Whether you’ve been married for decades or even just a few years, entertaining the notion of divorce isn’t easy – especially if you’re unsure if you should pursue one. You may have been feeling like this for a while, or perhaps considering the possibility of divorce is entirely new to you. No matter how fresh your consideration is, there are some helpful signs to look for that can guide you toward the right decision for you.
Common Ways to Know Your Marriage Could Be Over
It might be hard to believe, but each divorce is unique. That’s because each person in a marriage is unique, and so is their relationship. That said, there are some common signs anyone can notice in their marriage that can help them discern whether or not staying married is the right thing for them to do.
If you’ve noticed the following signs in your marriage, the best thing to do is to discuss them with your spouse and explore marriage counseling. If you’ve tried these things before and things don’t seem to be getting better, however, it might be time to call a divorce attorney for help.
1. You No Longer Communicate with Your Spouse
You’ve heard it before: Communication is key. Despite how commonly understood this is, though, it doesn’t help a couple that is having problems with communication. Whether it’s an unwillingness to discuss their feelings or “the hard stuff,” or the fact that attempting to do so always leads to a meltdown, failure to communicate in a healthy manner can quickly unravel any marriage.
2. Your Marriage Lacks Intimacy
Intimacy is what brings most people together into marriage, so naturally, it’s a key part of keeping them together. Intimacy isn’t just about sex, though – it also includes a general feeling of closeness or fondness for your spouse. If either of you doesn’t seem interested in sex, cuddling, or simply spending quiet time together anymore, it can be a sign that your marriage is losing its intimacy.
A lack of intimacy can also lead to infidelity, or even be a sign that it’s already going on. When one person needs more intimacy than the other, they may be tempted to seek it elsewhere. Likewise, if they found intimacy with someone else, they may become disinterested in it with their spouse.
3. One Spouse Is Causing Financial Hardship
It’s not sexy to think about marriage in terms of intertwining two people’s financial lives, but legally that's what it means to be married. As a consequence, financial considerations are some of the most common reasons for divorce. If spouses can’t agree on how to spend or save money, then divorce will look like a more likely option as time goes on.
4. The Relationship Isn’t a Top Priority
After they get married, some people begin to invest less and less into their relationship with their spouse. They can get distracted by kids, work, hobbies, or pretty much anything else that isn’t their spouse. While it’s obviously important to make time to be a parent and take care of one’s self and interests, failing to invest any time in the relationship with a spouse can be a bad sign.
Sometimes it’s a matter of redirecting priorities. If someone is purposely keeping themselves busy with other things so they don’t have time to nurture their relationship, though, this can be a clear sign that divorce should be seriously considered.
5. You Aren’t Willing to Argue with Your Spouse
Few people want to argue with their spouse, but it’s completely normal and even healthy to do so once in a while. When a couple argues, it can mean they both care about an issue and want the other person to hear their point of view. An argument between spouses can mean they want to fight for the best resolution for each other and their relationship.
It’s not a good thing when arguments are avoided because of apathy, especially over an important disagreement. Keeping the peace for the sake of peace can build resentment and let important disagreements go unresolved, only to blow up later on.
As long as arguments don’t get out of control or involve violence and abuse, some can end up being very productive. Otherwise, if one or both spouses has no fight left in them, then they might lack the will to continue with their marriage as well.
6. Opinions Concerning Children Greatly Differ
Second to financial considerations, children are the most important topic in a marriage. Spouses should agree on the broad strokes, such as whether or not to have kids and which values or beliefs are important to raise kids with. If a married couple disagrees on basic factors like these concerning children, and neither spouse is willing to compromise, divorce is a likely possibility.
7. You Don’t Feel Respected by Your Partner
Just as communication is vital to a relationship, so too is respect. If one partner doesn’t feel respected by the other, it can lead to feelings of isolation, abandonment, loneliness, and resentment. No one enjoys feeling any of these things – least of all when they feel them at home with their spouse.
If a spouse feels disrespected and has exhausted every possible option to help their spouse understand how they feel, then perhaps the best possible option for them, probably, is to exit the marriage.
8. Someone Has Cheated or Is Seeking New Partners
Infidelity is a clear sign that a marriage isn’t on solid ground. That said, it can be an opportunity for spouses to revitalize their intimacy and appreciation for one another. If this isn’t possible because the cheating spouse wants to move on from the marriage or because the cheated spouse can’t move past the transgression, then divorce may be the best way to resolve their differences.
9. Domestic Abuse Is Occurring
Domestic abuse can involve physical violence and emotional manipulation. When either or both spouses are hurting each other or their children, chances are there are irreconcilable differences between them that are fueling these incidents.
Knowing when to divorce when you’re in a domestic abuse situation can be confusing. You may experience episodes of abuse between periods of peace and apparent stability. You might also fear leaving the marriage because of what your spouse will do to you or your kids. When domestic abuse of any kind or amount is occurring, divorce needs to be a serious consideration to protect one's self and their children.
10. You’ve Planned Your Exit Strategy
A clear sign that it’s time to divorce is if you’re planning for it or for your life after divorce. You’ve read a bunch of articles like this one and you’ve researched divorce attorneys in your area. Maybe you’ve looked into jobs or apartments in a new city. You might also be trying to plan ways to get the best possible settlement for child custody, child support, and spousal support.
Things like these are clear indications that you’ve already got one foot out the door. If you’re at this point, your marriage is probably dead in the water. Telling your spouse that you want a divorce is merely the last piece of the puzzle.
Do You Need Help Navigating Your Divorce?
If you are still considering whether or not to remain married, sometimes speaking with a divorce attorney can clarify the issue. An attorney like one of ours at Claery & Hammond, LLP can tell you about some of the legal and financial realities of divorce that you perhaps haven’t fully considered.
We offer a free consultation to prospective clients to help them understand how we can represent them in divorce matters. It’s not unheard of, though, for clients to use this meeting to understand what exactly divorce will mean before deciding that’s the direction they wish to choose.
Whether you are still exploring how to handle your marriage or have decided divorce is right for you, we at Claery & Hammond, LLP are here to help.