Deciding whether you’re in a failing marriage that’s beyond repair is obviously not a choice that comes easily—especially when you’ve put in the work to try and salvage what feels like a loveless partnership. You might’ve chosen to overlook those first signs that divorce is the best move for one (or both) of you, and you’ve been coping with an unhappy relationship for some time. Or, perhaps you hope that the union’s still got some fight left and you’re not ready to leave. It’s not a decision to take lightly. But now, whether it’s a matter of one too many arguments, trust-sapping infidelity, or something else entirely, you’re clearly contemplating a permanent split.
Many relationships can be revived, but if there’s been too much neglect, damage, or depletion of all the ‘nutrients’ necessary to cultivate a healthy relationship, it may have reached its final expiration date.”
Here are the most common signs that you should consider divorce, and that you may be ready to move on to the next chapter of your life.
You never argue.
Believe it or not, you’re supposed to argue. Silence and avoidance can be detrimental to a relationship. When you just can’t be bothered anymore, it means something is missing. While not all fights are productive, it’s healthy to be able to resolve arguments in a way that benefits the marriage, you fight for each other. You fight for the relationship. The biggest problem is when there’s no fight left.
Winning is everything.
While never fighting (i.e. complete detachment) may be one sign of impending divorce, the way you argue when you do have a disagreement is another indication. “Ideally, you want a conflict to be resolved in a way that preserves the relationship, if fighting is more about pointing fingers, placing blame and the need to ‘win,’ the focus becomes power and not connection, and that is a red flag.
You want to provoke your spouse.
When you find that you’re constantly testing how far you can push your marriage before it completely shatters, you’re playing divorce roulette. Once you start trying to push your spouse’s threshold, it’s possible that you subconsciously want to end things but are afraid to make the move. For example, if you leave your computer open to an inappropriate (read: flirtatious) email exchange, you may secretly be hoping your spouse finds it so they’ll initiate a conversation about why you’ve been unhappy.
They send your heart racing.
We’re not talking the pitter patter of love. We’re referring to full on, heart rate rising stress. If you have a negative physical reaction when your spouse walks into the room, it’s important to pay attention to what your body is telling you.
Along those same lines, if your heart grows heavy and your stomach balls up into a knot every time you think about staying in your marriage, your body is letting you know it might be time to go. Our brains can lie to us, our body on the other hand, is the incorruptible truth-teller.
You hide your real self.
If you feel like you’ll be rejected if your spouse sees “all” of who you are, it’s impossible to be in a fulfilling relationship, a relationship expert and paternity court judge. When you constantly have to filter yourself, or keep your beliefs away from your spouse, it shows a lack of respect in your opinion. And that’s tough to fix.”
You’re overcompensating on Facebook.
Social media usually manufactures an extremely edited version of our lives. It’s also a space in which it’s easy to craft an illusion, hiding the reality of an unhappy marriage. According to Morris, when you or your partner suddenly start to overshare on social media, it’s usually an attempt to cover up the truth. Constantly feeling the need to show the world how great your relationship is—when, in reality, you know it’s not—may be a sign that things are falling apart.
When the thought of leaving scares the hell out of you, and yet…
It can be exciting to think about the life you could be living if you weren’t with this person any longer—the freedom, the adventures, the passion. But those fantasies are centered on what happens when you’ve already left the marriage. Take notice of what it feels like to imagine actually leaving, not just living this new life of yours sans partner. If the thought of leaving scares you, yet you’d still rather leave than stay, it’s a pretty strong indicator that it’s time to go.
Kids (or work, or friends) come first.
All of these outside influences can positively impact a marriage. And, of course there will become times when other factors (an ailing mom, having to focus on your child) will require your full attention. But, when any one thing takes over, leaving little room for a partner to dedicate time and attention to the relationship, it can take its toll. When those influences are all they talk about and all they think about, it can drive a wedge between spouses. The chasm can become so wide that the prospect of divorce begins to stare them right in the face.
It’s “I” and “me” and never “we.”
Marriage takes teamwork, and that means coming together for a common goal. When the team mentality stops, it may be a sign your marriage is over, couples are encouraged to think of their relationship in terms of “we” instead of “I.” The language we use when talking about our relationships can predict a break up. The pronouns you choose (I, me, mine, our, us, we) are a sign of how close you feel to your partner. So, look out for what expressions you find yourself (or your spouse) using.
You push back when others say, “stay.”
We rarely broadcast our relationship struggles to those around us, so it’s to be expected to get pushback from others who can’t seem to understand why you’d want to make this choice. A friend or family member’s objections may just be the gut-check you need. Leaving a marriage of any length will eventually provide the opportunity to examine your decisions, and your heart, , and you can only truly do this if you know you’ve made the decision that makes the most sense for you, not anyone else.
They stop being your go-to person.
Who do you call when you’re having a bad day? Who’s the first person you text when you hear good news? There’s an amazing rainbow outside your window…who—besides Instagram—do want to send the photo to? Your partner should be the first person you go to, in crisis or in celebration. When either one of you no longer wants to share important moments, you stop feeling connected. That disconnect can cause major loneliness in a relationship, which can often lead to divorce.
Forgiveness doesn’t seem like an option.
Infidelity in a marriage is definitely a road block, but not always a deal breaker. It’s possible to move on and have a healthy relationship. However, if both spouses choose to stay married, it’s imperative to fully forgive and make peace with your partner. If you’re dredging up past issues every time there’s an argument, or are holding onto resentment, then it’s most likely the marriage won’t survive.
