It is natural for couples to disagree on certain things, but there may be a so-called “last straw” where the differences become irreconcilable. It is often thought of as a final dramatic transgression, possibly after a warning of consequences. The hurtful action prompts a partner to realize that the pain and frustration of maintaining the relationship are now greater than ending that relationship.
Relationship experts often point out that these last straws are usually symptoms of unresolved issues that cause the marriage to break down. Rather than the last straw transgression, these breakdowns arrive in many different forms, including:
- It may just happen: Many assume the hurtful behavior is a serial cheater or spouse who is unable to maintain control of their life. But many find that there was no conscious build up. There may be no warning or ultimatum; instead, it is a subtle but clear realization.
- It is self-awareness: There may be a moment after years of unhappiness or frustration where the spouse realizes that they no longer want to carry on this way.
- Refuse to see it coming: Sometimes, a spouse is unwilling to think about the relationship falling apart after years of hard work keeping it together. For example, a pet peeve may be carried for years (perhaps managed with a roll of the eyes or a deep breath), but other mitigating factors come into play and exacerbate the peeve to the point of ending the relationship.
- There is no last straw: Not every marriage ends with a subtle or dramatic realization. These marriages may carry on for years as a working partnership for raising a family or attachment to a spouse more out of habit. A spouse can see this as lifeless for lacking a romantic spark. It can be a long slow fade out, or that relationship never reached their potential.
Determining what comes next
It is natural to go into mourning for the relationship when the last straw occurs. It is part of the process of ending the relationship. Another aspect of the process may be filing for divorce with the help of a family law attorney. These legal professionals can help the client determine the best course of action, creating a parenting agreement, dividing assets and making other plans for moving forward with their life.