A long-term marriage takes work. Not every day will be picture-perfect and your spouse will not always be flawless. If you start to see cracks in your marriage, counseling and learning to relate and communicate better can be a good option. But what happens when you have tried all that and the relationship still seems to have problems?
How do you know when it's time to divorce? There are obvious reasons like abuse and cheating, but what about the non-apparent signs? The ones that build up over time and create an unhealthy or unhappy marriage? Here are seven signs that it may be time for a divorce.
1) You have lost respect for each other
It can be difficult to tell if you or your spouse have lost respect for one another. Not listening, being constantly critiqued, not feeling like you have a voice, or not having a say in major decisions that affect the marriage or your children can all be signs.
Another sign is that your spouse refuses to compromise to your needs, they assume they know what is best for you. It may be time for divorce if you constantly feel rejected or dismissed.
2) You don’t want to spend time together
Maybe the marriage has become all about your children or you find yourself wanting to spend time with your friends instead of your spouse. Maybe your spouse has started going out at night and spending more time away from home.
Regardless of the reason, it is a red flag if you and your spouse seem to want to be anywhere but with each other. If your spouse stops becoming your go-to person for comfort, the first person you call for advice, it may be time for a divorce.
3) Winning is everything
It is a red flag in a marriage when everything is focused on winning, rather than working together. Conflict is going to happen in a marriage. However, the focus should be on preserving the relationship and still having respect for each other.
The concern should not be with winning every argument and feeling like you know better than the other. It could be a sign of an impending divorce if the importance is always on being right and placing blame on the other.
4) You never Fight
Marriage is between two different people, who both have different thoughts and ideas. It is inevitable that there will be some disagreements. In a long-term relationship, like marriage, some fighting is actually healthy. It can help you grow, learn to communicate more effectively, and it can help you find deeper levels of intimacy.
It may be a sign it’s time for divorce if you are no longer fighting. This could mean that you have both become detached and neither of you cares enough to fight to fix the problems in the marriage.
5) There is contempt
One of the main things that can end a marriage is contempt. Contempt is constantly having negative thoughts about your spouse. It is a feeling of disgust and superiority. It is similar to and can lead to resentment and it is toxic for a marriage.
Once there is contempt in a marriage, it can be hard to get rid of. This is regardless of whether you seek counseling or not. Working on communication and not letting a relationship get to the contempt stage may be one way to avoid divorce.
6) You have lost yourself
People can change over the course of a marriage. Maybe one of you gets more involved in religion or takes up a new hobby that requires a lot of time. Perhaps one of you decides that you no longer want children, but the other still sees this as an important step you want to take together.
Regardless of the reasons, you should never feel like you have lost yourself or that you can’t be your real self around your spouse. Feeling like you have to constantly filter yourself or hide your beliefs or thoughts will take a toll on your mental health.
When you and your spouse no longer have things in common and can’t see eye-to-eye, it may be time to call it quits.
7) You already have an exit strategy
How do you know when it’s time to divorce? One major sign is that you already have an exit strategy. Maybe it happened over a long time and you didn’t even notice.
You’ve been slowly taking steps like creating a separate bank account, applying to jobs that are located in different states, or planning vacations without your spouse.
You may be daydreaming about whether you should leave. You realize that you can picture yourself without them and the idea of being independent excites you, rather than makes you sad for not being married anymore. These can all be signs that you have already left the marriage mentally and it is time for a divorce.