How can you know for sure if you’re in a marriage that’s heading for a divorce? If you and your partner/spouse are having difficulties it is possible to get the relationship back on track. Not easy, but possible. If that is what you want, you AND the other party need to pick up the book The Normal Bar by Chrisanna Northrup and Pepper Schwartz, an exceptional resource on salvaging your relationship. However, if your relationship is truly broken, it is important that you recognize the warning signs of an impending divorce. How to recognize the warning signs, there are 9 key warning signs that are shouting out to you that it might be time to pay attention and think about seeing someone about divorce planning.
1. Happy is not what you feel any longer: If you are really in a good relationship, for the most part, you AND your partner/spouse are happy. Disagreements and fights are a part of every couple’s life, but generally, your life is pretty peaceful, fun, enjoyable, and just plain nice. But, has your spouse/partner become non-responsive, hostile, irritable, unreliable, shut down, abusive or critical at all? Do you feel like your spouse/partner has become lazy, incompetent and you just aren’t on the same page about anything anymore? These are clear signs that this relationship has lost its spark.
2. Interactions between you and your partner/spouse are no longer positive: Couples who are happy couples have an interaction ratio of 20:1 (that means 20 positive interactions to 1 negative interaction) according to John Gottman, marriage researcher. However, he found that the ratio is 5:1 for couples who have issues, and are conflicted. And the ones headed for divorce are 8:1, or a practically equal number of negative to positive interactions. If your relationship is more negative than positive, over time, with no improvement in the relationship as time passes, is not a good sign.
3. Not wanting to spend time with your spouse/partner? How do you feel when you pull into the driveway and see his/her car there? Sitting in the car and wishing you could avoid going inside? Finding yourself not wanting to go home from work and instead go out with friends or other families for drinks and dinner? Happy doing things on your own? Another sign that things that the end of your relationship is coming sooner rather than later.
4. Notice something different? Suddenly cleaning up their appearance, losing weight, and not coming home right after work are all signs of interest other than you, the children, and the family. A sign that divorce may be imminent.
5. Everyone close to you, your friends, co-workers, and family keep telling you it is a tie to end the relationship: If friends or family members, and even co-workers, are telling you that you need to divorce, break up, or whatever they call it, that you’ll be better off, that they don’t like him/her, pay close attention. It is those who are closest to you who know you best and truly want what is best for you. Because they are a bit out of the picture, they may see things as they really are, when you are too close to the situation to see clearly what is actually happening.
6. Your gut, your instincts are screaming to get out, but you are ignoring them: If your stomach is in a knot more often than not, it is talking to you – – that’s right, your gut is telling you to pay attention to your instinct. Gavin de Becker, author of the Gift of Fear tells us to trust our instincts, that human beings are the only mammals who ignore their instincts and stay in or walk into situations that our instincts are telling us to run from. Your gut, your instincts are saying it is time, you should call that divorce attorney, but you don’t, it IS time to call those close friends and loved ones and see what they have to say OR call that divorce attorney, and talk the pros and cons. Take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, top to bottom, right column is PROS and left column is CONS. List all of them about your relationship. This will help ferret out what is actually happening in your life. The cons will probably be a longer list than the pros. This is another sign you are headed for a divorce.
7. Last time you had a roommate was a long time ago, your relationship is reminding you of that: Your marriage has started to feel the same way. You no longer sleep in the same room, you are not interested when he/she is coming home and when the door opens you feel dread, you can barely muster up a ‘hello’ when you cross paths. Are you living separate lives, going on trips without each other and gladly, and you are just fine with that? Wake up, this is a HUGE sign that divorce is knocking on the door.
8. Are you finding that everything between the two of you is difficult? All that happens between the 2 of you feels as though it is going to be the worst encounter ever. It doesn’t matter if it is something as simple as setting the table for dinner or getting the children up and ready for school, no matter what it is, it is a difficult encounter that sometimes ends in drama, with yelling in front of the children and they do not need to witness that. Every interaction with him/her is heated, loud, abusive, painful, tearful, and sometimes provocative. You know what it means.
9. Priorities have changed: When you got together, you were on the same page, for the most part, regarding the really important things. Happy couples maintain these throughout. However, sometimes things change can change, and you notice that things that were priorities to both of you aren’t anymore. Is your spouse/partner suddenly interested in something that once he/she would never have been interested in and is working very hard to try and convince you that you should go along? If you are not enthralled, time to rethink what is happening in your relationship.