The current divorce rate in the U.S. is 3.2 out of every 1,000 people — about 18% less than we’re used to hearing.
Regardless, the numbers are still prevalent and are even higher for those who married before 2008.
‘Til death do us part. . .
What once sounded like a sweet commitment may now look a little daunting. Is your marriage showing signs of a divorce in its future?
Some indicators are more detrimental than others, though.
If you think your once-happy marriage could be headed for a divorce, keep reading. We’ll cover the warning signs you should be aware of before signing any divorce papers.
1. You Feel Contempt for One Another
When it comes to communication in a marriage, many counselors cite four patterns as being significant warning signs of divorce: criticism, contempt, stonewalling, and defensiveness.
However, many professionals see one as being larger problem than the others: contempt.
Contempt is a visible warning sign fueled by “long-simmering negative thoughts about one’s partner.” If you or your partner are continually attacking the others’ sense of self, that may be a surefire sign you’re headed towards divorce.
Having moral superiority over your partner breeds a slew of negative emotions. This feeling slowly eats away at marriage, causing the love to virtually disappear.
Contempt shows itself in many ways, such as:
- Ignoring your partner
- Using harmful or hurtful body language
- Ignoring and/or forgoing intimacy
- Denying and refusing to give appreciation
- Being complacent in the marriage
If any of these are appearing in your marriage, divorce may not be too far beyond. This is especially considering that contempt typically takes years to develop.
By the time you recognize it, it’s already years in the making.
2. One Partner Is an Addict
Unfortunately, addiction and divorce are inextricably linked.
Studies show that an increase in the consumption of substances leads to a rise in the divorce rate — by an astounding 20%. And this makes sense when you consider that addiction is a “family disease.”
If your spouse is an addict, you’re likely facing the repercussions of it.
These burdens can appear in several ways: financially, emotionally, and otherwise. It’s common knowledge that addicts in relationships don’t make their spouse the priority they should. Love, commitment, and time together are lacking.
Additionally, you may struggle with being an enabler or wanting to stay away from your spouse altogether.
If your partner is an addict that’s unwilling to receive treatment, your marriage may be on the rocks.
3. You Can’t Get Past Infidelity
Sometimes, a marriage can survive an isolated incident of infidelity — over time, it may even make the couple stronger.
However, being married to a serial cheater is another story. If your partner consistently disregards your commitment, that’s a significant problem.
In fact, infidelity is one of the top reasons that couples divorce. In the United States, cheating accounts for a whopping 20-40% of divorces.
According to the National Institute of Health, one spouse in 88% of couples cites that infidelity was a crucial contributing factor to their divorce.
If your partner is a serial cheater, divorce may be the only option.
After all, you agreed to commit to one another, and blatant disregard for that commitment can have a slew of adverse effects. From lowered self-esteem to arguments, to lying and sneaking around, cheating is a tough and complex issue to navigate.
4. You Disagree on Fundamental Subjects
Having different likes when it comes to favorite meals or what color to paint the walls is one thing.
But if you disagree about significant life goals, your worlds may not mesh.
Perhaps one of you desperately wants to move while the other would like to stay put. Or maybe one of you can’t wait to have kids and start a family while the other prefers to remain a twosome.
These non-negotiables may be too big of a hurdle to get over. You each deserve to accomplish your life’s dreams and wishes, and if those don’t reflect each other, you may be better off splitting.
5. You’ve Already Tried Everything
Divorce shouldn’t be your first solution — it should be a last resort when you’ve already tried everything you could.
You wouldn’t want to go through the emotional and financial trauma of divorce only to regret your decision later and wish you’d stayed together.
Remember how excited and happy you were to get married in the first place?
Put those efforts into saving the marriage. Fully commit to marriage counseling, putting your partner first, and keeping the love alive.
But if you’ve already tried everything you could think of, and divorce is still a question looming in your head, only then is it time to consider a split.
What to Do if You See These Signs of a Divorce
Say you haven’t already tried everything you possibly can to save the marriage.
Before you figure out a divorce settlement, see if you can still salvage your partnership. Often, when two people get divorced, one of their biggest regrets is divorce.
First, see if the following can help you two keep the love alive:
- Seek professional help early — before contempt and resentment arise
- Make your marriage a priority
- Focus on each others’ happiness the way you did in the dating stage
- Prepare to work on your marriage on a daily basis
- Put divorce off the table for a while and really contemplate your relationship
- Recommit to the marriage
If you put all your resources into saving the marriage, rather than dissolving it, you two could have a chance at staying together.
Don’t rush into divorce. Give your marriage the attention, care, and love that it deserves.
Of course, if you’ve already done all this and more, you two may be better off apart.
‘Til Death Do Us Part?
No one deserves to be unhappy in a relationship, even one you committed to with all the best intentions.
As life happens, sometimes our marriages change in unexpected ways. If you’re facing signs of a divorce that feel like deal-breakers, it may be time to have that discussion with your spouse.
Whatever you do, we wish you the best of luck.
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