In some cases, couples can pin down the exact moment when they knew their marriage was over. This is most likely to happen when factors like substance abuse, infidelity and domestic violence – the three top reasons for divorce, according to a study – are at play. But not all marriages snap like a chord, some getting stretched thin like a string until they reach a breaking point. These 15 signs your marriage will end in divorce shine the spotlight on instances where a separation builds up slowly, often taking both spouses unawares.
Do you find yourself wondering whether or not you and your spouse will make good on the promise of till death do us part? Have been worried that you’re drifting apart just a little bit more every day? Are you losing sleep over whether your problems are normal or an ominous indicator of a marriage falling apart?
Start paying attention to the small stuff. The little aberrations that you have been letting slide for sake of happiness and harmony at home. Sometimes the most seemingly harmless irritants in a marriage can be the warning signs of divorce.
15 Subtle Yet Strong Signs Your Marriage Will End In Divorce
It takes a lot of consistent effort and continuous work to make a marriage work. Think of it as something akin to growing a garden in your backyard. You have to till the soil, prune the leaves, pull out the weeds consistently for the flowers to emerge. Your marriage is no different.
The moment you become lax or start taking things for granted, cracks begin to take hold. If left unattended, these cracks can be your marriage’s undoing. Losing a once loving relationship because you ignored the signs of divorce will result in one of the most painful experiences anyone can have in their life.
Chances are, all the subtle signs of divorce in marriage you see are fixable, all they require are a little mending, much like the blossoming flowers in your backyard. The early warning signs of divorce don’t look as dramatic as they do in the movies, all it takes is your partner to lose a bit of respect for you before the relationship loses its powerful foundation.
There’s no real answer to “what is the first sign of divorce?” The answer ranges from relationship to relationship, and first signs are often overlooked by partners who know something may well be wrong but don’t even want to entertain the thought of a divorce. When you’re in denial that the signs of divorce could ever become something more than just signs, you’ve lost half the battle already.
Don’t let the absence of obvious red flags make you become complacent. If you feel even remotely restless or dissatisfied, pay attention to these 15 signs your marriage will end in divorce:
1. A change in affection levels
According to research carried out at the University of Texas, too much affection at the beginning of a marriage can be a harbinger of distress and differences later on. If the expressions of love and affection peak during the first year or two of the marriage, it can be hard to sustain them in the long run. As the level of affection declines, it hampers the stability of the bond between a couple, putting them at risk of divorce.
This is one of the key indicators that your marriage will end in divorce, according to science. Instead of showering your spouse with all your love right in the beginning, you must commit to sustaining healthy communication and being invested in each other throughout.
It may be hard to keep a lid on your infatuation-induced love spikes during the honeymoon phase, but it’s always good practice to not make empty promises and not shower love you can’t continue. Who knew showing too much love would one day be construed as one of the signs of divorce in the future?
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2. Being riddled with suspicion
Let’s say you plan a romantic surprise for your spouse, and they react with, “What have you done now?” Or your spouse offers to do the dishes after dinner, and instead of appreciating them for their thoughtfulness, you say, “Don’t think you can trick me into making love to you by doing this.”
Such instinctive displays of suspicion are indicative of underlying trust issues in a marriage. These reactions may be triggered by certain past experiences. Nonetheless, it points to a weak foundation, which qualifies as one of the warning signs of divorce.
3. Unaligned expectations
If you and your spouse entered into marriage with mismatched or unaligned expectations, it can prove to be a recipe for disaster. For instance, one of you expects that you’d do everything together now that you’re married, but the other values personal space and alone time. This small difference in expectations can become the reason for divorce within one year of marriage or even years later.
That’s why premarital planning and discussion serve as the bedrock on which to build the foundation of a strong marriage. Having a conversation with your spouse so you can make sure none of you have any unrealistic expectations is important if you wish to not have any signs of divorce in your life.
4. Making jokes at each other’s expense
It’s completely okay to pull your spouse’s leg or crack a joke about their quirks or habits once in a while. But if it becomes a pattern for one partner to constantly make jokes at the other’s expense, it can spell doom for your marital bond in the long run.
