8 secret signs your marriage is headed for divorce
You disagree about whether to have kids
You likely discussed the topic of having children before you got hitched, but feelings may change. Maybe you feel kids will get in the way of your career or your spouse wants to give up trying after fertility issues have made starting or adding to a family difficult. Di Meglio suggests putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Figure out why he or she doesn’t want a baby and what’s motivating the argument. Persuasion isn’t the answer either. It’s unfair if you’re trying to talk someone into or out of a desire to have kids, says marriage consultant, Lesli M. W. Doares. “Parenting is hard enough when both people are on board,” Doares says. “Being talked into it will only create resentment.”
You’re spending less and less time together
You don’t have to be attached at the hip 24/7. But you should want to spend your free time with one another and enjoy being with your partner more than anyone else (most of the time). It’s perfectly fine to binge-watch a television show, surf the Internet on your phone, get lost in a book, work late, or socialise without your spouse. But consider if you’re using these activities as a distraction – to the point that it feels like a relief not to be together – from dealing with any issues in your marriage, one of the signs of divorce. “Creating regular time to be together as a couple and doing things that are fun is critical for a lasting, successful marriage,” says Doares.
You’re not putting in the work to improve your marriage
Both spouses need to put forth equal effort to make the relationship work. One person can’t go it alone. “If you lack the motivation to work on your marriage, to address issues that are cracking away at your relationship, then you have to figure out why,” says Di Meglio. “Often, the lack of motivation is an indication that something has been lost. It doesn’t mean you can’t get it back, but you have to dedicate yourself to figuring out why you’re feeling disenchanted and uninterested.”
You lack respect for one another
It starts with an innocent complaint, says Doares, like: “You didn’t do the dishes.” Then it morphs to more general criticism: “You never help around the house.” Then it evolves into a personality judgment: “You’re a selfish, lazy slob.” “This doesn’t happen overnight, but it gradually chips away at the foundation of your marriage,” says Doares. If you put one another down or constantly criticise one another, this may be one of the signs of divorce. “If you don’t respect the person, then you’ll have a hard time liking him or her, let alone loving him or her,” says Di Meglio. Think about whether something was said or done that made you lose respect, she adds. “Both people must be committed to earning back the respect, changing the questionable behaviour and communicating better,” says Di Meglio. “If that’s not possible or too much damage has been done, the marriage won’t last.”
Your partner is a serial cheater
Some couples can recover and move on from a marital stray, even making their marriage more united after one partner cheated. “Couples can survive an isolated affair,” says Doares. However, a serial cheater who has multiple affairs likely has a problem you can’t fix. “The only way to get over a betrayal – emotional or physical – is to earn back trust by not cheating ever again,” says Di Meglio. “If this is a pattern of behaviour, then you’ll never earn back the trust.” Some people just can’t be monogamous and aren’t cut out for marriage. Doares reminds people not to blame themselves. “This isn’t about you, but about your partner’s refusal to fully participate in your marriage,” she says.
You’re no longer intimate
We’re not saying you have to be all over one another like honeymooners, but a lack of chemistry is one of the signs of divorce. “The chemistry we feel for a spouse can ebb and flow for many reasons,” says Cathy W. Meyer, the About.com Divorce Support Expert. “It’s not unusual in a marriage to go through periods where we feel a lack of desire for our spouse.” When someone is sick or you have young kids, it’s natural to be less intimate. Even as you age, you might not want to be as physical as you once were. “But if you’re no longer intimate and this is consistent, you have to ask yourselves why,” says Di Meglio. “This is an even bigger problem if one of you wants sex and the other doesn’t.” A lack of physical affection means you’re in a platonic relationship. “Couples cease to be lovers and become roommates and business partners,” says Doares. “But that’s not the reason most of us get married.”
You argue about the same things over and over
It’s common for people to argue about the same issue throughout their marriage, says Feuerman. “This might lead to divorce if you let the arguments seriously escalate, fight dirty, shut down and refuse to talk, or excessively blame,” says Feuerman. You may need to compromise and do some give and take to put an end to the constant battles and differences. “It’s been my experience that couples get caught in a cycle of the same-old drama because they’ve lost interest in each other and the health of their relationship,” says Meyer.
This article originally appeared on Reader’s Digest.