If you feel like you’re losing a once loving marriage, it may be because you ignored the signs of divorce. It could result in one of the most painful experiences you’ll have in life.
Chances are, all the subtle signs of a looming divorce in marriage are fixable. They just require attention.
Here are some early warning signs your marriage will end in divorce.
Let’s dive in.
Early Warning Signs Your Marriage Will End In Divorce
1. Levels Of Affection Change
According to research carried out at the University of Texas, too much affection at the beginning of a marriage can bring distress and differences later on.
If expressions of love and affection peak during the first year or two of the marriage, it can be hard to sustain them for the long haul. As the level of affection declines, it leaves a void that longs to be filled somehow.
Work more on sustaining healthy communication and being invested in knowing each other throughout.
2. Suspicious Minds
Out of all the signs your marriage will end in divorce, this may be the most correctable.
Let’s say you plan a romantic surprise for your spouse, and the reaction is, “What have you done now?”
Or your spouse offers to do the dishes after dinner, and rather than appreciating their thoughtfulness, you say, “Doing this won’t trick me into making love to you.”
Such displays of suspicion indicate underlying trust issues in a marriage.
3. Mismatched Expectations
Entering into marriage with mismatched expectations can prove to be a recipe for disaster.
For instance, one of you expects that you’d do everything together, yet the other values personal space and alone time more. When you’re not on the same page, marriage can end in divorce.
Resentment and animosity are created in a marriage where you haven’t communicated your needs and expectations, yet still expect your partner to fulfill them somehow.
Whether it’s substances, gambling, overworking, or sex, addictive behavior is a deal breaker and sign of a permanent split.
In the end, substances take up massive chunks of time and space in your life, leaving nothing for the family.
If you notice any signs of substance abuse in your marriage, contact professional help or family therapist.
5. Jokes At Each Other’s Expense
If one person has a pattern of constantly making jokes at the other’s expense, it can spell doom in the long run and might even signify the end of your marriage is near.
Every time your spouse makes light of your flaws or faults, it can cause resentment and diminished trust. You may even resort to doing the same to give them a taste of their medicine.
If this goes on long enough and a passive-aggressive dynamic takes hold it can threaten the future of your marriage. Seek help with a mental health professional as it can affect your mental wellbeing.
6. Complete Lack Of Interest
Things go wrong when partners share nothing or when they are not interested in whatever excites their partner. If you constantly look for reasons to be anywhere but with your partner, your marriage is in trouble.
If you always have plans with your friends, or extra work, or a hobby you’re devoting all your evenings and weekends to, try to understand why you want to avoid them and work on this so it can lead to a good marriage.
7. Growing Communication Gap
Poor communication is undoubtedly one of the obvious signs for divorce. When living together, or separated, making the effort and time to facilitate healthy communication might take a back seat.
You cannot read each other’s mind.
So, it’s crucial to take the time to talk about everything from bills to chores, feelings, accomplishments, failures, fears, and vulnerabilities.
8. Stop Learning About Each Other
When you’ve been in a long term relationship, it can be natural to assume you know your loved one inside out. It may even be true to a large extent.
However, people continue to change and evolve, so you can’t claim to know anyone fully. Without making an effort to learn new things about each other, boredom can set in.
You don’t want to find yourself one day noticing your wife dancing to music she’s never listened to before, or your husband’s eating something you’ve never seen him eat. It’s an opportunity to get to know your partner better.
9. Feeling Lonely
When one person in the marriage is emotionally distant and often finds excuses not to be together, the other one naturally feels lonely and abandoned.
This situation can create a vicious circle of evasion and solitude. So, if you find yourself in this situation, don’t just sit on the sidelines – talk to them. It might just be a misunderstanding.
Perhaps some external situation is consuming all your partner’s energy, and they actually need your support.
10. Financial Issues
If you two have a big fight when talking about money or have started concealing financial facts from each other, consider it one of the signs your marriage will end in divorce.
Dishonesty about money – whether it’s secret spending or building assets without each other’s knowledge – can lead to serious trust issues in your marriage.
11. Lack Of Emotional Intimacy
If you feel you’ve both lost the ability to connect, this could be one of the signs your marriage is heading for divorce.
You used to talk and pay attention to each other. Perhaps you’ve lost mutual respect or the ability to show empathy towards one another. Empathy is the ability to see and feel things from the other person’s point of view.
12. Lack Of Sexual Intimacy
On its own, lack of sex in a marriage may not be a red flag, however, when it’s triggered by other underlying factors, it becomes a cause for concern.
If emotional intimacy is an issue, chances are your physical intimacy is suffering too. Emotional and physical intimacy are linked. If you no longer connect emotionally, your physical contact will inevitably suffer as well.
For satisfying sexual intimacy, you must feel heard, understood and respected.
13. Mental Divorce
A mental divorce is finding yourself daydreaming about living alone or even with someone else. If you or your partner begins to dream about this often, this is a reason to resort to marriage counseling with a relationship expert.
