How can you tell when a marriage is over? Anyone going through a divorce asks themselves this question. A very short definition is see if the bad outweighs the good. Think long and hard about that. A piece of paper with a good-bad column may help. If you think your partner may be ready to leave you there is probably something to that feeling. Investigate further. But if you are curious as to whether you may see the inside of a divorce courtroom sooner rather than later, see if these indicators fit your marriage. Here are some significant signs that a divorce is looming. Think about how you feel about your partner. Are they the number one stressor in your life? If they sometimes take your stress away, and the reason you want to leave or you think your spouse is considering leaving is that the relationship has become dull, look into ways to liven it up. Find places where you can reconnect. If you don’t know where to begin, start with nostalgia. Reminisce about old times. You’ll be surprised how they can renew a relationship. Then see where you want to go to liven things up. If your spouse is your stress, the source of anxiety, torment and frustration, perhaps an exit out is best.
When you dream about the future is your spouse in it? Everyone dreams of a time without their spouse once in a while, usually when we are in a fight with them, or they are just driving us crazy. But if you find yourself taking part in blissful fantasies where your spouse isn’t included, or they are blissful because they aren’t included, maybe it’s time to look for a lawyer. Has communication broken down? This is the only avenue to truly fix a relationship. From time to time we all get involved in a situation where one or both parties aren’t speaking to one another. But has this become the new normal in your relationship? If you are happier when a communication breakdown has taken place then this is a sign that things are rocky and you may be heading toward a split. When you spend time away from your spouse, how do you feel? Do you feel relieved? Overjoyed? Does it feel as though a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders? If so, this is a bad sign. If however you do tend to miss them after some time has gone by you may want to try and work things out. What is the level of negativity in the relationship? If things are ho-hum that’s one thing. If love is still there, things can be fixed. But if you two are trading barbs constantly, using passive-aggressive behavior, are sarcastic toward one another and take part in negative behavior often then divorce may be in your future. The eminent psychologist Dr. John Gottman who has studied happy couples has said that, to stay happy, for every negative comment you make in a relationship, you should say three positive things.
If you have powerful fantasies about divorcing and you find yourself doing so more often than not, you are really going to do it, sooner or later. This is your psyche testing out the idea on your conscious mind. Is your partner manipulative or controlling? Do they try to keep you away from others and all to themselves? It may feel good to be wanted in the beginning but this type of marriage can become a prison fast. If you feel like an accessory rather than the focus of your spouse’s life and nothing is going to change that, it’s time to fly. You want to be in a relationship of equal partners who care for and dote on one another, not the last thing on a person’s list. If your partner thinks they know better than you about everything, and want you to know it, it may feel fine for a while to have such structure in your life, but after a while you will chafe against such a restricting environment. Try to establish rules and boundaries. But if this doesn’t work and the person forever oversteps their bounds, it may just be time to move on with your life. For more on when it’s time to go versus when it’s time to work it out, read How to Know If It’s Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriage by Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverly Hyman.