How Do You Know When Your Marriage Is Over?

It is difficult to say exactly when a marriage is over. Different people have different expectations in a marriage, and what may be the ultimate deal-breaker for some may be in the realm of reconciliation for others. Generally speaking, though, there are some definite warning signs that a marriage is in danger.

Infidelity and Trust

Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship, and infidelity is the ultimate breach of trust. Some marriages can survive infidelity without lifelong resentment, but many cannot. If someone finds out their partner has been unfaithful, they need to be honest with themselves when deciding whether or not they can truly forgive them. If the answer is no, then the best thing is probably to end the marriage.

Loss of Respect

Loss of respect is a serious indicator of a failing marriage. Moreover, the loss of respect doesn’t have to be anything major. In fact, it’s often the little day-to-day things that culminate into long-term resentment and unhappiness. There is probably a serious respect issue in your marriage if your spouse:

  • Stops thanking you for little things
  • Refuses to contribute to or seems to resent household activities or chores
  • Shows annoyance when you tell a story or share an opinion
  • Seems to do things to purposely annoy or inconvenience you
  • Avoids spending time with you

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, but it should give you a pretty good idea of red-flag behaviors for which you should be on the lookout.

Noticeable Tension

When there’s tension in any relationship, you can feel it. Sometimes tension is so strong, you can practically feel it in the air. If you sense tension immediately after your spouse walks into the room, it’s a pretty reliable sign that they feel the same way.

This should not be confused with a mere bone of contention; every married couple will have disagreements and arguments, even major ones, but silent tension implies that neither person cares to work it out or that the problems are unsolvable.

Veiled Insults or Backhanded Compliments

When two partners start to belittle each other or exchange demeaning comments on a daily basis, it’s a telltale sign of a failing marriage.

Depending on your spouse’s personality, negative comments might range from subtle to blatantly disrespectful. If you’re wondering whether your spouse has stopped appreciating you, make a mental note of how often they:

  • Criticize your cooking, habits, or appearance
  • Tend to disagree with you over even little things
  • Make sensitive comments to you in front of friends or family members

Relationships are a bit like fruit. Instead of failing in an instant, they tend to spoil over time.

Changes in Physical Affection

There’s an old (and rather ignorant) saying: “If your partner’s not getting it from you, they’re getting it from someone else.” While this is certainly not always the case, changes in physical affection are a warning sign that something is amiss.

Of course, no married couple can honeymoon forever, and people do get bored or less interested in physical affection as they age. Still, if your spouse’s desire for physical affection seems to diminish or disappear quickly, it’s likely a sign of some kind of marital strife.

What to Do if You Decide Your Marriage Is in Trouble

If you decide the signs are there, it’s time to act. The most reasonable first step is to sit your spouse down and just come out and say it. It could be that there is just a breakdown in communication or some deep-seated conflict is eating at your partner.

If that doesn’t work, consider consulting a marriage counselor to work out the issues between you and your spouse. If that fails, or if your partner is unwilling to try, it might be time to call it quits. You may want to consult an attorney to deal with the legal aspects of ending your marriage.


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