Every marriage starts off with the hope that in good times and bad, the couple will be there for each other. Unfortunately sometimes, relationships sour to such an extent that any attempt at setting things right seems futile and the only thing left to do is for each to go in a different way. If you think so of your own marriage as well, watch out for the following ten signs which may signal that the relationship is over and it is best to move on.
You can’t talk without arguing
The first definite sign that a marriage is in grave trouble is perhaps when spouses stop communicating with each other. This can take various forms like keepings things to yourself since you dread talking to your spouse about marital problems or life in general. Or engaging in stonewalling tactics in the mistaken belief that what is not out in the open – like knowledge of an affair – cannot hurt the marriage. On the other extreme, if you are overly defensive, dismissive of your spouse's feelings, show contempt for his/her beliefs you are again breaking the norms of effective communication. For a marriage to survive, it is crucial that couples not only discuss their feelings, thoughts, goals and needs but also find ways of healthy conflict resolution – all of which is impossible when spouses stop communicating with each other.
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You no longer trust your spouse
Even more than romantic love and sexual desire, mutual trust and respect are the foundations on which a successful marriage is built and often the first signs of a tottering marriage is a crack in this base structure. So if you find yourself double-checking your spouse’s schedule and whereabouts, spying into his/her papers, receipts and cell phone, then these are signs of a serious trust deficit in your marriage. And when there is no mutual faith or trust, it is well nigh for a couple to pull along together.
You no longer have sex
While sex may not be as crucial as mutual trust and love for the survival of a marriage, it nevertheless is an important indicator of the health of a relationship. If you and your spouse rarely have sex or cannot even find time for sexual intimacy it is a sign that your marriage is headed for a divorce. There could be many reasons for this - maybe you both have varying sex drives or maybe you have both stopped needing that intimate connection with each other. Whatever the reason, a marriage that lacks sexual intimacy and affection is deprived of a very basic need and instead of surviving as a marriage of convenience, it may be best to end it.
You imagine yourself divorced
Very often our subconscious thoughts and images are one of the earliest indications of what is actually going on in our lives. So if you find yourself fantasizing about divorce ever so often, it is a definite sign that you are stuck in an unpleasant situation and you are unable to find a solution to make things better.
Your financial priorities are completely different
Together with sex and infidelity, money is among the most common sources of marital conflict. While it is only natural for two individuals to have their own spending and saving habits, arguing about money constantly may signal deep differences in mutual life goals. If neither of you can save enough for shared priorities like a mortgage, vacation or kids’ college fund and are always accusing the other of untoward expenses, it implies that you are moving in different directions; thus it is only a matter of time before your marriage comes unstuck.
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Your spouse never has a good word for you
In a marriage, it is natural for partners to start taking each other for granted after a while. But if you find that your spouse never has anything nice to say about you and what’s more, constantly degrades you, whether before others or in the privacy of your home, it is time to take stock. Mutual respect is the cornerstone of every meaningful relationship; in fact, some would say it is even more important than romantic love and passion in a marriage. So if you find your spouse always belittling or denigrating your dreams, hopes and qualities, it is best to get out. All these are signs of a toxic relationship, one which can never give you the love and happiness you deserve.
You feel lonely and helpless
If you feel like you are the only one trying to make things work without the least bit of co-operation from your spouse, it may be better to end such a state of affairs. It can be extremely frustrating to make the effort to discuss marital problems only to have your spouse pulls away from you. At the same time consider the possibility that you have expressed, either in words or actions, that you no longer care and you are the one distancing yourself from the marriage. Eventually one or the other spouse will shut down all together and no longer be interested in solving the marital problems – such a situation can only end in a divorce.
Your kids are suffering
One of the reasons why the institution of marriage has survived for so long is that it offers the best context for bringing up kids. But when you find your children being traumatized because of daily flights between you and your spouse, it is time to consider the possibility that your marriage has outlived its purpose. However be careful never ever to blame your children for the way things turned out – if you and your spouse have been unable to resolve issues, it is your problem and not your kids’ fault.
Three is a crowd
Infidelity is the leading cause of divorces in modern society and the invasion of the virtual world into the bedroom has not helped matters one bit. So if you or your spouse is having an affair, is a serial cheater or even continues to be ‘friends’ with a former flame, your marriage is as good as over and you may as well call your lawyer. Sometimes, individuals are just not cut out for monogamy – they drift into affairs even if they seemed to have wanted to get married initially. At other times even a one-time affair can leave scars behind. For a marriage to fully get past one spouse’s adultery, the unfaithful half of the couple needs to cut off all ties with a former lover and cannot claim to be merely ‘friends’. In a healthy marriage, there is room enough for only two and no more.
Someone is being or about to be harmed
Marital abuse can take various forms, ranging from being subject to physical and sexual violence to apparently less dangerous behavior like being denied financial resources, forbidden to see one’s friends and family or even have a job. If you or your dependent(s) are being harmed in any such way, it is imperative to get out of the marriage. Also if you have thoughts of harming yourself, consider it an urgent cry for help from your inner self and should wake you up to the gravity of the situation. If your marriage is so bad that you feel like harming yourself, you need to leave now and talk to a therapist as soon as possible.