How to know if divorce is right for you? No one wants to get to the end of the divorce process only to understand that it was the wrong thing to do in the first place.
That’s why we’ve collected eight signs you’re ready for divorce that should help you decide what to do with your marriage.
As a bonus, you’ll find four questions at the end of the article that will tell you when to give your relationship a second chance.
“Am I ready to divorce my wife/husband?” is not a rare question when things in marriage begin to worsen. There can be many reasons for such thoughts.
For example, the most common causes for divorce stated by the Minnesota couples in a study published in the Journal of Divorce & Remarriage were growing apart (in 55% of cases) and problems with communication – in 53% of couples.
To be fair, divorce is not the only option to resolve an unfavorable family situation. But some circumstances may serve as common signs that you need a divorce. Let’s look at them.
Complete indifference in a married couple can be considered one of the first signs you need to get a divorce. It may manifest in the following ways:
Such spouses can continue to live in the same house but live separate lives and have absolutely no interest in what the other says or does.
Even more, they forget about what jealousy means and don’t care who their partner spends time with. But it is essential not to confuse the absence of jealousy when people trust each other from the same situation when they are simply not interested in their partner’s whereabouts.
Indifference can be ostentatious when one partner uses it as punishment for something the other party has done wrong. So, if interest disappears and reappears in response to specific events, it may be a good sign that the relationship can be reanimated.
Another sign you are ready for divorce might be the exact opposite situation to the previous one. For example, if the spouses have long forgotten about a quiet life due to constant conflicts, it is almost impossible to talk about a healthy relationship.
However, some people consider fights as a normal phase of every relationship. In part, it is true because even healthy marriages face conflicts from time to time. It’s the nature of the misunderstandings that matter.
The one difference between harmless and destructive conflicts is that the latter may seem to occur for no particular reason and never reach a sound resolution. Perhaps, the partners simply began to annoy each other to such an extent that they hated the mere sight of the other person.
There might also be other deep-rooted issues in the marriage that cause such high-conflict behavior. For example, modern family problems are connected with a lack of mutual understanding, support, empathy, and spouses’ desire for equality in relationships.
When people can’t satisfy their fundamental expectations, they may leave their unhappy marriage and look for happiness in other relationships.
One of the most apparent signs a divorce is best for a couple is domestic violence in the family. It can be physical when one family member uses force to hurt the other and psychological, e.g., mental and emotional pain.
Family violence is quite common in the US. At least one in four women and one in ten men face it during their lifetime, according to CDC.gov. But even this data is not accurate because some people prefer not to report their cases.
Any spouse who has experienced violence at least once should consider whether the situation can change for the better.
Unfortunately, such unhealthy behavior is not always treatable. Only an experienced therapist can assess the condition of a violent spouse and suggest what can be done.
If a person feels that it could be dangerous for their physical and mental health to stay married, maybe it is time to divorce.
Some marriages do not end in divorce only because the spouses are afraid of harming their children. Parents reasonably believe that a child should see positive role models in the family for healthy mental and social development.
A few decades ago, it was a widely spread conception that kids should live with both parents in one home.
However, different studies have shown that children’s feelings are more hurt when they witness their parents’ constant conflicts and even lack of love, which can be two clear signs a divorce is imminent.
“Whether or not parents are married is not what really counts,” says Linda Waite, a sociology professor from the University of Chicago. “What matters is the quality of the relationship between parents and between parent and child.”
Some couples are also afraid of having to share children during the divorce process and afterward. In addition, the legal aspects of divorce can be daunting, especially with child custody and support issues on the table.
However, if the fear of divorce proceedings is the only thing keeping a couple together, they should give their family situation a close inspection. It will help them decide whether they can make their marriage work in the future.
A healthy marriage is based on trust, mutual respect, attraction, and many other things, including sexual satisfaction.
The latter may not be the primary reason why people stay together since every couple has different values. And yet, it remains a considerable part of every relationship.
“Sex is a means of communication as well as a bodily encounter,” says Christopher Clulow, Ph.D., a couples therapist. He believes that spouses can be either connected by sex or disconnected entirely if one spouse finds that the other has an affair.
