5 Signs You Might Be Headed for a Divorce

Marriage is complicated, and even a married couple in a healthy relationship is bound to experience some ups and downs. Unfortunately, when a marriage is headed for the rocks, many spouses are thrown off-guard, even though there were some glaring warning signs. 

This begs the question: How do you know if you’re just experiencing one of those up-and-down marital moments that you’ll bounce back from? Should you be paying more attention to the way you and your spouse interact in your relationship?

Is your marriage in trouble?

Destructive patterns in a relationship eat away at the harmony that once existed. If you spot the early signs of these patterns, you may be able to address them before it’s too late and you find yourself considering a divorce.

Signs you might be headed for divorce

A happy marriage doesn’t just suddenly end in a vacuum. Usually, there are years of small inequities and injustices that add up over time. Bit by bit, the fraying fabric becomes a hole that gets larger and larger. Resentment sets in. Before you know it, one or both of you have had enough. 

But what would have happened if you had recognized and addressed the issues when they were just seedlings?

Let’s take a closer look at some of these potential issues.

1. Lack of respect 

When you value someone, you treat them with care and respect. And when a relationship is shiny and new, it’s easy to be respectful and caring. 

But as you spend more time together, you may begin to notice things that get under your skin. You may fall into a pattern of conflict and criticism. Some people hide behind little passive-aggressive comments because they think these comments communicate frustration without being outright mean.

But the last thing spouses accept well is incessant criticism from each other, no matter how “constructive” they are. One or both spouses often end up feeling neglected and disrespected. 

2. Lack of intimacy

Life is busy, and there are only so many hours in a day. Stress. Kids. Work. It can be so overwhelming. And during overload, emotional and sexual intimacy can go right out the window. 

When life gets overwhelming, spouses often end up feeling more like roommates than loving partners. But intimacy is part of a healthy marriage, and it’s what keeps spouses connected when the outside world becomes too much. Before you know it, both of you are feeling alone and uncared for, living parallel lives without intimacy.

Remember that intimacy isn’t just about your sex life. Holding hands, cuddling, and spending time talking about your lives are also intimate actions.

3. Lack of effort

Studies show that one of the most common causes of divorce is a lack of commitment and effort. When commitment is gone, it often leads to other bigger problems, such as infidelity.

While you may think that marriage should be easy, it takes work anytime two different people come together to share a life. If you or your spouse aren’t willing to put in the extra effort to prioritize your relationship, it can easily begin to veer off course. 

It’s important to understand that spouses can feel valued in different ways, depending on each person’s point of view and what is important to them. Your effort may be as simple as asking about their day, thanking them for doing the dishes, or planning a simple date night at the local pizza place. Conscious small efforts can make a big difference in any marriage. 

4. Lack of compromise

Although you’re a couple who share kids, a home, and important goals, you’re still two separate people. You each have your own opinions and needs. Sometimes, these opinions and needs are at odds with the other person.

Compromise is the give-and-take of any good relationship. When that becomes lopsided, it can be a huge red flag. As a marriage begins to unravel, one person might take on more of the “giver” role to keep the peace as the other person takes more and more. Ultimately, the giver feels taken advantage of and resents always having to be the one who gives in. 

Compromise requires sacrifice, respect, and communication. When that’s gone, a marriage suffers.

5. Domestic violence or abuse

Domestic abuse is a total and utter lack of respect in a marriage. Unfortunately, nearly 20% of all marriages and intimate relationships suffer some form of physical abuse, and even more suffer emotional abuse. Whether a spouse exhibits excessive jealousy and controlling behaviors or physical violence, nobody deserves to live in an abusive relationship.

If your relationship has escalated to physical violence and you are afraid for yourself and your children, your safety is paramount. You will need to orchestrate your exit carefully. There is help available to you. (Domestic violence hotline phone number: 1-800-799-7233. Or, text START to 88788.)

Don’t take chances with your life. Get help now.

Read: What Domestic Abuse Victims Need to Know about Leaving and Divorce

At Hello Divorce, we know there are many reasons why couples end up seeking a divorce. Some relationship problems are very complicated, but some are simple and fixable if recognized and addressed early enough. If you have tried it all and divorce still seems inevitable, your next steps don’t have to be expensive and adversarial. We offer online divorce plans and other professional services to help you move toward a new and better life. Schedule a free 15-minute call, and let us help you with your next step. 

Divorce Content Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Mental Health
Candice is a former paralegal and has spent the last 16 years in the digital landscape, writing website content, blog posts, and articles for the legal industry. Now, at Hello Divorce, she is helping demystify the complex legal and emotional world of divorce. Away from the keyboard, she’s a devoted wife, mom, and grandmother to two awesome granddaughters who are already forces to be reckoned with. Based in Florida, she’s an avid traveler, painter, ceramic artist, and self-avowed bookish nerd.