Even the most in-love couples have moments when the prospect of divorce crosses their mind. “After a heated argument, a betrayal, or even a rough patch, it’s common for individuals to wonder what would happen if they had never met and married their spouse,” says Rhonda Richards Smith, LCSW, a Los Angeles-based relationship therapist. But when do those normal thoughts cross into the this is going to happen territory? We spoke to divorced couples about when they knew divorce was in their future.
One of the most common signs of trouble is when a partner suffers from addiction. Whether its alcohol, gambling or even the internet, when it takes precedence over the spouse, that’s when you know you need to talk. Communicating with your partner and showing your support will definitely help. But if the problem goes unnoticed, it may get difficult in the long run.
We’ve all been there. A couple of gloomy days is normal in any relationship. But if depression becomes chronic it can have serious consequences. However, depression need not lead to a divorce. Showing compassion to the depressed partner and encouraging them to seek medical help is the first step toward recovery and even salvaging your marriage.
LACK OF COMMUNICATION
As a married couple you need not agree with each other all the time. But if a difference of opinions leads to regular fights then clearly something is not right. Couples often shy away from discussing their problems, feeling it would further aggravate the situation. It’s also a sign that you have given up on making things work with your partner. But staying silent won’t help either. Find a suitable time when you can talk it out in peace and identify the root cause of the problem.
Working round the clock may get you that promotion, but doing so at the cost of your marriage is not a good idea. It may also be a sign to your partner that you’d rather spend time with a laptop than them. Whatever the reason, if you feel left out in the relationship, bring it up sooner rather than later.
Your body freaks out during disagreements
Fights are overwhelming, but if you notice that tiffs with your partner take over your body a la The Exorcist, it’s a big sign something’s wrong. The psychology term for this is “flooding,” or the physical response that occurs when talking about a problem with a partner, which can involve everything from an accelerated heart rate to sweating to a nervous stomach. “In this state, we can’t take in new information, we can’t think creatively, and we lose our senses of humor, all of which makes it difficult to have discussions around areas of differences,” says McNulty.
If you notice this happening, he advises taking a break and revisiting the conversation once you’ve cooled down. “Do some deep breathing or watch a stupid TV show or take a walk—whatever it is that helps you relax,” McNulty suggests. Just don’t just leave the issue unresolved once you’ve reached a state of calm.
You’re always playing defense
If you’re feeling attacked by a partner, your knee-jerk response might be to clap back at all the criticism. So if your S.O. brought up that trash issue, a natural reaction might be to counterattack with something like: “You’re crazy! I always take out the trash, I don’t knowwhat you’re talking about!” In the Gottman Method, this is referred to simply as “defensiveness.” It’s yet another factor that makes it impossible to have a productive conversation about the issue at hand.
But how do you recalibrate this natural reaction? “The antidote is taking responsibility, even for a small piece of it,” says McNulty. Going back to the trash scenario, a better reply would be: “You’re right, I could remember to take the trash out more often, I’m going to write a reminder on my phone so I don’t forget.” This approach shows you’re willing to work as a team to solve the problem, McNulty explains.
New- found interestin the ex
If your partner is reconnecting with an ex-lover for no good reason, it may mean that he or she is feeling left out in the marriage and needs support and attention from someone else.
Another reason for an unhealthy marriage is when one partner benefits over the other. Marriage is a two-way street and requires equal efforts from both partners to make it work. It doesn’t mean that you have to give your husband an equally expensive gift for Valentine’s or spend equally when you go out. But if at any point your partner seems like a burden or doesn’t seem to invest in the relationship as much as you do, it’s time to reevaluate the situation.
No contribution household chores
Are you the one doing the dishes all the time while your partner sits in front of the TV with a tub of popcorn? It may sound trivial, but doing all the household chores alone without the contribution of your spouse can strain the relationship. A marriage is all about give and take, right?
Whoever said that love is beyond money probably lied. You don’t need millions to be happily married, but if you’re struggling to pay the bills every month then it could strain your relationship beyond repair. If things are getting out of control, seeking help from a financial adviser may not be a bad idea.