Although the statistics for marriage are not always positive — 40% to 50% of them will end in divorce in America — no one enters into wedded bliss expecting it to fail. But unfortunately, things happen, and many couples wonder at some point whether their marriage could be on the brink of divorce.
All relationships take work. And it could be time to consider couples’ counseling to help communication. But if you’ve already been down that road or you’re noticing some major red flags, your marriage could be in real trouble.
Here are a few signs your marriage is likely to end in divorce. Page 6 may be especially surprising.
1. One of you has an addiction
One of the biggest challenges any couple can face is addiction. When excessive alcohol consumption, drugs, or gambling are involved — and when they begin to take precedence over the spouse — the marriage becomes strained. There’s bound to be some resentment, and there are usually secrets involved. Seek professional help, and take care of yourself in the process.
Next: Are you avoiding your problems?
2. You’re avoiding your spouse
You may not even realize you’re doing this, but finding reasons to avoid your partner is a troubling sign. If you’re constantly prioritizing your friends over your marriage, or if you make excuses not to be home with your spouse, you could be in danger of divorce. Some signs you’re avoiding an inevitable split include:
- Doing more things on your own (and liking it)
- Imagining your life without your partner
- Avoiding problems and arguments instead of dealing with them
Next: This is a major marriage killer.
3. You have financial problems or secrets
Many studies have found a correlation between financial disagreements and divorce. If you’re hiding debt from your spouse, you’ve made some reckless financial decisions, or you’re constantly stressed over the state of your finances, it’s not a good sign.
Even if you’re upfront about your finances, your partner could be keeping money secrets from you. Here are a few warning signs:
- Your partner gets defensive or stressed when you bring up money.
- You notice a lot of new purchases that haven’t been accounted for.
- You’re being showered with gifts, and your partner can’t explain why. (It’s a sign of deflection.)
- You’re “forbidden” from checking the mail.
Next: How’s your time in the bedroom?
4. Your sex life is dull or non-existent
Passion always ebbs and flows in a relationship, and the stress of daily life can take its toll behind closed doors. But according to divorce lawyer Randall Kessler, a lackluster sex life is an indication that divorce is near. Kessler sometimes sees divorcing couples who haven’t had sex in years.
Next: Has someone mentally checked out?
5. You never argue
Your partner is supposed to be your friend and your confidant. So if you’re feeling lonely or isolated, it’s indicative of major marital woes. If you’ve been feeling lonely, or if you feel like your spouse is withdrawing from you, speak up. It could just be a misunderstanding, and your other half could be feeling as lonely as you are. Or — or, they could have already mentally checked out.
Next: You’d think this would be the opposite.
6. You feel lonely
You would think not arguing with your spouse would be a good thing. But according to Douglas Kepanis, a divorce attorney in New York City, staying silent to keep the peace just leads to built-up resentment. If you try to avoid awkward situations with your spouse when you’re upset to keep the peace — or if you keep secrets so you don’t upset your partner — you could end up destroying your marriage.
Next: A good marriage takes two.
7. One or both of you is refusing to try
Marriages have recovered from all kinds of issues. And there’s very little that can’t be fixed if both people in the marriage are willing to try. But if one of you has given up, the marriage is in serious trouble. Problems won’t go away on their own, and one person cannot make all of the effort.
Next: The breadwinner might matter more than you think.
8. Your husband doesn’t work full time
Who’s the breadwinner in your household? Interestingly, a Harvard study finds that couples in a heterosexual marriage were more likely to get divorced if the husband didn’t have a full-time job. Wives’ employment status didn’t significantly affect the results.
Studies have shown dependency breeds infidelity in both men and women, and feeling equal in the relationship — whatever that means for the two of you — is important. But it’s also important to marry someone who feels secure.
Next: When you walk down the aisle might matter.
9. You waited too long
Though few people would agree there is a perfect age to get married, there is an ideal age range to decrease your chances of divorce. According to research, getting married between ages 25 and 32 is the best time. Psychologist Nicholas H. Wolfinger explains one possible reason is the people who wait until their mid-30s may not be predisposed to marriage. Another possible reason is these people may already feel comfortable being single, and married life proves to be too much of a change.
Next: Feeling hopeless? Here’s what you can do.
What you can do
While realizing your marriage isn’t working is a horrible feeling, it doesn’t always mean that it’s over. If you’re both willing to work on things, hope is not lost. Spend some quality time together, and reflect on why you fell in love in the first place. Talk to each other, listen, and find small ways to connect again. And never be afraid to go to counseling together.
Additional reporting by Eric McWhinnie.