How to Know When It’s Time to Ask for a Divorce
It’s common knowledge that undergoing divorce proceedings can be brutal. Even civil breakups between married couples can take a toll on their mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
However, finding the courage to ask for a divorce can be just as difficult as the divorce itself. Many people wrestle with the decision to end their marriage, and understandably so, considering that most—if not all—couples enter their marriage with the expectation that it will last forever. The last thing you want to do is make a life-altering decision that you’ll grow to regret months, years, or even decades later.
10 Red Flags That Your Marriage Is Over
For most couples, there’s no going back after a divorce. How do you know if it’s time to end your marriage? How can you tell if your relationship is salvable?
While people’s minds often drift to popular “red flags” such as lack of sexual intimacy or frequent arguments, there are other lesser-known ways to determine if divorce is the right path forward or if you and your spouse have a chance of repairing your relationship. Keep reading to learn 10 red flags that your marriage might be over.
#1. You dread quality time together.
We all remember what it was like to date someone we like. Maybe you felt butterflies every time their name popped up on your phone, or every minute apart felt like hours as you waited to see them again.
While it’s normal for that initial “spark” to wear off over time, there’s a difference between nonchalance and revulsion at the idea of spending one-on-one time with your spouse. If date nights have begun to feel less enjoyable and more like a chore, this could be a sign that your relationship is beyond repair.
#2. You’re not friends with your spouse.
Sexual intimacy is often top of mind for many couples when it comes to chemistry and compatibility. While a couple’s sex life is an important component of any relationship, many people tend to overlook an equally important part: friendship.
Friendship is a healthy, if not essential, foundation of a marriage. Marriage is forever, and while a dwindling sexual or romantic chemistry certainly doesn’t mean you’re not in love, many couples take increasingly more comfort in one another as friends as time passes.
Marriage is about more than love; it’s about companionship and support. While romance is exciting, friendship endures. Imagine spending a lifetime with someone you loved, but no longer like (it probably isn’t very appealing). If your relationship lacks friendship, this could be a sign that you’re headed for a divorce.
#3. You frequently feel irritated at your spouse for no apparent reason.
Most of us experience irritability from time to time. Whether you didn’t sleep well or just had a bad day at work, a bad attitude is an occasional and inevitable part of life.
However, if it’s your partner that seems to be putting you in a bad mood on a regular basis, this could be a red flag. If your partner walking into the same room is enough to make you clench your jaw or feel a flood of annoyance, this could be a sign that your marriage is irreparable.
#4. The idea of single life excites you instead of scares you.
The prospect of losing a loved one (romantic or otherwise) can be scary. But if the thought of single life—whether it’s decorating your own one-bedroom apartment, going out for drinks every Saturday night, or trying your luck at a club or dance hall—excites you more than it scares you, this could be a sign that divorce is the right path forward.
It's natural to want alone time every occasionally, but if you catch yourself wishing for personal space or time apart from your partner regularly, you may find it helpful to reflect on why you feel that way.
#5. You don’t trust your spouse.
Maybe your partner cheated on you in the past. Maybe they lied to you a few years ago and you’re still haunted by the memory. Whatever the reason, feeling suspicious or cautious around your partner may be a cause for concern.
Trust is one of the most vital components of any relationship. Without it, we wouldn't be able to forge true, genuine connections with the people around us. If you find yourself unable or unwilling to trust your partner, this could be a red flag that it's time to reevaluate your partnership.
#6. Envisioning your spouse with someone else isn’t hurtful.
If you’ve ever been cheated on in a relationship, you probably understand how painful it is to envision your partner with someone who isn’t you. Even if you haven’t experienced cheating, it’s normal to feel pain or jealousy when you imagine your loved one being physically or emotionally intimate with someone new—it’s one of many reasons why breakups can be so difficult to process.
In some cases, it's entirely possible to love someone without feeling in love with them. For better or for worse, relationships tend to evolve and adapt over time. There’s a big difference between the “puppy love” of dating versus decades of marriage. If the idea of your partner being in a relationship with someone else doesn’t sting the same way it used to, this could be a red flag.
