Ending a marriage is not a simple decision and for that reason, it is often put off. Knowing the signs your marriage is over can help you walk away with dignity and grace.
Entering a marriage is a serious decision and leaving one may be even more so. Leaving a marriage isn’t something you decide to do on a whim. Sometimes, you need to understand and learn the signs your marriage is over, not as a doomsday prophecy but to know when to call it quits if you ever reach that point of no return.
It takes time, thought, and communication to figure out if your marriage can be salvaged.
I know salvaged probably isn’t a word you want to hear when thinking about your marriage but even the biggest messes can become a solid partnership, with work and the right kind of effort. But, the question is, are you beyond the work?
Whether you’ve done counseling and tried to make things work without success or you haven’t and things just feel wrong, wondering if your marriage is over isn’t easy.
If you’ve come to that point, I’m sorry. Ending a marriage is never an enjoyable experience, no matter how right of a decision it may end up being. But, knowing the signs your marriage is over can help you make sense of it so you can move forward with your life.
All marriages are different
Like most relationship advice, this is not one size fits all. There are hundreds of reasons you may want to end a marriage and all of those could be meaningless to someone else.
Before offering you warning signs your marriage is over, keep in mind that this is a decision to be made between you and your spouse. Whether you notice these signs or not, it isn’t a definitive reason to end your marriage. Imagine saying, “I ended my marriage because an article said there were signs.” A little weird, right?
Ending a marriage takes a lot of time and energy, much like sustaining a marriage, and you will not come to that decision lightly whether this article helps you or not.
It’s hard to admit to ourselves when our marriage is over
These signs your marriage is over for you could mean that it is time to file for divorce or reassess your relationship or even take a break.
It makes sense that you may not want to admit that your marriage is over. We tend to cling to comfort and familiarity even if we’re unhappy. We would rather stay in a loveless marriage than not know what we’re coming home to at the end of the day.
Fearing change, especially such a big change is understandable. But, when that fear prevents you from facing the facts it prevents you from moving on with your life.
Whether you need to communicate with your partner to make things better or take some time apart, it is so important to know when your marriage is over or hopefully, before.
Making rash decisions from a list written by someone who doesn’t know you or your precise situation won’t do you any good. I advise you to take this list as guidance rather than gospel when it comes to deciding whether or not your marriage is over.
The hard signs your marriage is over you need to look for
I do not take this topic lightly as I’m sure you don’t. A marriage ending is nothing if not serious. Determining whether or not it is time for a divorce is important. If you wait too long to look for the signs your marriage is over, it may end in chaos rather than respect. And if you decide too early, you may regret it.
If these signs your marriage is over ring true for you, it is probably time to reassess what your next step is.
#1 You never fight. Fighting might seem like what would end a marriage and in some cases, yes, it can. But when you never fight about anything, it is an equally bad sign. A lacking of fighting shows a lack of care.
When you want your partner to see your point or agree with you, it is because you care what they think. When you don’t put in the effort to communicate, especially when you disagree, it signifies an absence of effort.
#2 You just want to be right. Who doesn’t want to be right? Well, no one, but when being right takes over being happy in your relationship, there is a reason for this.
It isn’t that you want your partner to admit you’re right but that you can’t see any other alternative, no matter the issue at hand. If you both want to be right over wanting to be happy together it shows a major disconnect in your connection.
#3 You’re always angry. Separate from what some romantic comedies may have told you, anger is not synonymous with passion. You don’t have to fight and yell and be mad or bitter in order to tear each others’ clothes off.
A relationship that is filled with anger for whatever reason lacks a level of understanding. Anger can be seen through resentment, cruelty, and more but if that is the main feeling you’re experiencing in your marriage, it is time to reassess.
#4 Intimacy is long gone. It is normal for even the healthiest relationships to have ruts. But when your marriage has lacked any romantic intimacy for longer than a few weeks, it is a sign that not only have neither of you made an effort to remedy the situation, but may not want to.
Intimacy isn’t just about sex either. If you’re not holding hands, cuddling on the couch, or even kissing each other goodbye when you leave for work, those small gestures take away a large portion of a happy and healthy marriage.
#5 You feel alone. There is nothing more isolating than feeling alone or lonely when you’re in a relationship, especially a marriage. Feeling like you’re going through life as a single person although you share a home, a name, and a life with someone else shows that this has been a long time coming.
You aren’t just having a bad day when you feel this way, you haven’t been able to have the support of your marriage in a long time.
#6 You’re trying too hard. Some may say there is no such thing, but there is. When you’re married, you shouldn’t have to change who you are or do things you don’t want to do, to get attention from your spouse.
If you or your partner is putting in extended efforts that are not being met equally, it is a sign that your marriage is over for at least one of you.
#7 You’ve grown apart. Next to infidelity, growing apart is one of the leading causes of divorce. Growing apart is something that doesn’t have to have the anger and drama of a televised divorce. This is something that simply happens over time as the members of the marriage change and grow without the other.
If you feel you’ve hit a new stage of your life without your partner or vice versa, it can be hard to come back from that. You can’t be expected to wait for them to catch up or speed down to meet their pace. When you grow away from each other instead of closer, it can be hard to find your way back.
