Some people have no idea that their marriage is ending until their spouse packs a bag and makes an announcement that they’re leaving for good on the way out the door.
However, most people – if they’re even remotely observant and honest with themselves – can tell that their marital relationship is falling apart long before any decisions about leaving are made.
Potential red flags
Maybe you’ve asked your spouse how they feel about your marriage and they’ve told you everything is “fine,” but actions speak louder than words. These are some clear signals of potential trouble to come:
- Lack of communication: Communication breakdowns are often a telltale sign of marital discord. If meaningful conversations have become rare or if you find yourselves constantly arguing without resolving issues, that’s a problem.
- Emotional disconnection: When you feel emotionally detached from your partner and have little interest in each other’s lives, it can be a sign that you no longer feel supported, understood or valued. (And you, in turn, may no longer understand, value or support your spouse.)
- Loss of intimacy: Intimacy encompasses both physical and emotional closeness. Suppose you’ve noticed a significant decline in affection, sexual desire or the willingness to connect on a deeper emotional level. In that case, you and your spouse may have “moved on” psychologically from your union.
- Constant negativity: When you find yourselves constantly criticizing, blaming or belittling each other, and you can’t remember the last time you genuinely complimented or uplifted each other, that indicates that the relationship has reached a real breaking point.
- Loss of trust: Trust is the cornerstone of a strong and successful marriage. If your trust has been broken through infidelity, deception or betrayal, it can be impossible to rebuild a healthy relationship.
- Avoidance and withdrawal: If you’d rather be alone or seek companionship outside of the relationship (or your spouse is in that place), it suggests a significant disengagement from your marital bond.
- Resentment and unresolved conflicts: If one or both of you seem to be “stuck in the past” or stuck on old wounds, that can make it impossible to move forward and keep you in a constantly hostile situation.
- Feeling indifferent: On the flip side, the absence of strong emotions about negative aspects of your marriage can also be a death knell. If you feel indifferent toward your partner’s achievements or struggles (or even their very presence), that suggests a deep emotional disconnection from the marital bond.
These signs don’t necessarily mean that divorce is the only option. Couples therapy or counseling can be valuable resources for exploring and potentially resolving marital issues. However, recognizing these signs can help you make informed decisions about the future of your relationship and take steps to protect your legal interests.