If your spouse’s presence is a reason your stomach is like a tight knot and your heart is like a heavy stone, these are signs your body gives you to suggest that you can’t stay in this relationship as is anymore.
And similarly, if you feel better without your spouse around (feeling relaxed and enjoying your life more), you should think about why you’re having these relationship struggles.
14. Unhealed Wounds
Re-hashing problems from the past can make your spouse feel like you’re keeping score or holding grudges.
Without taking the time to address problems as they arise, the energy of that problem festers. The pain can never heal until you address the problem together.
Unfortunately, unaddressed issues and old hurts don’t just go away. They can spiral out of control. Discussing problems and taking responsibility for your part in it is one key to a successful marriage.
15. Talking 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. Without respect a couple can rarely find a way to stay together.
Your anger doesn’t let you see what you’re doing or what they’re going through. If it happens over and over, it really requires being addressed.
16. Vilifying Each Other
If you’re going through a rough patch in your marriage, resulting in a lot of clashes, fights and disagreements, it can be a natural phase of growth.
Or, one starts vilifying the other – especially in front of others – it can mean impending divorce because you’ve stopped caring about your marriage and your spouse.
Your problems have become too big for you to be able to contain them anymore and you may benefit with professional help.
A Gottman Method counselor or life coach encourages couples to reach middle ground and stay married or to an amicable exit strategy.
17. The Little Things
Grand gestures are wonderful, however, important relationship milestones making a relationship great are the little things you do for each other, day in and day out.
Making breakfast for your spouse, bringing them coffee or complimenting them, just because.
If, however, those compliments that used to light them up are now not enough, etc., it’s a sign of unhappiness in the marriage.
If nothing you do is good enough for your spouse – or vice versa – it’s an indicator that you neither appreciate nor value each other anymore.
18. Giving Up
If one of you have stopped making efforts to communicate, connect, reach out, make time for each other, show affection, and plan date nights, they’re a sign you’ve given up on your spouse and your marriage.
You might want to check in with yourself and find out if that’s really the case for you and how you’d like to communicate that with your spouse.
19. Arguing – All The Time Or Not At All
Arguments can be productive for a married couple as long as there’s respect by both people and a willing ear to listen. They’re inevitable in any relationship.
If you find yourself arguing with your spouse all the time and picking at every little thing, it’s time to remember why you chose to marry this person. You can make a list of things you appreciate about them.
A lack of respect and using sarcasm, criticism and accusations while talking to your partner will probably lead to more problems.
20. Unhealed Wounds
Re-hashing problems from the past can make your spouse feel like you are keeping score or holding grudges.
Conversely, if you don’t take the time to address problems as they arise, you can do just as much damage. The pain is unlikely to heal until you address the problem together.
Unfortunately, unaddressed issues and old hurts can spiral out of control. Discussing problems is one key to making a marriage work. If things get heated, take a pause. Return later and actively work to heal those wounds and reconnect.
21. Seeing Only The Dark Side
Even a healthy relationship has its ups and downs and even doubts from time to time, whether they’ve made the right choice and married “the one.” However, there are always more positive things to think about.
When a marriage is falling apart, everything is the opposite. Partners see the past, the present, and the future of their relationship only in shades of gray. This extreme lens doesn’t allow them to see all the good things about their marriage.
Perceptions can be changed, though! Appreciation and gratitude are skills you can develop in yourself. Try to identify two good things about your relationship for every negative one.
What Are The Signs Of A Failing Marriage?
Till death do you part is not always the case, sometimes it’s better that certain marriages end.
A number of things can weave a path straight to divorce, like not putting in the effort to compromise, shutting down emotionally, pushing your partner away, and even seeking intimacy from an outside partner.
Here are some common more subtle signs:
1. Lack Of Intimacy
Even a healthy marriage goes through dry spells, but sometimes it’s more than that. A sign your marriage is failing is when there’s a lack of interest in sex without communicating about it, doing anything about it, or they are in very different places on it.
2. Doubting Yourself
When your partner no longer prioritizes you — or worse, devalues you — self-doubt can creep in. This can leave you feeling insignificant and doubting yourself, leading to mental health issues.
What’s worse is feeling like everything is your fault. If your spouse has left you feeling this way too often, it could be an indication that they no longer want to be in a relationship.
3. Very Different People
Some people get divorced because one or both spouses have grown in different ways and they aren’t the same person they were when they got married. You may have just grown apart and want different things.
By approaching the situation from the standpoint of ‘we don’t hate each other, we just are not meant to be together anymore’ it can soften the blow and make things easier.”
4. Domestic Violence
Physical, sexual, or psychological abuse in any form is an obvious sign you should consider divorce.
The reality is that, more likely than not, if there’s been one incident of domestic violence, there will be more.
When your health and safety are being compromised by staying in a marriage there is no question about whether you should leave.
At What Stage Of Marriage Is A Divorce Most Likely?
The factors behind a divorce vary widely during these high-risk years, but the data seems to corroborate the notion of the “seven year itch.”
Popularized by the 1955 movie with Marilyn Monroe, the idea is that men and women experience a declining interest in a monogamous relationship after seven years of marriage.
