How to Know If It's Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriage

How to Know If It's Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriage

by Lawrence Birnbach, Beverly Hyman
3.9 41

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How to Know If It's Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriage by Lawrence Birnbach, Beverly Hyman

A controversial look at whether a marriage can be saved—or if it's “time to go.”


For the millions caught in unhappy marriages, consumed by sadness, anger, and fear, the question haunts: “Should I divorce?” Now, in their insightful new book, a husband-and-wife team of marriage experts helps readers find the answer by taking them through ten steps to determine if their relationship has reached the breaking point.

While Drs. Birnbach and Hyman do not advocate divorce, they point out that the most desirable situation—a happy long-term marriage—may simply not be possible in some cases. The book also discusses how the lives of people who stay in chronically unhappy marriages compare with those who split up. Filled with poignant case studies, cutting-edge research, and a 100-question self-assessment to determine if it's “time to go,” this unique guide dispels the myths about divorce and enables readers to recognize if there is still hope . . . or if they (and their families) are better off apart. 


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402781513
Publisher: Sterling
Publication date: 08/03/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 87,270
File size: 525 KB

About the Author

Dr. Lawrence Birnbach is a psychoanalyst who specializes in working with individuals and couples in troubled relationships as well as offers couples and individual group therapy. He practices in New York City and in Westport, CT.


Dr. Beverly Hyman is an internationally known business and organizational consultant specializing in conflict management. She is a consultant to several United Nations agencies and has been a featured speaker at national and international conferences, including: The United Nations Conference to End the Decade for Women and many others.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Is This Me? xi

Part 1 The Unhappy Marriage

Chapter 1 Defining the Unhappy Marriage 3

Step 1 Determine-Is my marriage unhappy? How unhappy am I?

Chapter 2 The Marriage Bill of Rights 17

Chapter 3 How Parenting Falters 21

Step 2 Ask yourself-Is our parenting faltering?

Chapter 4 How Children Falter 34

Step 3 Look at your children right now-Is your unhappy family affecting their school performance, behavior, and self-esteem?

Chapter 5 How Sex and Intimacy Falter 43

Step 4 Face the truth-What is the quality of our sexual and intimate life?

Chapter 6 How Physical and Mental Health Falter 55

Step 5 Assess-Is marital stress affecting my physical and mental health? My children's? My spouse's?

Part 2 Myths about Divorce

Chapter 7 How Bias Shapes Your Thinking 66

Step 6 Take an inventory-What are my fears about separating and divorcing? What stigma and shame do I fear from my family, friends, religion, and community?

Chapter 8 Divorce Versus the Unhappy Marriage 87

Chapter 9 The Transition Period 91

Part 3 Truths about-Divorce

Chapter 10 Divorce for the Sake of the Children 96

Step 7 Evaluate realistically-If I divorce, what do I fear will happen to my children? Will I lose them? Can I accept not seeing them every day?

Chapter 11 Children's Self-Esteem 102

Chapter 12 Impact on Adolescents and Young Adults 110

Chapter 13 Growth of Empathy in Adolescents and Young Adults 116

Chapter 14 How Men and Women Grow 120

Chapter 15 Divorce and Finances 133

Step 8 Face your fears-What financial repercussions of separation and divorce frighten me?

Chapter 16 The Real Damage 146

Part 4 Knowing When It's Time to Go

Chapter 17 Rescued Marriages: Exhausting Every Remedy 158

Step 9 Take another inventory-Have I exhausted every remedy to heal my marriage? Do I have any realistic hope? What am I waiting for?

Chapter 18 The Tipping Point 171

Chapter 19 Making Your Plan 182

Step 10 Decide-What's my plan?

