How to Tell When Your Marriage Is Coming to an End
The honeymoon is long over, and you’re starting to notice some fundamental differences and issues that you’re just not prepared to deal with. Relationships are hard work, and many of us are scared of any fleeting tension or bumps that are normal for any relationship. No relationship is roses and champagne 24/7, but when we encounter an issue, we get scared and think we’ve fallen out of love. This feeling could snowball into cheating, arguments, or a gradual distancing from each other.
There are things you can do to try and nudge your marriage back on track, but it’s also important to know when to walk away. Here are a few signs that may indicate that your marriage is coming to an end.
Poll: The State of Your Marriage
Are you happy with your marriage?
7 Signs That Your Marriage is Over
1. You don’t share anymore
Communication is the pinnacle of a healthy, successful relationship. Are you the last to know about your partner’s decisions? Do you feel like you don’t know what’s going on in your partner’s life anymore? It’s not necessary to share every thought with each other, but being able to share your successes and talk about your problems, concerns, and insecurities is crucial.
If you find that communication has broken down or become nonexistent in your relationship, it’s a major negative indicator of the health of your relationship.
2. You fantasize about being single
It’s not unusual to reminisce about the “good old times” when you used to paint the town red with your single friends. But, if you find that you're daydreaming about how much better your life would be if you weren’t married, it may be time to dig a little deeper to find out why you’re fantasizing about the single life. There may be some serious issues in your marriage that need to be addressed.
3. Arguing about the same thing over and over without resolution
Disagreements are par for the course in relationships. It’s how you deal with those disagreements that will determine the success of the relationship. Ideally, every disagreement or argument will come to a satisfactory resolution for both parties. So, if you find that every little disagreement turns into a full-blown argument, or if you keep arguing about the same issue without coming to a resolution, your marriage is in danger.
Disagreements are par for the course in relationships. It’s how you deal with those disagreements that will determine the success of the relationship.
4. You feel alone even when you’re together
Marriage is about sharing a life with another person, about providing companionship, emotional and physical intimacy, and spending time with someone you love. So, if you’re continually feeling lonely even when your partner is in the same room, there may be an underlying issue eroding your marriage. It may mean that your partner is withdrawing emotionally or is cutting you out.
5. No more physical intimacy
Physical intimacy isn’t everything in a marriage, but it does play a significant role in sustaining a close bond between husband and wife. If your spouse is showing a declined interest in being intimate with you, chances are, they’re also providing less emotional intimacy as well. Lack of intimacy will weaken the bond you have with your partner and is a major symptom of a dysfunctional marriage.
6. You don’t have anything in common anymore
When was the last time you shared a laugh together or talked about random shared interests? Chronic silence is a major symptom of marital breakdown. Yes, our lives are busy and you may be too drained to speak with each other at the end of a hectic day, but no one said marriage was easy. If you’re finding it hard to talk about things other than what time dinner will be, or who will pick up the dry cleaning, your marriage may be at risk.
7. You find it hard to support each other’s individual growth without feeling resentful
A healthy, strong marriage is one where a couple will actively support each other’s dreams, goals, and help each other grow. But if you’re starting to resent your partner’s success and are finding it increasingly hard to genuinely feel happy for them, that could be an indication that you're no longer operating as a unit.
3 Things You Can Do to Heal a Marriage
It takes two to be married so these tips will only work if both of you are ready to try.
1. Check your expectations to inject positive energy into the marriage
This is perhaps the number one most important thing you can do not only to enjoy a happy marriage but to become a happier person as well. When we feel as though we're unfairly treated, it’s often because we approached a situation with certain expectations. When those expectations aren’t met, we feel disappointed and perhaps even resentful. And for your partner, there’s nothing more demotivating than feeling like they’re constantly disappointing you.
So, go into every interaction with your spouse with lowered expectations. When something good happens, you’ll always be pleasantly surprised. And when all good deeds, big or small, are always received positively, your partner (and you) will feel motivated to do even more for each other.
2. Learn how to discuss problems together constructively
It's important for a couple to be able to openly express any concerns or issues they may have in the relationship. In these situations, it's easy to become defensive or to feel insulted, but it's important not to get angry and to discuss any concerns constructively. A helpful rule of thumb is to start every sentence with "I feel" so it will sound like you're genuinely trying to communicate your thoughts and feelings - not pointing fingers. If at any point during the discussion, either of you are starting to get riled up, it's best to take a breather and resume the conversation with cool heads.
3. Make an effort to spend more quality time together
Marriage is hard work, and the most successful couples treat their marriage like a full-time job. Maximum effort, all of the time. So, while it’s easier to come home after a long day and unwind in front of the TV, you need to spend more quality time with your spouse. Play. Unplug and go out on dates, schedule romantic date nights at home, or try something new together. Let your imagination go wild. The more you go out of your way to connect with each other, the stronger your marriage will become.
Poll: Quality Time
Experts say a couple needs to spend a minimum of 2-3 hours of quality time together per week. How much quality time, on average, do you spend with your spouse?
The Final Option: Divorce
If you’ve thought of and tried everything you could without seeing results, then it may be time to walk away. Here’s a brief breakdown of what to expect when you file for divorce.
You may be happier
Divorce isn’t cheap
You would be free to find a more suitable partner
You’ll have more time alone (empty house)
You can move on and start the healing process
Will cause stress in the family and children (if you have any)
You’ll have more time alone (single life, here you come!)
Divorce procedures may drag on
Freedom from the tension in your marriage
You may experience guilt, embarrassment, or lingering questions like “Could the marriage have been saved?”
Keep Calm and Carry On
Whether you decide to try and save your marriage or to cut your losses and file for divorce, it’s important not to lose faith in love. Marriage isn’t easy and is a long road filled with compromise, but it can also be a beautiful union between two compatible individuals. Just because you’re going through a tough time, doesn’t mean that you should lose hope. Whatever the outcome, your resilience and strength will pay off.
© 2017 KV Lo