How do people know when it is time to move-on? Are there clear signs your marriage is over that can guide you in your decision making? or do you just hang in there till everything finally comes to a halt.
Everyone dreams of a ‘Happily Ever After’ once they have said their ‘I do’s, right? Marriage is always synonymous with those dreamy dates, picturesque romantic getaways, and cute Instagram-worthy pictures all about the couple’s goals! However, most of this beautiful time is before the honeymoon period. What happens once this phase is over?
No one plans to prepare or even anticipate the ups and downs of marital life. Hence, something that was supposed to be the journey of a lifetime is rapidly reduced to a mere companionship of a few years or sometimes even months.
According to the American Psychological Association, between 40% and 50% of marriages end in divorce. India demonstrates the lowest divorce rate of 1.1% across countries, but this is excessively alarming as studies suggest that India is also among the top-ranking countries in unhappy marriages.
This would mean that most couples, not just in India but across the globe, have mentally checked out of their marriage but still live together, maintaining that marital relationship tag.
Often, divorces are not an outcome of one high-voltage fight or blow-out but are a slow burn, with a pile-up of unaddressed issues that lead to a gradual fizzle-out. Conflict is part and parcel of married life and can be best dealt with by recognizing signs of trouble.
So, before you get blindsided by your spouse walking out of a tricky fix, it is time to look for subtle signs causing problems. This will help assess if the problems are worth working towards or if separation is a better solution.
12 Warning Signs Your Marriage is Over- According to Experts
Below are some usual reasons why a marriage dissolves into divorce:
1. Lack of Sexual Intimacy
Intimacy plays a vital role in a successful marriage. While mating isn’t the whole and sole in a marriage, it isn’t an omittable factor. An intimately active couple often sustains a strong bond and healthy marriage since all grievances are put to rest in bed.
A few reasons that could cause lack of intimacy in couples:
- Lack of this personal chemistry- Lack of intimate chemistry between you and your partner can often result from differing love languages or, more commonly, different desires.
- Fading intimacy drive- A couple’s intimacy drive is high during the initial honeymoon phase of their marriage and eventually fades out. People stop experimenting throughout a long marriage, and their intimacy drive drops to non-existent, leaving them feeling more repulsed than ever.
- Imbalance- during post-pregnancy period, women often lose the desire to engage in any intimate activity, while the male intimacy drive is still on the higher side, thus causing an imbalance in the relationship. In such cases, one may look for fulfillment elsewhere, derailing the marriage train in the process.
2. Constant feeling of Anger and Exhaustion with your spouse
If your partner is giving you the hot and cold treatment, where one side is comforting while the other is equally aggressive, it has warning bells written all over it. If not addressed, these can cause the following effects:
- It can leave one constantly on edge, feeling mentally exhausted and physically drained too.
- When faced with continual anger, one is always on the defense, using it as a survival mechanism, and the relationship can never blossom.
- Such passive-aggressive behavior is highly unhealthy on both ends. It is commonly a result of adamance and one’s refusal to compromise at all.
Such issues, external or internal, need to be addressed and resolved as they can quickly morph into emotional abuse or even physical violence. If you are experiencing this exhaustive anger in your relationship, it is time to bid it adieu.
3. Running away from spending Alone-Time Together
Have you noticed the initial butterflies of excitement and romance from your married life disappear? Has boredom taken its place? Here’s why:
- This is simply because you two have nothing to talk about. It is common to show a willingness to participate in recreation activities, preferred by your spouse at the early stage of marriage. You do this mainly because you are in the process of wooing and being wooed.
- Once a person takes that permanent spot, the pretense usually falls off, and boredom takes its place.
- Ask yourself if this lack of desire to spend time with your partner is a recent development arising from an altered behavior on their end, or was spending time with them an adjustment for you from the get-go, but you are only just realizing it.
- If collective interests were only just a pretense and simply wooing tools, then as these interests wane, so will the quality of your relationship.
- If you are one of those couples who have unrealistic expectations from your significant other, it can lead to overlooking your partner’s good qualities.