How do you spot infidelity? There are many ways. Some people could change their behavior, e.g., become more indifferent to sex with their spouse. Others may express more passion all of a sudden.
It’s also not uncommon when a person discovers altered sexual preference (or identity) later in the marriage. It may also be a result of experiments outside of the current relationship.
All in all, if these circumstances are not acceptable for the other partner, they may take them as signs to divorce their husband or wife.
The loss of confidence in a relationship might be a clear sign that the couple is ready for a divorce. However, it primarily concerns couples who tried everything, including marriage counseling, but nothing helped.
Mistrust can happen for various reasons - adultery, pathological lying, or betrayal. When a husband or a wife ceases to be a go-to person whenever their partner needs support, it could be a sign that the relationship has started deteriorating.
In these circumstances, everyone should decide on their own whether to divorce or not. And while the person can consider the opinions of friends and family members on how to handle the situation, they should always prioritize their own judgment.
Undoubtedly, trust is the basis of every happy marriage. Of course, you can try and restore it or decide to move on. But it should be your choice when to get divorced and when to save your marriage.
Some of the signs that you are ready for a divorce may not always be obvious. For example, people may not see constant annoyance as the problem for a long time.
Interestingly, both spouses already have most of their habits at the time they get married. But the couple is so in love that they ignore the minor flaws of the other party.
Then, why do they start to get annoyed by every insignificant thing that their partner does or says?
Willard F. Jr. Harley, Ph.D., thinks that the root of the problem lies in the lack of empathy. When one spouse loses romantic feelings, they gradually notice their partner’s habits that have not previously caused negative emotions.
If derogatory comments and verbal conflicts accompany the annoyance, the tension in the family may reach its peak at some point. When communication turns into a nightmare, the couple either seeks professional help (e.g., marriage counseling) or decides that it is time to get a divorce.
According to the Institute for Family Studies survey, more than half of married people think about divorce at least once during their marriage. But if the thoughts keep popping up in the person’s head frequently, it might be one of the signs of getting a divorce soon.
Strangely, a person might not fully realize that they’re already sketching a plan of leaving their spouse. They probably have listened to a few speakers who experienced divorce and imagined themselves in the same situation.
They may have even considered going to a divorce attorney to learn about the legal process of dissolving a marriage.
Ultimately, there could be no definite signs you should divorce your wife or husband that can work in 100% of cases.
So, if you are still asking yourself, “am I ready for divorce” after weighing all the pros and cons of leaving, look at the questions below and try to answer them honestly. Maybe, they will help you to know if divorce is right for you.
Think about how you would live after divorce without your spouse around. Maybe you feel inner peace when you imagine it or vice versa, fear and confusion.
Be honest with yourself. If someone doesn’t feel ready to part with their spouse, then divorce may not be the best option, at least at the moment.
If you feel that it’s a new beginning and a chance to find happiness, starting afresh could be the right decision. However, make sure you’re not just threatening to get divorced because you want to punish your spouse for something.
The reasons to end a marriage are usually more substantial, e.g., domestic violence, infidelity, or loss of love. If your conflicts can be resolved at least theoretically, and you still have feelings for your spouse, consider going to a family therapist before you decide to hire a divorce lawyer.
Strong emotions can sometimes overshadow common sense. Every married couple has conflicts from time to time, but not all of them immediately rush to get a divorce.
Perhaps you just need to use those misunderstandings as a way to figure out your marital issues and solve them together with your life partner.
Note that domestic violence or any other harmful experience is not on the list of everyday problems. In other words, your safety comes first.
Many changes go hand in hand with divorce. Mainly, they will concern the finances, housing, and communication with children.
If you don’t have an idea about how these things will work after you leave your spouse, perhaps you should gather more information and think through the details of your post-divorce life before making any hasty decisions.
Deciding to divorce isn’t easy, and it shouldn’t be.
So, when comparing your marriage situation to the ones described above, keep in mind that the process of creating something is always more complicated than breaking it down.
And while there are many more signs that you need a divorce, think carefully before making such a life-changing step.
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