There are few things in life that are as difficult to deal with as a longstanding marriage that’s in serious trouble. When you’ve spent so many years giving so much of your love and yourself to your spouse and built a life together, it can seem unthinkable that it could ever end, no matter what.
You think there just can’t be a scenario where the two of you would part; at least that’s how it’s supposed to be, right? Unfortunately, things don’t always work out that way. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and see things objectively and as they really are, and not just how we’d like to think they could be. The writing may be on the wall even after all of these years, but we may not read it if we are standing too close, or worse yet, living with our eyes closed. There are many warning signs that could indicate that your marriage may be headed for divorce.
Here are some to consider.
1.You can’t talk anymore.
Of course, the biggest, most obvious symptom that your marriage is in trouble is, “We just don’t talk anymore.” Most people don’t want to fight, but if one or both of you can’t manage to raise difficult issues, or difficult conversations, then you have a failure to communicate and, without assistance, your marriage cannot survive. Burying your head in the sand may put the hurt off for a little while, but it will come back many times over further down the line. It’s better to deal with problems sooner rather than later.
2.When your friends take precedence.
We all want to get out of the house from time to time. Friends are important to us all, but your spouse is usually your best friend. If either of you find that you’d rather be somewhere else with other people more often than spending time with your spouse, then something is wrong. If he’s constantly golfing with the guys and she’s always playing cards with the girls, and neither of you want to do anything with the other, you need to examine why.
3.You feel disrespected.
Sometimes the little things can turn into big things. In any relationship there can be things that make someone feel disrespected. Sometimes it’s an intentional behavior, but it can also be something that the other person isn’t even aware of as being offensive. This can be magnified when there is a lack of communication and consideration. If you don’t both think about how your behavior affects your spouse, and if you don’t let each other know when something bothers you, you can find yourself with a bigger problem than you know what to do with. Before it’s too late, be honest and talk about your feelings. If you simply feel unable to do so on your own, enlist the aid of a family therapist to talk through the issues.
4.You’re bored and unenthusiastic.
You may not always lay awake all night thinking about your spouse like you did when you first started dating, but if your heart has gone from a pounding river dance to a quiet soft-shoe routine when you see them then it may be a bad sign. You don’t need to live a life of adventure to be enthusiastic about your marriage. A transition from traveling the world to cuddling on the couch watching a movie can be okay, but if you’d be just as happy dozing off to The Late Late Show alone, then you need to find out why you’re not so excited anymore.
5.You feel obligated.
Some people know they should be separated but feel obligated to stay with their partner. Maybe you’re taking care of your spouse or he or she is your primary caregiver. Maybe it’s a financial reason that keeps you with him or her. Maybe you’re doing it for the kids. Remember, happy couples aren’t together over an obligation. They’re together because they genuinely want to be.
6. Lack of trust.
This is one of the biggest red flags in a marriage. If you are always wondering what your partner is doing or who they are spending time with when you’re not around, there is a serious lack of trust going on. Trust is one of the key ingredients to a successful relationship. Without it, you’ll never move forward and have a successful relationship.
7.You believe things will change in time.
A big one I hear in divorce counseling is, “I thought he would change in time.” Or, “I thought once we had grandkids or retired it would all get better.” He or she is not going to change. In fact, those imperfections you can’t stand are more than likely going to get worse. There will come a point where you’ll need to be honest with yourself and decide whether or not it’s time to walk away. It’s not better to drag on with a miserable marriage.
Sometimes in life there will be pain that can’t be avoided, but it’s usually best to face the pain head-on and work through it. If we put it off, we will still feel it, and prolong it. If your marriage is in trouble and you think it can be saved, then that is wonderful. Please get all the help you can. However, if it really is beyond repair, then it is better to end on the best possible terms. If you’re both unhappy, you wouldn’t want to keep you or your spouse in that situation.
Main Image: Mike Reardon via Flickr
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