Appendices 187

The Marriage Test 187

Selected Annotated Bibliography 195

Index 205

About the Authors 210

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How to Know If It's Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriage 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Interested_reader More than 1 year ago
Larry and Beverly's "Marriage Bill of Rights" was a true eye-opener for me. Reading down my list of "rights" in a relationship was very empowering: a right to loyalty, affection, companionship, and other important things. I suddenly realized what was wrong in some of my prior relationships and why they became unsatisfying. The book is an easy and informative read. I love what it taught me!
JA-MD More than 1 year ago
This immensely useful book shows how to evaluate your marriage, and how to improve it or consider the realities of divorce. The many case histories make it come alive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a must-read for anyone contemplating divorce or having marital trouble. The information is very grounded in research and the content is useful. Reading through the marriage test really allowed me to learn more about myself and my relationship. I found the stories to be clearly written and easy to relate to. I highly recommend this book.
lynette355 More than 1 year ago
If your not aware I am like so many others. I have been married and divorced and married..........and now I have a mixed family. With that is always new lessons to learn on how to exist in these families with harmony. I feel quite lucky that my ex and I sat down and talked on how to have a friendly divorce. We knew we would always be our daughter's parents and would have to be part of each others lives after our divorce. And we have made it work out with little fuss. So how did we get there? Well, first we wasted a long time. Staying married 15 years when our marriage was over in the first 5 years. I would have liked to have read "How to Know if it's Time to Go-A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriage". Now I know that we all wish to keep our marriage healthy. I wanted to do the very same thing. But instead wasted 10 years of mine and my ex's life. And drug our sweet daughter through those trying times. Sometimes we just have to face reality. What I do like about this book is that it addresses your children's issues. Making it a fact that there needs to be healthy relationships between the separated parents and future families. So you need to deal with how a healthy divorce works compared to an unhealthy marriage. (I know having been there.) And helping your child or children with school, family, friends, self esteem and all the issues that come up. I feel quiet lucky that we took a logical look at our future. Now having been divorced over 7 years we can still visit each other with our College Girl. And even better yet, College Girl now has her (half) lil sister to share her life with. The two families often share meals, holidays and even for a short while a home together.
DrMaryGiuffra More than 1 year ago
Is something missing? Is it worth fixing? are you afraid there's no way out? Drs, Birnbach and Hyman, clinical and personal experts in divorce, its prevention and aftermath, take you step by step through these questions and many more lurking in the back of your mind. The book guides you to find life in your marriage or go gently through a divorce with a minimum of fallout. Their advice is solidly based on research findings making it a welcome addition for professionals as well. Mary Giuffra, PhD Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Board Certified Advanced Practice RN
Happily_Married More than 1 year ago
If you are stuck in a relationship knowing things aren't right, this book can help get you motivated to do something about the problem. The reader immediately gets hooked emotionally identifying with problem areas and assessing exactly how unhappy you are. The Marriage Bill of Rights is a winning concept. You are entitled to: loyalty, protection, affection, partnering, caregiving, support, companionship, freedom, honest communication and respect. "How to Know" also help you identify your fears of leaving a relationship and helps you to examine if you have exhausted your possibilities of improving it. If all else fails, the guide helps you through the going. It's a "must read" for people in unsatisfying relationships.
Stanford_Lotwin More than 1 year ago
As a matrimonial lawyer I have made it a practice to advise my clients that they should be as 'committed to the divorce as they should have been to the marriage.' .As a result of this fine book I now have a reference source to refer them to, to wit, How To Know If It's Time To Go. If there is any doubt at all in a person's mind about the future of their marriage they should read this book and be guided by the sensible principles and tests set forth therein. This is a significant contribution in the field of 'marriage counseling. Stanford Lotwin, Board of Managers, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
MJG238 More than 1 year ago
This book is a must for anyone who has doubts about staying in their current relationship. Are you happy with your partner, are they happy with you? Are you staying out of fear or because you believe your relationship will change? Reading this book will help you honestly assess the choices of staying or leaving. The book provides specific decision points to review in making your choice. An important Marriage Bill of Rights is put forth and the authors include a series of very real case studies. If your relationship is in trouble, this book can help.
HaroldGoldstein More than 1 year ago
"How to Know if it's Time to Go," by Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverly Hyman provides us with an entertainingly written and useful manual for recognizing and understanding the challenges to the happy marriage and for overcoming them by discussion and reconciliation between the parties or by, without fear or shame, resorting to divorce if the marriage cannot be saved. It is high time that we had such a candid treatment of these issues that can be of real value to the many unhappy marriages around us . As one who himself went through a divorce some years ago, I can testify to the need for the kind of guidance provided by Drs. Birnbach and Hyman. It is painfully difficult to know when or if it's time to go. Am I really giving this marriage enough time? Am I properly giving the time and effort necessary to understand my spouse, her values and her needs? What will be the effect on children? Am I ready or willing to divide our property and can this be done fairly? Will I have the physical and the spiritual resources necessary to find and enter into another relationship? On all of these subjects, the authors have something wise and convincing to say. This is an important book and should be read by those in both happy and unhappy marriages. For those happily married, they will understand why they are content. For those unhappily married, they will be well advised what to do next. Harold Goldstein New York City
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book gets it right. Before we met, my husband and I initiated divorce from previous unhappy marriages. The honesty of these actions brought tremendous relief. After reading this book, we examined the areas outlined, insightfully. This book triggered even more discussion and reflection on our marriage,now. It helps us recognize how strong our marriage is, and how gratefully we embrace what we have together. Well written, no-nonsense and sensitive. Thank you.
JudithWarren More than 1 year ago
As a psychologist who sees both couples and individuals, I was happy to read How to Know If It's Time to Go. It is a wonderful book for helping anyone struggling in their marriage. The book is full of anecdotes to flesh out many situations that people can identify with and a variety of topics which often cause stress in relationships. I plan to recommend it to several of my patients (as well as acquaintances) because it looks squarely at what constitutes a viable relationship, helps people assess their own, gives ideas to improve marriages, or if that's not possible, offers suggestions for successful navigation of separation and divorce. Judith Warren, Ph.D.
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This helps think about divorce in a non-emotional way. It's not geared to help you fix the problems on why s/he left or how to win them back but helps with understanding appropriate reasons to divorce and if the marriage is salvable and if you should move forward with divorce. Personally, I didn't want a divorce so the book helped me confirm my reflections and helped me understand why I didn't want a divorce other than being "inlove" and other than believe marriage is a life-long commitment. I do return back to this book often for confirmation when I feel hopeless with my decision to withhold divorce and let my spouse deal with the forwarding legal matter (they were the one who left after all) . I did not want to do something I was not comfortable with doing, in my situation my spouse wants a divorce but wanted me to do the paperwork. I had no problem to do said paperwork if I didn't question divorce but I did, and this book helped me understand why I wasn't on the same page and stick to my foundation, feeling more comfortable about not doing something that I initially didn't want to do. 
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TommyGunn More than 1 year ago
Recommend Contemplating Divorce or Too Good to Go Too Bad to Stay before this light read.
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