7 Signs It Might Be Time to File for Divorce

Many marriages undergo struggles. Every couple has disagreements they need to work through.

Counseling can help, but it’s not a cure-all. With some scenarios, divorce may be the only viable option, and it’s often better to act quickly than to prolong the inevitable.

If you think you’re seeing signs that a divorce could be on the horizon, don’t forget that the experience is extremely personal. Your process will be different from most, if not all, of the others, so try not to make comparisons, and take what everyone tells you with a grain of salt.

Remember also that divorce is usually a longer process than you’d like or expect. It might entail legal mediation and the counsel of a trusted attorney, so it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.

However, there are a few signs that will indicate you probably should consider pursuing a divorce now rather than waiting.

1. You’ve been verbally or physically abused

Perhaps the most obvious reason to divorce is outright abuse. No one should ever stay in a marriage where she or he is regularly mistreated, whether physically or verbally.

That’s an unmistakable sign that the marriage is as good as over and you need to seek safety. Don’t try to convince yourself it’s “not that bad”; that being hit or screamed at once in a while is not really abuse.

If you’ve been injured emotionally or physically by your spouse, the relationship probably should come to an end as soon as possible.

2. Your marriage is saddled with secrets and lies

Although some husbands and wives are utterly blindsided when the truth comes out, most have some sense of when their spouse is lying or keeping secrets from them. Unless your spouse’s secrets have to do with a dream vacation in the works, it usually mean he or she is hiding something bad. When that truth comes out, it often means a divorce is on the way.

3. Your relationship exhibits signs of toxicity

A toxic relationship is characterized by:

  • Ongoing passive-aggressive behavior
  • Mean “jokes”
  • Constant isolation from friends and family
  • No opportunities to spend time with others without your spouse being present
  • Feeling you have to ask permission to do anything at all
  • Always walking on eggshells around your partner

These are all indications your spouse is controlling you or making you feel bad about every little thing. You’re in a toxic relationship that needs to end for your own well-being.

4. You’re sleeping alone more often than not

If your spouse has better things to do than sleep by your side every night, your marriage could be in critical condition. Sleeping alone does not necessarily mean someone’s having an affair.

Your spouse could be working long hours, going out with friends, gambling, staying up at all hours playing video games, or making other decisions that keep him or her away from you. But whatever the reason(s), it’s pretty hard to maintain a healthy relationship when you never enjoy the intimacy of sleeping together (literally or otherwise).

5. You realize you’re more happy or content when your spouse isn’t around

Take notice of your moods. Do you smile more when your spouse is elsewhere?

Do concerns about how your actions will affect the other person keep you from enjoying your time when you’re together? Maybe it’s time for the relationship to end.

6. Your spouse is involved in an emotional or physical affair

Catching your spouse in a physical affair is a no-brainer. It’s one of the irrevocable signs that you’d better get a divorce. However, many people get blindsided by an emotional affair.

This occurs when a spouse is unfaithful in ways other than the blatantly physical, such as through a pornography addiction, explicit emails, or phone sex. Your spouse might lust after other people, even if he or she never commits the act.

Whatever’s going on, the effect is to shift all the attention from you and diminish any real intimacy you might once have had.

7. The police have been called more than once during your arguments

Physical abuse repeatedly committed by one party against the other is an obvious signal that divorce may be necessary, but sometimes the parties are equally abusive. When your arguments escalate to screaming, throwing objects, and any form of violent contact, and the police get summoned to mediate, the pair of you might have reached the point where resolution is beyond your capabilities.

In this case, ending the marriage might be an especially wise choice if you have children. It’s not psychologically healthy for kids to see their parents fighting aggressively and repeatedly, so you should consider separating for their sake.

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