided her problems were all my fault, and told everybody she was going to divorce me. I consulted a lawyer, he warned me when it gets to this stage, it’s not going to get better, and it doesn’t have to be this hard. Another guy told me the old joke about the sour milk- you don’t put it back in the ‘fridge to see if it’s going to get better.

    I wish I’d listened to them, instead of wasting several more years trying to make it work. It only got uglier.

  8. “You want to know you did everything to make it work….”

    Watching my friend’s marriage and family life go up in smoke up close is terrifying and frustrating to say the least….the turbulence and violence makes it obvious to me that the situation is unsafe and not a union worth saving….shocking, and yet somewhat not shocking, my best friend is going back to an unstable situation and I fear for her and her family…my hands are bound in some ways….at this point, she chooses to go back and I feel uneasy…I wait fretfully for the next frantic call when she needs a safe haven….


  1. [...] The Good Men Project: If You Think Your Marriage Is Over, Give it One More Year. Good advice with one caveat from me: give it one more year unless of course, there’s abuse [...]

  2. [...] These are comments by Steve Horsmon, Rachel @ Reality Chick, and wellokaythen on the post “If You Think Your Marriage Is Over, Give It One More Year“. [...]

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