Spending some time by yourself is not just healthy but also necessary. However, if you or your spouse are using this as an excuse to escape from spending quality time with each other, then the relationship is heading for the deep end. The solution here can be to take time off and be by yourself. Your partner’s absence may help you appreciate their presence. This also gives you space to analyze if you can salvage the relationship somehow.
Respect is vital in every relationship, and it forms the basic foundation of every marriage. Any relationship is incomplete without it. Respecting your partner’s choices, decisions, opinions, values is integral to the success of every marriage.
Below are signs and causes of disrespect that should not be tolerated or ignored in the long run.
Signs of Disrespect in a relationship:
- Dismissive behavior – Dismissive behavior is the first sign of disrespect, and you shouldn’t give it a free pass as it can further morph into controlling behavior. This topic needs to be addressed with your spouse to improve communication and bridge the gap.
- Subconscious disregard– If you develop a subconscious disregard and disrespect for your partner over time, it can manifest itself in the smallest of ways.
For example, making jokes about your spouse’s income or appearance, snide comments about their cooking skills, or even subtle disregard of their faith, which may seem harmless on the surface level but is a strong sign of more prominent, deep-rooted issues. Most people fail to realize this hard fact and thus often are left wondering what went wrong for them.
What are the common reasons for the lack of respect in a marriage?
A common reason for the lack of respect found through studies is that couples do not discuss essential beliefs and life choices beforehand. These binding decisions include bearing children, preferred living situations, anticipated career growth, goals, etc. This often results in residual anger and frustration and can fast-track divorces.
5. Lack of Respectful Communication
Open and honest communication is central to every marriage, and its absence can be disastrous. If you are one of those couples who can’t talk or discuss issues without the conversation turning into an argument, you are in for the long haul with the wrong person. Here are some early signs that you can look out for:
- If presenting your side of the explanation often turns into proving your spouse wrong, followed by nasty personal remarks and critiques, then this relationship is not heading toward Eden.
- If you are not exchanging apologies post a heated fighting session and you are not receiving or giving each other undivided attention.
- Not expressing your thoughts freely or finding the need to keep secrets from your partner can lead to an unhealthy relationship too. Irrespective, if you face the same issues constantly, then ‘out of it’ is the right way for you.
Every marriage stands on the solid pillar of trust, and open communication is the key to building this trust. Once infidelity and unfaithful behavior infest this pillar of trust, it is often impossible to build it back.
What to do if you sense unfaithful behavior in your partner?
If you experience this trust erosion at an early stage in your relationship, it is vital to take corrective actions from both ends if you intend to salvage the relationship. Along with taking responsibility and presenting the owed an apology with sincerity and reassurance, it is essential not to let the guilt of past mistakes pile on as that may hamper the power dynamics and ruin a delicate situation.
Simultaneously, it is for you to assess and decide if you have the heart to let go of past mistakes and not use them as tools to win future arguments. Bouncing back from such a situation needs constant and consistent efforts on both ends. Trust is that trickiest block of Jenga in marriage, which makes the whole pile collapse if removed.
7. You envision your future without your spouse
As rom-com or bolly-wood inspired as it may sound, you and your spouse may want different things in life. In this case, the companionship has to come to an end. Possibilities of it happening are higher in the below circumstances:
- To many, it happens once their children are settled into college lives or jobs as they realize nurturing and caring for children was the glue that held them together. After their departure, the couple doesn’t have anything worthwhile contributing to each other’s lives and is better off on a solo journey.
- One partner may desire travel and movement while the other craves stability. If you feel less to no emotional attachment to your partner or love your spouse but are not in love with them, you had checked out of your marriage a long time ago. This simply means your partner is a mere roommate and not a passionate companion.
While for some partners, this choice made by their spouse may seem like an utter shock, but for most couples, this is a drama-free process laced with an understanding of each other’s needs, thus making the split amicable. In some cases, however, this happens at an earlier stage owing to differing choices.
