Deciding it’s time to divorce from your spouse is never easy. Whether you’ve been together for one year or twenty years, you’re saying goodbye to something you assumed would last forever. If divorce has entered your mind, how do you know it’s the right decision?
Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
Some people jump straight to hiring a divorce lawyer before they’ve even had a chance to think. While this might be a good idea if you’re sure about divorce, there are some steps you might want to take before making this big decision. Consider this checklist before hiring a family law divorce attorney, including divorce mediation and litigation. The more research you do before hiring an attorney and filing for divorce, the better. You should always be aware of the steps ahead of you and the best ways to protect yourself, your children, and your finances.
Is Divorce Common?
Yes – in the United States, divorce is very common, with 2021 seeing nearly 700k divorces in the country. The reason for divorce differs from couple to couple, but the most common causes include things like too much fighting, infidelity, and financial problems. Sometimes, there is simply no other option than to divorce.
The 10 Signs You Might be Heading Towards Divorce
If you’re currently in a rocky marriage, the chances are divorce has crossed your mind, at least briefly. Are you actually heading for divorce, though? It’s best to know what’s coming sooner rather than later to prepare yourself emotionally and financially. These ten signs show that you might just be heading for divorce.
1: There’s a Real Lack of Communication
You’ve probably heard before that communication is vital to a good relationship. It’s true – for both parties to be happy, there needs to be a solid line of communication. If you’re unhappy, you should be able to talk to your spouse about it; if your spouse does something that makes you upset, you shouldn’t feel scared about bringing it up with them. If communication isn’t as easy as it should be, that’s a definite sign that divorce might be on the cards.
2: Your Partner Has a Separate Life
Does your partner spend little time at home? Perhaps they spend all their life at work or with friends. They might even sleep in hotels instead of with you. If you feel like a secondary character in your partner’s life, the marriage likely won’t work in the long run. There could even be an underlying reason behind this separate life, such as substance abuse or infidelity. Keep in mind it’s not necessarily your job to uncover some big secret. Sometimes, it’s best to leave before everything gets too messy. Speaking to a divorce lawyer can help you here.
3: Someone Was Unfaithful
For most people, infidelity is an absolute dealbreaker. So, if you or your spouse were unfaithful, that’s a big sign you are heading for divorce. It can also change the outcome of the divorce terms, making the divorce more favorable to the person cheated on.
4: You’ve Thought About Being Unfaithful
It doesn’t take someone being unfaithful to indicate a marriage has run its course. Sometimes, just the thought of cheating can be a sign that you may be heading for divorce. While you likely don’t want to cheat on your spouse, you might still have thoughts about being with another person, whether that’s a person you know in real life or a made-up dream partner. If this is happening increasingly, that shows you’re not completely happy in your marriage. It’s important to address this before infidelity actually occurs, as cheating always makes divorce a lot messier – not to mention the emotional damage it can cause.
5: A Lack of Accountability
Do both parties think they’ve done no wrong? Everyone messes up sometimes, and for a marriage to work, it’s important to take accountability for those things. If that doesn’t happen, a relationship can’t go anywhere. After all, how are you supposed to resolve your issues if nobody takes accountability for them?
6: Physical or Mental Abuse
Physical or mental abuse should always be the line your partner never crosses. If your spouse has been physically or mentally abusive towards you, it’s essential to get out as soon as you can, as it could get worse. There are domestic abuse helplines available if you need them. Your safety is always the most important thing – you can think about divorce later.
7: Only One Person Wants Children
Sometimes, fundamental differences in a marriage can’t be changed – the desire to have kids is one of them. If one spouse wants children and the other does not, that’s a sign that the marriage won’t work. Of course, it’s always best to have important conversations like these before marriage, but that doesn’t always happen. There are other big differences of opinion that could leave a marriage unsalvageable. For example, significant religious differences can harm a marriage, especially if both parties fight about the best way to raise their child.
8: You Fight All the Time
While fighting can be a sign that both parties still care, too much fighting will only stress both parties out in the long run. It’s a good idea to assess why you might be arguing. Is one spouse going through a lot of stress at work? Is there an underlying factor that’s not being spoken about? Fighting a lot doesn’t necessarily mean a divorce is inevitable, but it’s a sign that your marriage is not in a great place. Getting to the bottom of it might just reveal a relationship you can salvage. In other cases, it might become apparent that you simply aren’t meant for each other anymore.
9: Intimacy Has Slowed Down
It’s normal for sex to slow down a little as a relationship goes on, especially if you have children to look after. There might be periods where you can’t get enough of each other and other times where life simply gets in the way of intimate time. However, if the intimacy has slowed down to the point one or both parties are unhappy, that’s a sign the relationship might not be working anymore – especially if there’s also a lack of attraction. A couple’s therapist can help you here.
10: You Can’t Picture Your Life with Them
Falling out of love is a sad occurrence. It happens, though, even in marriages that were previously happy. If you can no longer picture spending the rest of your life with your spouse, it might be time to consider moving on.
3 Signs Your Marriage Can Still Be Saved
Are you not ready for divorce? Perhaps it’s something that has crossed your mind, but you’re not prepared to give up. While it’s hard to say whether you will stay together forever – every relationship is different, after all – there are some signs that your marriage doesn’t have to reach its end.
1: You Can Express Your Emotions
Are you able to express your emotions to your partner? Even if your marriage is currently rocky, being able to show your other half that you are hurt or angry is actually a good sign. Even if you’re fighting, that’s usually better than absolute silence (assuming no physical or verbal abuse is involved). It shows that you still trust them and feel safe expressing yourself around them. Also, being able to openly talk about your feelings in this way will help if you decide to get couples therapy.
2: You’ve Recently Had Kids (and all was fine before)
Kids can really shake a marriage up. No one – not even the most prepared – can really fathom how challenging raising a child is. If your problems only started once you had a child, consider that the rockiness might not last forever. It might still be worth saving, as you could get back to enjoying your marriage once your little one isn’t waking you up every hour. You’re not yourself when you haven’t had enough sleep!
3: Both Parties Are Willing to Go to Therapy
Therapy is not just for those who are grieving or are mentally unwell – it can be used for many hardships in life, including when you’re experiencing issues as a couple. If you and your partner have been fighting more with an absence of good communication, but you’re willing to go to therapy, then that’s a good start. Many couples experience positive results from couples therapy, and it doesn’t always end with a break-up. Individual therapy could be a good option, too.
It’s important to note that not all therapists will mesh well with you and your partner. If you find a therapist and they don’t seem to be right for you, don’t feel bad about moving on to another one. After all, you need a therapist that you both feel 100% comfortable speaking to.
To Sum Up
In the end, the choice of whether to divorce or not is in the hands of you (or your partner). Sometimes, a divorce is by far the best option, and it’s best to get started hiring a divorce lawyer before too long. In other cases, you might just be going through a bumpy road, and divorce doesn’t necessarily need to be the end result. If you’re experiencing any doubts, speaking with a therapist (either an individual or couples therapist) can help a lot.