All marriages have their highs and lows, but how do you know if what you're going through is just a rough patch or a precursor to the end? Are the issues you're facing something you can work through, or is that just not in the cards? Consider these 6 signs that your marriage may be headed for divorce.
Unhappiness and Avoidance
Your own comfort and mental health are important. If you feel continually unhappy or dissatisfied with your marriage or partner, something needs to change. While unhappiness is an indicator of divorce, it doesn't necessarily result in divorce. Couples therapy offers a starter solution for spouses who want to identify the underlying cause of their unhappiness; if you and your spouse are willing to work together to address and correct marital problems, there's potential to rebuild a connection.
On the other hand, some couples handle unhappiness and "empty marriages" by compensating; pouring themselves into their children, career, or hobbies to avoid time spent with each other. Seeking emotional satisfaction exclusively outside of a marriage, therefore, could signal an impending split.
Lack of Communication
Maybe you and your spouse don't tell each other everything anymore. Maybe there are little things that are bothering you, building up inside, and you're fearful, or indifferent to sharing them. Perhaps you just don't talk much anymore. Relationships are built on communication, and when that starts to dissipate, it's hard to keep everything else together.
Divorcing spouses who've experienced a breakdown in communication typically didn't share their individual concerns and relationship issues, let alone try to work through them. This indifference in couples approaching divorce could also be one-sided; "stonewalling" is described as one partner completely shutting down communication and empathy for the other. For example, one partner might sit silently and roll their eyes while the other is trying to communicate.
Imbalanced Effort, Conflict, and Indifference
When one spouse continuously feels or expresses an imbalance in marital efforts, resentment builds. Whether this frustration is due to one-sided caretaking, financial input, chores around the house, or the effort put into the relationship itself, if feelings of inequality emerge, two-sided resolution and communication are vital to better the marriage.
Unfortunately, imbalanced efforts lead to conflict, and many couples who fail to resolve their differences without injury to the relationship tend to gradually "give up." For this reason, it's important to understand that "relationship inequality" can be addressed and changed, but conflict avoidance and indifference to resolution typically result in partners losing respect, increasing distance, and gradually withdrawing from each other.
Adultery, Disaffection, Disengagement
Adultery is perhaps the clearest sign of a problem in a relationship. Some couples may try to work through it, but continuous infidelity can be extremely difficult to overcome. Adultery stems from a lack of loyalty and leads to a lack of trust. Many couples just can't come back from cheating and all it's challenging consequences.
A lack of sex/intimacy, on the other hand, doesn't necessarily foreshadow divorce, but it can be a reliable indicator that a couple's emotional disengagement is advancing steadily. Typically, emotional disengagement is accompanied by a lack of affection. When asked the reason for their split, many divorcing couples answer "we've fallen out of love with each other" - signaling a loss in emotional engagement and connectedness.
Consistent Issues with Your Finances
Money can be the biggest source of problems in a marriage. Whether you're under financial strain, can't find common ground on saving and spending, or simply no longer talk about what you are both doing with your money, if you and your spouse's values concerning money don't add up, divorce may be more likely.
While financial problems can erode the strength of a relationship, divorce may not solve them. If you're struggling with money management, there are a myriad of resources and experienced professionals that can help you find solutions to improve both your finances and relationship.
Less Excitement During Alone Time
Whether you don't want to spend alone time together-date nights out, date nights in, or just time here and there-or you don't feel the same way as you once did when you spend time together, perhaps that's a sign that something is wrong within the relationship. Maybe you've been avoiding alone time or secretly hoping your partner won't ask about it. Whatever the situation, a lack of love or excitement over alone time may show the direction in which a marriage is heading.
Marriage isn't always easy. All couples go through tough times; and while some are able to overcome marital obstacles and mend their relationship, others can't, or don't want to "fix what's broken. " Divorce isn't always the answer; if you see a lot of these signs within your own marriage, consider the practical aspects of divorce before making any rash decisions.
When looking into what to do next, consider couples counseling, individual therapy, or consulting with an attorney or mediator to understand the financial, familial, and emotional costs surrounding marriage and divorce. For divorcing couples struggling to compromise, connecting with a qualified family law firm, such as Gagne, McChrystal, De Lorenzo and Burghardt Family Law Experts, can help you navigate through the tougher financial and legal issues that might arise during your divorce.