There are little hints that a relationship may be teetering towards divorce, but we often overlook these signs.
It is easier to make excuses or to keep the relationship status quo, rather than analyse what may be going wrong.
Some people felt if they pretended everything was okay, then it really was okay.
Change can be hard and some may not be willing to put forth the effort. These red flags are indicators that help may be needed.
- The big sign that I consistently observed in husbands before a divorce, was that they were jittery and nervous. They could be in a zen situation and still exhibited behaviour as if going before a firing squad. They seemed to be on red alert and looking for a quick exit. A few were even shaking.
- Lack of sex. Are they not initiating sex or has it become more mechanical and less loving? This in itself does not point to divorce – but rather in conjunction with others on the list, it may. Avoiding intimacy and seeming more like a flatmate instead of a lover, deserves a discussion.
- Your wife repeatedly whispering on the phone in another room and hanging up when you enter is suspicious. Your husband keeping you in the dark regarding his whereabouts and time he will be home is worrisome. Not being open with schedules and evasive answers is a clue that something is off.
- Not wanting to socialize as a couple anymore is a red flag. One woman decided not to continue going to her husband’s speeches and told him she wanted more time with the kids. She felt uneasy around her husband and was not going to pretend to be the happy wife in public. They got a divorce.
Check on the money. Is her grocery bills, and other necessities much higher now? She may be getting cash back with a debit card when making purchases, and socking it away. Are there some discrepancies or recent large withdrawals? A spouse may be planning a getaway from the marriage.
- Are you being treated condescendingly or belittled? Being taken for granted can happen even in the happiest of relationships, however a lack of respect does not. My ex was putting me down in front of our sons and I wrestled with the popular saying “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” When my sons started following his example, then I called them and him on any infractions. We parted ways and my sons became respectful towards me again. Conversations may segue into heated arguments and blame is high on the list. If you cannot have quiet discussions then something is amiss.
- How are your spouse’s parents and family treating you? My former mother-in-law got a little more frosty right before my husband left me. She obviously knew what was in the cards. They may already be distancing themselves from you in anticipation of a break up.
- Are you having less fun and losing your connection to each other? Perhaps the topic of conversation is about logistics, such as who is picking up the kids, and less about feelings. Having nearly separate lives while still cohabitating is a warning sign.
What to do if you feel your relationship is on the rocks?
Have a heart-to-heart with your spouse, maybe over a glass of wine. She may be overwhelmed with work and kids and getting outside help may be the cure.
He may be having some medical concerns and needs a push to see the GP.
Some busy couples take a week or so without children and go to a dreamy resort. Just being together and having uninterrupted time gets the relationship back on track. If talking it out does not work, then seek counselling.
The charity Relate and other ones have resources for patching up relationships. Counselling can help you determine what the best option is, whether staying together or getting a divorce.
Wendi Schuller is a published author who has conducted classes on various subjects. She draws upon her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, providing a blueprint to guide women through this difficult transition. Schuller hired an attorney for a court divorce, but decided to go the collaborative route instead and has worked with a mediator post-divorce.
Author of The Woman’s Holistic Guide to Divorce
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