While there are countless divorce studies with conflicting statistics, the data points to two periods during a marriage when divorces are most common: years 1 – 2 and years 5 – 8.
Of those two high-risk periods, there are two years in particular that stand out as the most common years for divorce — years 7 and 8.
Couples who succeed past the seven year itch enjoy a period of roughly seven years with a lower-than-average divorce rate. During years 9 – 15, parents often report increased relationship satisfaction as they settle into their careers and their children grow older.
However, for some this period of marital contentment eventually comes to an end and levels out around year 15, for some couples.
What Are 5 Warning Signs To Divorce?
Of course, it is possible to get a fractured relationship back on track — that’s why it’s important to recognize the signs.
Here are five warning signs to know it may be time to get some relationship help:
1. Mostly Negative Interactions
Happy couples have an interaction ratio of 20 positive interactions to 1 negative interaction, according to marriage researcher John Gottman, founder of the Gottman Method.
Conflicted couples have a ratio of 5:1, and couples nearing divorce are .8:1, or practically equal number of negative to positive interactions.
If you’re more negative than positive over a long period of time with no improvement in sight, this is a warning sign.
2. Friends And Family Urging You To End The Relationship
If many of your friends or family members tell you you’d be better off to break up — find out what they’re seeing that you don’t. Those closest to you want the best for you, and may be able to see things clearly even when you can’t.
3. Listen To Your Instincts
Your body gives you the most reliable information. If your stomach is always in a knot, it may be your gut instinct talking to you.
If your gut signals you to go, and you’re not sure, check in with someone you trust, or with an expert or therapist to help you weigh the pros and cons.
4. Living And Acting Like Roommates
Maybe he sleeps in one room, you sleep in another room and you’re hardly bothered when he comes home from a long trip and barely acknowledge each other.
You live separate lives, and maybe even seeing other people.
4. Change In Value And Priorities
In marital success, couples value the same ‘big’ things. Over time, people can change, and what they once valued, they don’t anymore.
One partner may feverishly take up a new religion or lifestyle which may force unrealistic expectations upon the partner. One partner wants to move across the country for a job opportunity, and the other wants to stay back for their own career.
Unless both people can adapt to significant changes like this, it can be difficult to surmount.
What Are The First Signs Of Divorce?
According to various studies, the three most common causes of divorce are:
- Conflict, arguing, irretrievable breakdown in the marriage
- Lack of commitment, infidelity
- Lack of physical intimacy
The least common reasons are lack of shared interests and incompatibility between partners.
Signs Your Marriage Is Over For Him
Things used to be great, but now everything seems a bit off, and there’s not just one warning sign that your partner is unhappy.
The obvious response is to ask him directly, but first understand the red flags.
- Sex wanes
- He argues about everything and anything
- He believes he can’t make you happy
- He’s stressed about everything and blames you
- The compliments stop
- Important conversations are avoided
- You discover a cell phone he didn’t tell you about
- Date nights are a thing of the past
- He stops taking care of himself
- He starts taking care of himself
- The smallest things set him off
- The fighting stops altogether and silence kicks in
- He starts hanging out with single or unhappily married men
- He’s rarely around
- He no longer respects you
Related: Divorce Coach – 11 Facts Checklist
How To Tell Your Husband The Marriage Is Over
Be sure you’re ready and able to go through with the divorce process. This is not the time to botch it. So take time to center yourself and muster the serenity and strength you’ll surely need.
1. Be Prepared
It’s so important to be mentally prepared for this big step. There’s no script for this difficult conversation, yet it’s still better to think it through ahead of time.
If you’re thrown into an inopportune moment, it pays to take the time and effort to do your inner work, explore all options, and feel empowered to make this move correctly before you embark on the divorce journey.
2. Be Centered and Serene
Spend some time quieting the mind and visualize yourself speaking confidently and without hesitation. Know what you want to say.
3. Decide in Advance What You Want to Achieve from the Conversation
Do you want him to move out? Have you found a place to stay? Do you have a divorce lawyer? You don’t know how he will react, so expect the unexpected.
4. Be Sensitive
You’ll be telling your most intimate loved one that you don’t want to be with him anymore. It’s difficult and hurts you, I know. It will hurt him, too.
That’s why, in the name of the love you once had for each other, it’s critical to be sensitive to his feelings, no matter how mean he’s been.
Stages Of A Dying Marriage
It’s imperative to see our most intimate relationships as they really are. So, take a deep breath, and let’s take a look at stages of a dying marriage:
- One or both of you regularly digs up the difficult past or uses insults
- Fights and disagreements that seem more spiteful and bitter
- Verbal and/or physical abuse
- Feeling lonely in your marriage and like you’re carrying the relationship on your own
- There’s been infidelity
Remember there are so many choices other than divorce when your marriage is going through stress. Consider the Gottman Method for couples. Their wellness tool takes the guesswork out of improving your marriage.
Your marriage can heal if you’re both committed to it. You might see something worth fighting for after all.
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