According to statistics from the American Academy of Psychology in regards to marriage and divorce, women are more likely to be the initiators of divorce filings. In fact, men are often left scratching their heads, wondering went wrong with around 68% of all divorces being sought first by women. In earnest, it isn’t that women are unhappier in their relationships than men are but quite simply that women seem to spend years brooding in misery before finally feeling the straw that broke the camels back. Marriage counselors warn that communication in a marriage is absolutely essential if you want it to last. Statistics like these seem to indicate that far too many women are less than bold when it comes to making marital disclaimers and voicing their opinions to their partners.
Yet still, there are signs that your marriage is over (or at least on the brink on divorce). And you shouldn’t have to be a mind reader in order to know when things are going wrong. Recognizing the most obvious and early signs that your marriage is on the rocks can help you to save your marriage in time. Here are ten signs that you might be sitting across the table from one another being mediated by attorneys.
- You no longer have common interests. While normal for couples to seek out personal passions and expressions there comes a time when the divide is too much and too obvious. Often, couples stop trying to do things together and begin spending more time apart than together. Psychologists attribute this outward sign of divorce to the individuals seeking outside satisfaction and happiness BECAUSE they are unable to find those qualities in the marriage.
- Over critical behavior. Relationships start out with couples being extremely compassionate and accepting of one another’s faults. Perhaps too much. As time goes on and the quality of marriage declines, partners begin looking for and pointing out faults. This behavior mechanism allows them to feel justified in their feelings of disconnect and no longer wanting to be together. If you feel like you can do nothing right in your partner’s eyes, it is likely they are building an emotional case for divorce.
- Secrets and lies. Remember when you used to share everything you knew. Partners who are no longer connected to one another begin withholding information from one another and consciously not sharing information.
- Avoidance. Some people may say they like to avoid confrontation or arguments. However, there comes a point in every ending marriage where the fighting just isn’t worth it anymore. This is when couples begin avoiding conversations with another and distracting themselves with other things and people in order to NOT talk to one another. Common distractions that lead to avoidance can be the television, or most often children.
- Never finding resolution. Around 75% if all couples have at least one hot button issue that can never be resolved. They will continuously fight with one another and debate the issue. If they have a disagreement over something else, this issue is sure to arise. When partners commit to not finding resolution they are making a bold statement about how they feel about their marriage.
- Lack of sex and intimacy. It is normal for couples to experience a decline in intimacy as time goes on. However, if it has been months or even years since the two of you have been intimate, you can definitely see this as a sign of trouble. Even in unsteady marriages, sexual intimacy can indicate that there is still a desire for marital survival. When couples begin a pattern of not being intimate and are happy with it this can be taken as a sign that your marriage is over
- Money problems. Experts suggest that more than half of all couples argue over money. Money may not be the real issue at hand however, and instead be simply a stand in for issues that relate to individuality, control, and autonomy in the relationship.
- Lack of personal care. When your partner doesn’t seem to be interested in taking care of himself or herself, at least when YOU are around this is a definite sign that the marriage may be over. Personal hygiene and self-care is often an important part of the relationship and when it discontinues, it can be a subliminal way to intentionally ‘turn off’ their partner.
- Lack of respect. Respect for one another in a marriage is essential to longevity. When you or you partner simply disregard respecting one another, either through covert actions like not communicating; or obvious ones like doing things you know your partner doesn’t like you can assume they are setting the stage for divorce. In this aspect, couples often feel guilty about the end of the marriage and are childishly hoping to make their partner so upset that they will seek the divorce themselves.
- Cheating. Cheating doesn’t always lead to divorce. However, most marriages do not recover from infidelity. And if they do, the residual affects can greatly inhibit the quality of the marriage and couple happiness. Few couples explore why the cheating exists and use this act as the final call to action to seek divorce.
Changes in behavior and attitudes towards one another can be subtle. Early on, many men and women do not want to explore their feelings or discuss them and don’t seek counseling because they have an inner desire to make their marriage appear as if everything is perfect. Years later, this ‘lie’ can become too much for any couple. Yet, the social pressures of marriage and the fear that divorce means you are a failure send couples into hiding looking for actions to signal divorce, so they can lessen their guilt. However, if you see the signs that your marriage is over and take it as a call to action to make improvements and strengthen communication the marriage can sustain and be better than it ever was.