You already have an exit strategy.
Are you moving money into different accounts? Looking for a new job so you have even more financial independence? Once you start planning like that, it’s a sign that you believe your marriage isn’t working, While she acknowledges that taking steps to ensure you’re not reliant on anyone and that you have your own savings can certainly be a good thing, it also means that you may have one foot out the door without realizing it. And when you’re not willing to be “all in,” your marriage could be on the outs.
It’s hard. All the time.
While every relationship has its rocky periods once in a while, conflict and feelings of disconnection shouldn’t be chronic. If it’s hard far more often than it is inspiring or pleasurable, it may be time to move on.”
You’re constantly wondering if you should leave.
There’s one thing about confusion, It is usually a lie. We block our own answers when we tell ourselves we don’t know. You are not confused about what to do, but you are afraid of the action you know you should probably take. In other words, if you are constantly wondering, then you likely already know your answer. When you’re considering divorce ― or reeling from your ex’s decision to end the marriage ― it’s easy to focus on the negatives: How will I possibly get by living on my own again? How will the kids be impacted by this? Am I doomed to be alone for the rest of my life?
Your Spouse Is A Serial Cheater.
It possible that your spouse just isn’t cut out for marriage or monogamy, even if they seemed to have wanted to get married. They also may put the blame for their philandering and untrustworthiness on you and may accuse you of being too jealous or controlling. When trust is broken in such a painful way, it is difficult to recover, and it if your partner has had multiple affairs, it is highly improbable that there will be enough good will for your marriage to be viable. Even if you decide to stay in the marriage, but it is doubtful that you will ever be able to fully trust your partner if they have cheated multiple times.
When you can’t get past a major breach of trust in the marriage despite many efforts and discussions, that’s a telltale sign your marriage may be beyond repair.
There’s Been An Instance Of Domestic Violence.
The reality is that, more likely than not, if there has been one incident of domestic violence, that there will be more. If you are in doubt about this, ask yourself the following question: If you had a daughter who was the victim of domestic violence, would you encourage her to stay married? Hopefully, your response would be a resounding, ‘No” When your health and safety are compromised by staying in the marriage, there should be no question about whether you should leave.
Reasons Divorce Is Preferable To Staying In An Unhappy, Unhealthy Marriage.
Marriage may give you a sense of security but divorce gives you a new lease on life.
Staying in a bad marriage can provide security because at least you know how your life will go. But getting a divorce gives you hope ― the hope to be who you want to be, the hope to be happy and the hope to find someone else to love.
Being a single parent is better than modeling an unhealthy relationship.
If you’re a parent with young kids, getting a divorce is better than staying in a bad marriage because these are formative years for them. They will likely seek out and emulate the types of relationships they see modeled. I want my relationships to be happy, healthy and mutually respectful, so that my children never settle for anything else in their own lives.
Divorce clears the way for you to meet the right partner.
Divorce is painful but it’s kind of like pulling off a Band-Aid: The anticipation is horrible but once it’s over, it’s pure relief. Bonus: It allows you the freedom to meet the person you were meant to be with!
You get to focus on you for once.
After divorce, you find yourself again and fall in love with the wonderful attributes that makes you you. As a mother especially, you can parent with just your own mama instincts and all your love and energy can flow into your little one(s). You find genuine peace and happiness and an appreciation for life that may have been sucked out of you during your bad marriage.
Divorce isn’t the worst thing that can happen to your kids. Enduring a hostile home life is.
After my first wife and mother of my five children left us permanently, I felt like going through divorce was the worst thing that could happen to a family. So when my second marriage was falling apart, as my kid’s sole and single parent, I was desperate to protect them from the trauma of another divorce. As a result, I kept the family in a situation that wasn’t good for any of us. The reality is, the worst thing for your children is for them to live in a hostile home and have them see you unhappy. My life and my children’s’ lives have gotten better and happier with each passing day after the divorce.
There’s a big difference between loneliness and solitude.
My divorce helped me discover the gift of solitude when I once experienced the pain of loneliness. Now that I’ve learned to enjoy being alone, I’m free from that awful feeling of separation that comes from being with the wrong person.
You and your partner may be stifling each other’s growth.
I feel that divorce should rarely be the first choice because generally the only thing keeping a ‘bad’ marriage from being a ‘good’ marriage is sustained mutual effort. That being said, there are times that divorce is the best choice in order to allow both partners to grow and achieve the life they desire, and in some scenarios, the life they deserve.
A happier parent is a better parent.
Learning to let go and step into the unknown may be the single most important thing you can do for your own sanity and the sanity of those around you. Divorce proves that you have the courage to live a life of happiness. And if you’re happier, you’ll be a far more effective parent.
You can devote your energy to other important areas of your life.
If you have done all the work of trying to make the marriage better and nothing is changing, finding the courage to leave and move forward pays off in the long run. The pay off? You stop putting all your energy into a relationship that no longer works and put more energy into yourself and your kids.
You deserve a partner who’s just as invested in the relationship as you are.
Divorce is preferable to a marriage without love. We all deserve to be loved. I never want to be in a marriage where that partnership isn’t sacred and a priority.
Relationships are complicated, to say the very least, and even the most stable of marriages will go through intense highs and extreme lows. So if you’re asking yourself, Should I get a divorce?” know that you’re not alone — a 2015 poll found that half of all married couples have contemplated divorce. But determining whether or not your marriage should end is an entirely personal decision, and there are a number of factors that will play into you eventually choosing to either work through your relationship issues, or call it quits.
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