Although each marriage is unique, one common factor among them all is the fact that hardships and arguments are bound to occur. Disagreements are natural and to be expected. However, when these begin to negatively affect an individual in the long term, divorce may need to be explored.
A couple should try to find ways to reach common ground and reconciliation – however, this is not always possible. It’s therefore important to know when it’s time to divorce. We have compiled a list of some of the ways you can figure out if it’s the right time to part ways.
1. Lost Sense of Self
A healthy marriage entails two individuals coming together to navigate life. This, however, doesn’t mean that one ceases to have interests, beliefs, and values that differ from the other. If you find that you have become a person you don’t recognise in the aim to keep the peace between the two of you, it may be time to consider divorce. For example, if you are naturally a social butterfly but your partner tries to isolate you from your circle, you may lose your sense of self because isolation is not your familiar territory.
A healthy marriage encourages each party to become the best version of themselves, rather than trap in a proverbial box. If you are in this situation you may have to explore this question of when is it time to divorce.
2. When Children Suffer
The innocent beings caught in the middle of a difficult marriage are the children. When the children become continuously affected by your marriage, it may be time to move on from each other. Children may witness physical fights, verbal abuse, or emotionally distant parents. Such situations can cause children to live in fear, anxiety, and loneliness for example. Make sure to keep your children’s experiences in the home as stable as possible. One way of ensuring this, in some instances, is by filing for divorce and organising visitation rights.
3. Physical Abuse
When a relationship becomes physical, it reaches a new level of danger. Physical abuse can begin as what may seem as a ‘harmless’ slap to the face or a vigorous shake on the shoulders. These violence physical actions can eventually escalate to fist punches, shaking, and choking as well as the use of weapons such as knives and guns. People have been murdered by their spouses or left permanently disabled. The moment you feel your spouse is placing your life in danger, it may be time for a divorce. You want to make sure that you walk out alive and not carried by others in a lifeless state.
4. Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse and has intertwined effects. Emotional abuse can come in the form of derogatory speech, shouting, and blatant ignoring. This type of abuse directly affects your self-esteem, where you may begin to feel as if you are not good enough and don’t deserve to occupy this space on earth. Such thoughts have led to cases of suicide, depression, and anxiety. A healthy marriage is one that doesn’t leave you second-guessing your worth even when you’re in the middle of an argument. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression, you must seek professional guidance.
5. Third Party Involvement
Depending on your location, third party involvement – which is the case of extra-marital affairs – is recognised and tried under the court of law. You are eligible to file for divorce as well as sue the third party involved, all depending on the dynamics and evidence present.
Extra-marital affairs are a breach of nuptial agreements and are cause for divorce. The marriage can suffer from so many breaches including that of trust and can be difficult to repair. Some couples have recovered from an extramarital affair and have emerged stronger in the relationship. You can seek support from your trusted social circle as well as professionals, such as marriage counsellors, before you head for divorce. Only you can decide whether it is an issue you can overcome together, or that it is now time to divorce.
6. Lack of Intimacy
Sexual, emotional, and mental intimacy and stimulation is needed to keep the bond between you strong. When intimacy is no longer a priority, a relationship can become diluted and leave gaps for disagreement. A spouse may feel that they are no longer attractive, or begin to desire intimacy from outside the marriage. This isn’t to say that intimacy is always going to be at its peak as external factors such as kids, jobs, and family matters can directly affect intimacy levels and cause lulls. However, when a complete lack of intimacy becomes a norm, it may be time to divorce.
7. Communication Lack
When a couple ceases to communicate, they merely become roommates that maybe are raising children together. Communication is mandatory to keep a relationship afloat. When one begins to guess how or what the spouse is thinking of, the relationship loses the dynamics of partnership and teamwork. Communication breakdowns between couples are normal and can be worked on if both parties are willing. However, if one or both parties decide that they are not willing to improve their communication skills, the future of the marriage will always be rocky. It may be time to divorce if you realise that there is no hope to sharpen each other’s communication tools.
8. Codependent Tendencies
Codependency in marriage is unhealthy and can be detrimental to mental and emotional wellness. Codependency is when people are unable to carry out activities or make decisions without the other. It is also a level of emotional and mental dependency where the actions of one always direct how the other feels. It can also manifest as one person constantly managing the emotions and tempers of the other in an attempt to appease someone who they perceive as more volatile. This can lead to a level of control, either from the partner attempting to compensate for the lack of emotional energy from the other partner, or from the partner who is taking advantage of their spouse in order to avoid exertion and accountability, as well as narcissistic behaviour. If you realise that you and your spouse are co-dependant, you must seek professional guidance to help you set healthy boundaries. Should such boundaries fail to be placed, it may be time to divorce.
People get married for different reasons in the hope that it will eventually turn into a partnership that will be successful. For instance, some may get married because a pregnancy happened, or for economic stability. Once the marriage progresses, you may discover that you aren’t able to contribute to keeping the relationship afloat. You may find that you made a wrong decision by getting married to your spouse. Your emotional and mental state directly affects your partner. Rather than remaining in a state of discontent, you may want to consider divorcing.
10. Recurring Negative Thoughts
If you constantly have negative thoughts towards your partner, you may need to consider going your separate ways. If your partner is always trying to please you to no avail, you may need to go your separate ways. Your thoughts become actions and sooner or later, your spouse will catch on to the negative thoughts by observing your treatment of them. You may begin resenting your spouse and wishing that they were another person. It’s only fair to let your spouse go if you feel that they can’t meet your needs, regardless of the effort that is put.
Dissociation is the constant state of not being present in the moment. Some partners may enter this state while with their partners and begin to fantasize about having a different type of life without your partner. Many factors can lead to a state of dissociating from your partner including broken trust and having fallen out of love. This means that your partner will be in the relationship by themselves while you would have emotionally and mentally exited the relationship. In that case, divorce might be the best alternative.
12. Controlling Tendencies
If you are in a marriage where you feel you are constantly being controlled, it may be time to divorce as this is both a kind of abuse as well as a sign of possible future escalation of abuse. If you can’t make decisions that immediately impact your life without having to consult your partner, your life may be in the hands of your spouse. A controlling spouse can become violent when you show signs of defying the set expectations and rules.
Every marriage is as unique as the individuals that form the partnership. Dynamics can differ culturally, religiously, and individually. The reasons for divorce are, therefore, unique and require serious introspection given the different factors involved. You might know that it’s time to divorce when you find yourself in the following situations: lost sense of self; when you are physically and emotionally abused; when an infidelity has occurred; when there is no longer intimacy, communication, and respect; and when you can see that the children are beginning to get affected.
You may also consider divorce if your relationship becomes codependent, dissociated, controlling, as well as when you continue to have negative thoughts about your partner. Going through a divorce is a physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing process; however, your ultimate wellness is the priority.