According to American author and relationship expert Robert Weiss– “if there is at least a little common ground regarding religion, politics, finances, education and the like, there is a decent foundation upon which to build”. What this means is if you share the same core values, and have same goals, there’s a good chance you can work through your issues.
8. Lack Of Responsibility And Accountability
If you are still consciously enjoying the single life post marriage, you need to rethink your perspective. Living in the perks of singlehood and shying away from commitment is a huge red flag. A marriage is a union of two people in a complete sense. It requires you to take your partner’s needs into constant consideration while you traverse through your own life choices and decisions.
While it is okay to do certain activities separately, focusing on your own needs and not wanting to accommodate your partner in any of your daily life can leave the other wondering, unsatisfied, and constantly hunting for acknowledgment. This self-absorbed, singleton approach to married life is highly disrespectful and not suitable for a fruitful marriage to grow.
9. Keeping Finances Hidden
While keeping your finances hidden when you are broke may start with the noble intention of not wanting to worry your spouse, the pressure can soon snowball into something big and take a toll on the marriage.
You may even keep your finances and financial decisions to yourself for self-security but below are the signs that can soon end in an unfitting habit for any partnership.
- If your partner is not disclosing or discussing major money moves with you, that may signify a lack of trust.
- Also, note that this decision is taking out the equality aspect of marriage, leaving behind an unequal, superior-inferior dynamic.
10. Emotional Cheating on your spouse
If you feel the need to confide in someone other than your spouse constantly, find solace in the word of a third party, or you are actively texting someone in a manner your partner would not appreciate or approve of; then it is a case of emotional cheating.
Consistent thoughts of cheating on your spouse or obsessively fantasizing about someone else should be followed up with the question ‘why?’. Even if you or your spouse have not physically cheated, this behavior is synonymous with consciously risking marriage and could end in divorce.
11. Feeling Inferior And Secondary To Your Spouse
Contemptuous behavior is one of the two main reasons leading to inferiority complexes.
- If your partner’s actions are an eye-roll when you put forth your point, ignoring and overlooking your contribution, and taking credit for your ideas is a consistent behavioral pattern. It has a major red flag in your relationship. This behavior incessantly gives out the feeling that “I’m better than you, and I don’t care about your perspective.”
- If your partner is on their best behavior, you must check if this secondary and other feeling is self-inflicted.
Lack of self-faith can be as destructive as contemptuous behavior. It can be related to varying pay scales and opportunities, differing friend groups, and even differences in career position compared to your spouse. If this secondary feeling is deeply infested, it is tough for your marriage to stand the test of time.
12. Unwillingness To work on shortcomings
While not being aware of pinpointing issues within one’s marriage can be excusable, unwillingness to work on shortcomings is most definitely not.
If you are unwilling to fix any discord with your spouse, you only highlight the negative aspects of your marriage and are dismissive about any solutions presented to fix the situation. Then you most definitely have mentally walked out of your union. Your separation now only needs an official nature.
In spite of the above clear signs, you should not be too quick to give up on your marriage. A successful marriage requires hard work from both partners.
To have a healthy relationship or healthy marriage, couples have to spend quality time together, communicate, love each other selflessly and ensure they create no room for third parties such as friends and family members in their marriage.
Every marriage goes through tough times but the good news is when couples leave the single person ideology and start working for the best interest of each other, their marital relationship is bound to last for a lifetime.
When Should You Walk Away From Your Marriage?
If you have observed bad signs in your marriage like lack of communication, lack of respect, emotional abuse, lack of intimacy, negative interactions and others, and have done all you can to make things better but it just seems to be getting worse, you should; seek professional help, go for marriage counselling, visit your family therapist or in the worst case scenario- move on.
How Do You Know If Your Marriage Is Beyond Repair?
When domestic violence and physical abuse start to set in, then it is no longer safe and you have to seriously consider moving on.
Marriages sometimes tend to feel like a full-time job; they’re tough and need you to be resilient. It requires you to learn, grow, and compromise with patience and nurturing but when the warning signs that your marriage is over and past redemption keep showing up, know that you have given it your best and never lose sight of the bigger picture- happiness.
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