Every marriage has its rough spots. Most couples try to work their way through the problems in an attempt to salvage the relationship. When the rough spots pile up, however, and the problems seem to become worse, you begin to question whether the relationship is worth saving. You feel miserable much of the time, and during bleak, dark moments, it occurs to you that the only way out maybe a divorce. Can love lost ever be rekindled?
This will probably be one of the most difficult questions you will ever have to answer. You’ve invested years, hopes, dreams, and a lot of energy into your marriage. Can you just walk away from it? Here are a few signs to help you determine whether to continue the fight or move on.
1. You Don’t Argue.
Disagreeing and arguing is normal. You argue with family members and friends because you feel free to express your feelings. You feel safe doing so. When you no longer feel free to disagree or express a view with which your spouse may disagree with, you have lost an important connection.
2. Provoking Arguments
Provoking fights with your spouse is the opposite of not arguing, but they stem from the same emotional roots: dissatisfaction, anger, and disappointment. It comes from a feeling of emptiness. You need to be heard, and this is the only way. It is about assessing blame, not resolving a disagreement. This is a way to express unhappiness without coming out directly and discussing divorce. Provoking an argument can be done subtly, such as staying out late and refusing to provide an explanation, knowing that it may upset your spouse.
3. You Feel Stressed Most of the Time
You’re supposed to feel good around your spouse. He or she is supposed to bring out the best in you. However, that has stopped being the case. Now, you feel tense just thinking about how your spouse will be in the same room with you soon. You dread the moment of their arrival because you no longer have anything to say to them.
Your body can also show signs of stress. Maybe you feel your back tight or your stomach in knots. While your mind may still be hopeful, your body is speaking the truth. It’s time to listen.
4. You’re unable to be yourself:
One of the things that probably attracted you in the first place was that you felt comfortable being yourself. You were able to express your opinions without fear of being judged or ridiculed. Now, you feel the need to create a false image of yourself. You can’t act silly any longer because you’re afraid of being criticized. You wear your “Sunday” best personality more out of fear than with pride. There is only so long you can pull this off without snapping.
5. Your spouse is no longer a top priority:
Your spouse used to be one of your main concerns. Lately, your life has started revolving more around things that matter less, like friends or going out. You may eagerly take the kids to the park for hours on weekends. You willingly – eagerly – work late. And you can’t wait to meet your friends for a drink. Your spouse has become the background of your life, not at its center.
6. From we to me:
At the beginning of your relationship, you invariably used the word “we” constantly. You were one unit against the world. Now, your thoughts revolve around “me.” Or maybe your spouse stops including you in things you did together. The bottom line, you no longer feel like a unit or a team. You are separate players who might even be playing against each other. When you cease to think of yourself as “we” and “us,” you are no longer a unit.
7. You live parallel lives:
You used to want your spouse’s opinion on everything – from what to have for dinner to what type of shoes to buy. He or she was also the first person with whom you shared relevant news. Now, more and more of these items are being discussed on Facebook and Instagram, or with other people. You’re no longer involved in each other lives.
8. You Develop an Exit Strategy
You and your spouse are still together, and you present a happy face to the world. But you have opened your own bank account instead of using only your joint account. You’re looking at job postings to see what’s available and how much the pay is. You are checking out the cost of apartments in desirable areas.
Your mind is shifting toward a permanent exit from the relationship. That is the surest sign that you might be heading for a divorce. In your own mind, you keep wondering what life alone would be like. The thought of leaving has become more and more real.
It’s so easy for us to lie to ourselves. We don’t take action in our lives because we fear the unknown. Even a bad marriage presents a certain amount of safety. When your unhappiness outweighs the need to feel safe, you will know whether or not you are heading for a divorce.
Ending a relationship is hard. There will be a lot of changes. Allow yourself to grieve, as it is necessary for the next chapter in your life. You will soon learn that you have your life back.
Check out our pointers on effective co-parenting if you and your soon to be ex spouse have children together.
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