Every time your spouse makes light of your flaws or faults, it’ll cause you to resent them a little. You may even resort to doing the same to give them a taste of their medicine. Do this dance long enough and a passive-aggressive dynamic takes hold in the relationship.
This resentment and passive-aggressiveness can threaten the future of your marriage.
5. A widening communication gap
Poor communication is undoubtedly one of the top reasons for divorce. When you’re living together, day after day, for years on end, making the effort and time to facilitate healthy communication might take a back seat. This is what causes couples to ‘grow apart’.
You cannot read your spouse’s mind and they can’t yours. So, take the time to talk about everything from bills to chores, feelings, accomplishments, failures, fears and vulnerabilities. In absence of it, you’re bound to become out of sync with each other, which ultimately takes a toll on your marriage.
6. You stop exploring each other
When you have been married for years, it is natural to assume that you know your partner inside out. It may even be true to a large extent. However, people continue to change and evolve, and you can’t claim to know anyone – including your spouse and children – 100%.
Once you stop making an effort to learn new things or explore new sides to each other, the spark and love begin to die down. It’s near impossible for a marriage to survive in the absence of these two things. You don’t want to find yourself one day noticing your spouse dancing to music s/he never listened to before, eating something you’ve never seen them eat.
Even if that happens, look at it this way: instead of it being one of the signs you’re on the verge of a divorce, it’s an opportunity to get to know your partner better. Walk up to them and joke about the cranberry muffin you’ve never seen them touch before and ask, “Excuse me, have you seen my spouse somewhere?”
Related Reading: How To Tell Your Husband You Want A Divorce?
7. Financial infidelity
Financial infidelity is also one of the top reasons for divorce. If you and your spouse have trouble talking about money without it turning into a big fight or have started concealing financial facts from each other, consider it one of the 15 signs your marriage will end in divorce.
If you’re looking for ways to catch financial infidelity, think about if you know of the expenditure of your partner’s money. Where does their money go? Where is the income coming from? It might just stem from communication problems you two face with each other, or a lack of respect wherein your partner thinks it’s not important to tell you of the financial information.
Dishonesty about money – be it secret spending or building assets without each other’s knowledge – can lead to serious trust issues in your marriage. A lack of trust, combined with a shaky monetary situation, makes for a cocktail of marital disaster. Consider it one of the biggest signs of divorce.
8. You enjoy your time apart
It’s one thing to take some personal time every now and then to rejuvenate and unwind but if you and your spouse have started enjoying spending time apart than together, it’s a sign of trouble in paradise. One of the signs your husband is thinking of divorce could be if he’d rather do anything else/give you the silent treatment when inquired about any aspect of the relationship. Instead of wanting to deal with it, he may want to escape the situation altogether.
There could be myriad reasons behind this. Perhaps, you have some unresolved issues and not being together offers the perfect escape from addressing the elephant in the room. Or you’ve drifted apart to an extent that you can’t find any common ground to connect over. Whatever the reason, unless you make sincere efforts to find happiness in being together, there is no way you can make the marriage last.
Related Reading: Is Divorce by Mutual Consent a More Dignified Way of Parting Ways?
9. You talk over one another
If you and your spouse tend to cut each other off mid-sentence or talk over each other – especially during arguments and fights – it points to a lack of respect in the relationship. Two partners who cannot respect one another can rarely find a way to stay together.
If you’re looking for an answer to “what is the first sign of divorce in a marriage?” it may well be talking over each other. Over time, this can lead to unbridled resentment in the marriage, which ultimately takes a toll on your bond. If you’re guilty of doing this more often than not, consider it as one of the 15 signs your marriage will end in divorce.
10. A lack of intimacy
According to the New York Times, 15% of marriages in the US are devoid of sexual intimacy. On its own lack of sex in a marriage may not be a red flag, especially in older couples. But when triggered by other underlying factors, it becomes a cause for concern.