#8 The respect is lost. Respect is something you rarely see from divorced couples in movies. You always see petty comments and eye rolls. This isn’t always the case when it comes to a marriage ending, but when that does happen, it isn’t just for comedic relief.
When you find yourself making jokes at your spouse’s expense, in front of them or not, you’ve lost a level of respect for them. Without respect, it is near impossible to make a marriage work. Respect is the foundation of any solution and without it, you just have bitter close-mindedness.
#9 The trust is broken. Broken trust, although it can be rebuilt, is often the last straw for a couple. When you stop trusting your partner due to lying, cheating, or another betrayal, you lose so much of a relationship.
You don’t go to them for advice or comfort or even to vent about work. When there is no longer trust, the marriage has lost a huge piece of its foundation and won’t last without immense work.
#10 The rough patch is not ending. All marriages have rough patches. Even the happiest elderly couples who don’t regret a day will tell you they have rough patches. These can go on for days or weeks or even months, but when you see no light ahead, it can be a sign that this isn’t a rough patch.
A rough patch is often kicked off by a particular event, but when time doesn’t calm things down and you can’t come back from it, the rough patch leads to a deeper issue that can very easily lead to divorce.
#11 You attack instead of communicate. Communication is key. I’m sure you’ve heard that more than once before. The thing about communication is that it is about comprehension. If you are upset your partner did something, you discuss it.
But, when that discussion is an attack, it doesn’t benefit you or the marriage. When you accuse your partner or blame them rather than working with them on the same team, things stop being about your relationship and start being about you. This is where the anger begins and respect tends to slide.
#12 You’ve stopped making decisions together. Whether you stopped talking about what color to paint a room, what plans to make for the weekend, or what job to take, this shows a lack of mutual connection or awareness. When you go from an ‘us’ to a ‘me’ or an ‘I’, it shows that you are taking on the role of a single person.
Not only does this mean your marriage is no longer a priority, but signals that you are already starting to live the life of someone who isn’t married.
#13 You avoid each other. Avoidance is a pretty intense sign that a marriage is truly on its last legs. If you are so fed up with your spouse that you avoid them at all costs, there isn’t much to work on.
If you aren’t fighting, talking, or even sharing glances across the breakfast table, the foundation of the marriage to build off of has already dwindled.
#14 Others have noticed. No matter how good you may be at hiding your most personal issues, if your friends or family have noticed a shift in your mood or relationship, that is often a sign it is time to make a change.
Whether that change is therapy or separation may not be clear yet, but if the difficulties in your marriage are seeping into your life outside of that relationship, it is time to give it some serious attention.
#15 You reach out to others over your spouse. Your spouse, although not capable of fulfilling every need you have, should be someone you can go to with good or bad news. They are there to comfort you and celebrate with you. But, if you have started going to someone else for these moments, it shows a disconnect.
Whether you reach out to a friend, a coworker, or family member, replacing that important role in your life says that something is missing and it won’t be found by doing what you’re doing now.
#16 You daydream about a future without them. I’m sure even people in happy marriages have dreams about leaving the responsibilities of marriage to ride off into the sunset with their celebrity crush. But if a realistic future without your spouse is at the front of your mind, it isn’t a good sign that your marriage has potential.
Daydreaming and even planning a future where you can travel or move across the country without your spouse shows that you not only want that future, but have loose plans to make it happen.
#17 It feels too late to change things. When you or your spouse feel hopeless, there isn’t much that can be done to remedy that. If only one of you sees a chance for the marriage to work or be saved, there is a good chance it won’t be.
A marriage needs both people to want to work for it and believe it can be saved.
#18 You blame each other. When neither part of a couple is willing to take responsibility for the end of the marriage or even the issues that have come up, it can be hard, if not impossible to come back from. Being able to apologize for your mistakes and forgive them for theirs is a huge part of saving a marriage.
Without that, fixing the marriage doesn’t seem doable.
#19 Infidelity. Although many marriages come back from affairs to thrive for years, this isn’t the case most often. Infidelity is a betrayal that is on a different level than many other things that can happen in a marriage. It goes against the most basic marriage vow and many people cannot get past that.
I’m not saying your marriage is hopeless if there has been infidelity, but it certainly isn’t a good sign.
#20 You tried therapy. If you have both tried marriage counseling and put the effort in without success, it may be time to cut ties. Hopefully, therapy gave you some insight and will help you end things on the best of terms, but if you have exhausted all options, don’t look at a divorce as a defeat but simply a step in the right direction.
#21 There is abuse. When there is mental, emotional, or physical abuse in a marriage I don’t recommend looking for reasons to stay. When these things arise, escaping them, even admitting that they’re happening, is hard enough.
Trying to forgive and remedy marital abuse is not unheard of, but my first suggestion would be to leave before it gets worse. Abuse is the last sign your marriage is over.
How to accept your marriage is over
Even if you read through this list and felt a familiarity with these signs your marriage is over, it can be hard to come to terms with such a decision.
My best piece of advice would be this – Look at your future if things continue as they are, and look at your future if you accept your marriage is over. And pick the outcome you can live with.
Knowing the signs your marriage is over may not convince you to file divorce paperwork but it may inspire you to look ahead to a happier outcome.