#7. Your dreams for the future don’t include your spouse.
Everyone has dreams of the future, even in adulthood. From your dream home to your dream city to your dream career, most individuals have an idea of what they want their future to look like—whether it’s raising kids in the suburbs or traveling the world with your loved one.
If your vision of the future differs from your partner’s, this isn’t always a cause for alarm. However, if your vision doesn’t include your partner at all, this could be a sign that it’s time to reevaluate your direction in life. Is your partner an obstacle in your path to obtaining the future you desire? Do they help or hinder your dreams? Are you unable to picture your spouse in your future?
If so, consider setting aside some time to reflect on your future hopes, dreams, and goals—and what you need to achieve them. If your imagined future doesn’t include your spouse, it may be time to have a conversation to discuss your feelings.
#8. You’re having an emotional affair.
In some cases, a person may find themselves involved in an “emotional affair”—unknowingly or otherwise. This refers to non-sexual intimacy and bonding with someone who isn’t your partner.
It can be a relief to fulfill your emotional and even social needs by spending time with someone else, especially when you’re not having those needs met by your partner. Sometimes, an individual is unaware that this is what they’re doing in the first place.
Emotional affairs often begin as friendships that transform into something stronger. Even if you have no intention to cheat or end your marriage, an emotional affair can be a slippery slope, especially as a tempting and effective means to distract yourself from marital problems that require your attention.
While exchanging a flirtatious comment with a new neighbor, coworker, personal trainer, or other person in your social circle may seem harmless in the moment, it can be detrimental to your marriage regardless of your intentions. If you find yourself fulfilling your personal needs elsewhere, even nonphysical ones, this could be a sign that it’s time to reevaluate your marriage.
#9. You and/or your spouse no longer put in effort.
While there is such a thing as arguing too much, there’s also such a thing as not arguing enough. Sometimes, fighting can be a healthy and necessary part of a relationship. Albeit unpleasant, the occasional argument between couples can be a constructive way to open communication channels and express that you care.
If you find yourself consistently bothered by something your spouse does or says but not speaking up about it, this may be a sign that you’re no longer willing to invest effort into the relationship. If staying silent about your feelings is easier than bringing them up to your partner, this could mean that they’re doing the same thing—and it may also be a sign that it’s time to address the elephant in the room.
#10. You avoid your spouse when possible.
Do you find yourself leaving the house when you know your partner is headed home from work? Do you go out of your way to make plans with friends on weekends, so you don’t have to spend time alone with your spouse? Whatever the reason, seeking any opportunity to avoid your partner’s presence may indicate a problem in your marriage.
If you find yourself uncomfortable or unwilling to be in the same room with your spouse, consider having an honest conversation with yourself as to why. This may be a sign that your marriage needs repair, and it's important to determine if you and your partner are both willing to invest the effort to salvage the relationship…or not.
If committing your emotional and mental energy to patch things up isn't an appealing thought, this may be a red flag that a divorce is the right choice.
Innovative Solutions for Your Family’s Unique Needs
Our compassionate team at Family Law San Diego understands how difficult it is to navigate the ups and downs of divorce. Ending a marriage can initiate a “ripple effect” in your life that not only impacts you, but can affect your kids, social circles, work life, financial security, and plans for the future.
That’s why our firm is devoted to empowering the choices of families in San Diego: so you can establish and forge the best path forward for yourself and your loved ones. When you partner with us, you’re partnering with over 200 years of combined family law experience. Our highly skilled divorce attorneys are approachable, understanding, and reliable in your time of need.
Regardless of your circumstances, we’re here to help you turn the page and embrace a new chapter. For decades, we’ve taken pride in providing effective and customized legal solutions for each family’s unique needs. If you feel stuck in an unhealthy marriage, act today to create a better tomorrow.
Are you considering a divorce? You don’t have to fight the uphill battle alone. Call (619) 577-4900 or contact us online today to discuss your case with an experienced divorce lawyer.