Is This the End? Are you struggling in an unhappy marriage? Do you wonder whether the challenges you’re facing in your marriage are “normal,” or whether they’re signs that you may be headed for divorce? While every marriage is unique, here are 15 signs your marriage will end in divorce, and you might want to pay attention and do your best to turn things around asap.
15 Signs Your Marriage will end in divorce
1. You Don’t Talk Anymore
If the only conversations you have with your spouse are about the kids, scheduling, or what to have for dinner, your marriage is in trouble. Real communication builds connection. Research by the Pew Research Center shows healthy couples engage in at least 5 hours of deep communication together per week.
2. Criticism Has Creeped Into Your Marriage … A Lot!
Constant criticism does not create loving feelings. If your spouse is always criticizing you (or vice versa) your interactions probably don’t make either one of you feel good about the other. What’s worse, criticism often leads to contempt (i.e. treating your spouse with disrespect, sarcasm, and ridicule.) According to the Gottman Institute, contempt is one of the biggest predictors of divorce.
3. Your Spouse Is Having An Affair That He Won’t End.
Two people make a marriage, but three people break it. If your spouse is cheating, chances are you already feel betrayed. You’ve lost trust in your partner and in your marriage. While it’s possible for a marriage to survive infidelity, it’s rare that it will survive when one spouse continues to have a relationship with someone outside the marriage.
4. The Intimacy Is Gone.
If you and your spouse aren’t physically intimate anymore, the bond between you will start to weaken. Your marriage will become vulnerable to affairs, especially if one of you looks to get your physical needs met outside of the marriage. What’s more, while a sexless marriage can survive, a marriage without any physical intimacy (hugging, kidding, holding hands) isn’t likely to survive for long. (Unless you like just being roommates.)
5. You Have Unresolved Resentment.
Holding onto grudges and not talking about what’s bothering you can poison a marriage. What’s more, it’s not just the big issues that cause problems. When you’re not honest with your partner about how you feel about little things, or you don’t say anything when your feelings get hurt, those little things start to add up. Over time, you build resentment towards your partner. Those resentments, in turn, erode the love you once felt for your partner. If you leave those resentments unresolved for long enough, they will ultimately destroy your marriage.
6. You Don’t Want To Spend Time Together Anymore.
Most people don’t want to spend 24/7/365 with anyone. But when you would rather be anywhere else than alone with your spouse, that’s NOT a good sign. People who are in strong marriages want to spend time together. They want to do fun things with each other. They want to share their lives together. If that’s no longer true for you and your spouse, that’s a definite sign that your marriage is in trouble.
7. You Find Yourself Daydreaming About Divorce … a Lot!
Happily married people don’t spend their time thinking about divorce. They don’t daydream about what it would be like to be with someone else – or to just be alone! So if you notice that you’re thinking about divorce often, that’s a sure-fire sign that you’re not happily married.
8. You disagree about important values like religion, politics, and childrearing.
One sad side effect of the pandemic is that people have become more polarized around politics and social issues. That polarization is difficult to deal with on a societal level. But when it exists in your own marriage, it’s a real problem. Suddenly you feel like you can’t trust your spouse anymore. You may even feel like you don’t know your spouse anymore. The bottom line is that when you’ve got seriously different values than your spouse, your marriage is in for a rough ride.
9. You Don’t Fight Fair.
Put any two people together for any length of time and they’re bound to have disagreements about something at some point. The same is true of every married couple on the planet. What matters, though, is NOT that you and your spouse agree about everything. What matters is that when you disagree, you discuss your disagreement in a rational, productive way. If all of your arguments involve screaming, name-calling, threats, or violence your marriage is in trouble.
10. You Have Nothing in Common Anymore.
If you and your spouse aren’t interested in the same things anymore, and you don’t like to do anything together, your marriage is going to suffer. While it’s totally normal for people to develop different interests over time, if you’re going to stay happily married, then it’s important that you and your husband continue to share some interest, hobbies, or activities. (Just sharing an interest in your kids is NOT enough! You need more than just the kids to hold your marriage together – especially once they’re grown and gone!)
11. One Of You (or BOTH of You!) Suffer From Untreated Mental Illness, Addiction, Or Personality Disorders.
Substance abuse, addiction, and mental illness all place an immense strain on a marriage. They cause the person who suffers with them to engage in behaviors that damage relationships and destroy trust. If you or your spouse suffers with any of these conditions, it’s critical that you get professional help to resolve your issue as soon as possible.
12. Marriage Counseling Hasn’t Worked (or Your Spouse Won’t Go).
Every relationship struggles from time to time. The most important thing that separates a struggling marriage that’s doomed to explode from one that has a chance of repairing itself is whether both people in the marriage are willing to work to keep it together. What’s more, if the problems in your marriage run deep, or have existed for any length of time, you probably need professional help to resolve them. If that help hasn’t helped, or if your spouse won’t go with you to get help, the future of your marriage isn’t particularly bright.
13. You’re Only Staying Together Because of the Kids (or Money!)
If the only (or the main!) reason you’re staying together is because of something OTHER THAN the fact that you love and want to be with your spouse, you’ve got a problem. When you stay together “for the kids” or because “we can’t afford to get divorced” you’re not CHOOSING your marriage. All you’re choosing is not to get divorced. (…or, more accurately, not to get divorced right now!) Once your kids are grown or money becomes less tight, your marriage will fall apart and you’ll either end up getting a divorce, or living a life while you feel dead inside.
14. Loss of Friendship.
A truly successful marriage is built on friendship. Love alone isn’t enough. You and your spouse have to actually LIKE each other, not just LOVE each other in order to make your marriage work long term. When life happens, and you start to lose your friendship, your marriage will inevitably suffer. If you find that you no longer like your spouse, or you no longer trust your spouse, and you’re not “friends,” that’s a sign that your marriage is headed in the wrong direction.
15. You Want Vastly Different Things.
If you and your spouse have grown apart and have totally different ideas about what you want your life to be like, that’s a problem. If you want to live in different places, or you want to have completely different lifestyles, you have to either find a way to compromise, or your marriage is going to have problems.
If your marriage suffers from any of these signs of trouble, don’t despair! Understanding that there’s a problem is the first step toward finding a solution. If you and your spouse are willing to be honest with each other, and to work to keep the relationship alive, you have a great chance of keeping your marriage together.
Getting professional help can make a huge difference. But fundamentally it’s your desire to stay together and do the work to make your marriage stronger that will make all the difference.