For instance, the risk of sexless marriages and divorce can be high, if you and your spouse have stopped being intimate due to a history of cheating. Or if one partner begins to withhold sex as a form of punishment or revenge. Resorting to such extreme measures in hopes of conflict resolution only indicates that your relationship suffers from some substantial communication problems.
Signs of divorce in marriage aren’t always as easy to spot as a lack of physical intimacy, but even something as glaring as this can be ignored by both partners. Don’t let your wishful thinking overlook signs of divorce like these.
11. You vilify each other
Let’s say you and your spouse are going through a rough patch, resulting in a lot of clashes, fights and disagreements. Naturally, this is bound to cause hurt and pain to both parties. However, if either one or both partners start vilifying the other in front of the other – be it your children, family or friends – it’s a sign that you have stopped caring about your marriage and your spouses.
Your problems have become too big for you to be able to contain them anymore. Once you start airing your dirty linen in public, there is little hope left for your marriage. Disrespecting each other regardless of who’s watching is one of the glaring signs you’re on the verge of a divorce.
Related Reading: 13 Things To Do When Your Husband Ignores You
12. A need to win arguments
While it is natural to want to have the final word in an argument, the desire to win arguments even at the cost of your relationship is a worrying sign. It indicates that you view your spouse, not as a partner but as an adversary and don’t see eye-to-eye with them on most issues.
In such situations, your compelling desire to win can cause fights to linger on for days, weeks or even months. This naturally eliminates any room for compromises and adjustments. When you fight more and accommodate less, the foundation of your marriage begins to weaken, day by day. Eventually, bringing you to a point where staying together is just not an option.
13. You don’t appreciate the little things
It is not the grand gestures or important relationship milestones that make a relationship great. It’s the little things you do for each other, day in and day out, that count. Be it a ritual of making breakfast for your spouse every day or them bringing you coffee in bed. Couples in successful marriages take the time to savor and appreciate these little gestures.
But if nothing you do is good enough for your spouse – or vice versa – it is an indicator that you neither appreciate nor value each other anymore. This is clearly one of the 15 signs your marriage will end in divorce.
14. You stop talking about the future
While it may be hard to say which year of marriage is divorce most common, you can tell that you’re at the fag end of your marital journey if you stop planning a future together. The whole idea behind marrying someone is to build a life with them.
As such, conversations about what your life would be like five years down the line or where you’d live post-retirement are normal in a healthy marriage. Chances are, if you’ve reached the stage where you’d much rather not discuss the future with your spouse, you’re internalizing signs of divorce that will turn ugly in the future.
If you and your spouses haven’t discussed the distant future in a while, it could well be because subconsciously you don’t see a future together. That’s a classic sign of a failing marriage.
15. You give up on your marriage
This doesn’t necessarily have to be something as dramatic as packing your bags and leaving the house. Not making efforts to communicate, connect, reach out, make time for each other, show affection, plan date nights are also ways in which you can give up your spouse and your marriage.
It’s a sign that you have checked out emotionally and don’t care about what becomes of your marriage. The only thing left for you to do is get a lawyer and make it official.
Spotting a majority of these 15 signs your marriage will end in divorce can be unsettling and unnerving. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all hope is lost. If you and your spouse are willing to give your marriage another chance despite these obvious issues, you can consider going into couples’ therapy. The right help is only a click away.
In the US, about 40 to 50% of marriages end in divorce. Noticing early warning signs of divorce can help reduce this number if you know what to look for. The signs of divorce often include lack of respect, lack of intimacy and communication gaps.
Incompatibility is a leading reason for divorce, followed by infidelity and money issues. Not being able to talk to each other because of communication barriers/manifested anger towards each other point toward divorce.
There are a host of reasons that can cause a married couple to drift apart and separate. However, contempt for each other is one of the key predictors that a marriage will end in divorce.
It is hard to pinpoint a single reason for divorce, as each relationship is unique. However, incompatibility, unrealistic expectations, resentment, growing apart, not respecting each other are some of the reasons that drive a wedge between couples.