It’s hard to know when your marriage is over. Often, you’ve got a long list of pros and cons for your marriage and it’s hard to know which ones take priority. It’s also fairly easy to get stuck on old memories of the two of you and ignore the present situation. Basically, you’re in it too deep – you can’t see the forest for the trees. However, if these five clues are constantly present in your relationship, you may want to reconsider your marriage.
1. You can’t see any positives in your wife
If you can’t even remember what you saw in her to begin with, your marriage is in rough shape. Perhaps you have so much pent up resentment that it’s clouded your vision or maybe you both have become too comfortable with each other – whatever the reason, this mindset has no place in a healthy relationship. If you find that everything she does drives you crazy, then you need to take a long look at yourself and the marriage and find out what has caused this change in your perspective.
A red flag that many people overlook is how you perceive past memories with your spouse. John Gottman, one of the leading marriage psychologists, has done studies with thousands of couples to see which couples divorce and which ones stay together. He noted that he can predict the chances of divorce based on how the couple talks about the beginning of their relationship. If there is a strong negative slant when the couple talks about their shared history, there is a much higher chance the couple will divorce. This shows that the present situation has deteriorated to such an extent that it’s affected the couple’s perception of the past.
So if you can’t remember any good times with your wife (or focus mainly on the negative times) and everything she does now makes you feel angry, sad, upset, or annoyed, that’s when you know when your marriage is over.
2. There are problems that you can’t work out
Everyone has a different set of deal breakers and boundaries and both you and your wife deserve to have those respected. Marriage takes compromise – no one is denying that. With that said, sometimes there is no way to compromise on something. For example, when you and your wife first started dating, you may have discussed the issue of children and come to the conclusion you both didn’t want to have any. If your wife eventually changes her mind, there is no real compromise you can come to. Either you both have children or you both don’t. For this situation to work out, one person needs to bend to the other’s wishes. The same goes for fidelity. If you initially both go into the relationship with a monogamous viewpoint, and you decide you want to open the relationship later, there is no real compromise there either. You can’t have half of an open relationship. The relationship is either open or closed.
This issue can also come up if one party isn’t willing to compromise at all on something. This could be anything from deciding to buy a house, sharing phone and computer passwords, or cleaning the house. If one person in the marriage has a strong need for something and the other person refuses to compromise (or even entertain the thought of compromising), this can create an irreparable rift in the marriage. Often this will lead to arguments, fights, and misunderstandings. Both people in the marriage will feel disrespected.
Having boundaries in a marriage is healthy because it’s important to be an independent person in a relationship. Unfortunately, if your boundaries and your wife’s boundaries are conflicting on big issues or many small issues, you may not be good matches for each other. When your marriage is over, compromise seems impossible and fights are inevitable.
3. There is no physical relationship of any kind
When was the last time you passionately kissed your wife? When was the last time you held her hand? When was the last time you and your wife had hot sex?
If you can’t remember the last time you did any of those things, at the moment, you are roommates, good friends, or co-parents. The difference between being friends and husband/wife is only one thing: desire.
Yes, after being together 10 years, perhaps you don’t desire each other as much as you used to. That’s understandable. Life circumstances often get in the way of desire – having kids, working 40+ hours a week, and life stress plays a large part in decreasing libido.
However, you both should continue to desire each other on a physical level and show your spouse that you desire them. Sex and physical touch play a big part in creating intimacy with your spouse and they are the glue that can hold a marriage together. If you don’t want your wife sexually anymore, then the marriage isn’t as strong as you might think. If your wife is refusing to have sex with you (and not communicating why), you need to re-think the marriage. Why are you both together if you don’t enjoy the physical part of your relationship?
It is not shallow to divorce over a lack of sex and physical touch. This is a very human need. If you and your wife no longer show physical love in any way, it’s time to take a long hard look at your marriage. When your marriage is over, your desire for your spouse goes unanswered or slowly fizzles out.
4. The trust is completely broken
Marriage is completely based on trust. Healthy relationships need trust to survive. Both individuals need to be on the same page when it comes to trust – if one person doesn’t trust the other, it can wreak havoc on the marriage.
There are many situations that can cause distrust. This could be related to fidelity, money, raising children, and yes, even emotions. If you don’t trust your partner to do what is in both of your best interests, that’s when your marriage is over. If you don’t trust your wife to communicate with you about important issues, then your marriage is built on a broken foundation.
Let’s focus on fidelity first. Obviously if you’ve caught your wife having an affair, your trust in the relationship is going to be broken into a million little pieces. You are well within your right to divorce your wife after finding out about the affair – and guess what? If you give it time to try to repair the trust and you ultimately can’t, no one would blame you for walking away. In fact, more than 40 per cent of marriages are expected to end in divorce before the 30th anniversary. Infidelity plays a large part in those divorces, as many individuals can’t get over the lies and betrayal that accompanies an affair.
Of course, infidelity isn’t the only way your wife can break your trust. If you find yourself feeling confused in the relationship because of all the lies she’s told, betrayed by her actions or words on a continuous basis, or let down because she won’t follow through with her promises, that’s when your marriage is over.
5. You always feel completely miserable around her
You and your wife know each other better than anyone else. You know all her little flaws and she knows all of yours. You’ve seen the best of each other and the worst of each other.
But if you find that her flaws are dragging you down, depressing you, or suffocating you, you need to acknowledge that and take a long hard look at your relationship. It’s completely normal to get annoyed with your SO, but it’s not normal to actively try to stay away from your SO because your wife makes you miserable every time you have a conversation.
You always have to pay to play in relationships. People aren’t perfect – you’ve got to take the good with the bad. However, sometimes the price you’re paying to play isn’t worth it. Maybe your wife constantly belittles you and makes you feel terrible about yourself. Maybe she micro-manages you. Maybe she’s insanely jealous and won’t let you see your friends anymore. Maybe she’s just a really negative person that sucks the light out of every room she walks into. Maybe she fights dirty in an argument.
If you’ve tried to work through these issues together ad nauseum and there’s no change, then you need to decide if you can live with the status quo forever. Is she worth your future happiness? There’s a big world out there with many happy, supportive women that you could have a great relationship with. Your partner should make you feel good about yourself and the relationship a majority of the time. If she makes you feel terrible 95% of the time, that’s when your marriage is over.
Admitting When Your Marriage Is Over
It’s hard to admit that things aren’t working in your marriage – no one plans to get divorced when they get married. However, at a certain point, it’s healthier for you to try to take an objective look at the marriage as a whole. If any or all of these 5 clues to knowing when your marriage is over stands out to you, a good idea would be to focus your attention on that aspect of your marriage.
If you think the issue can be fixed, then visiting marriage counseling would be a next step. If you’ve tried everything and you’re ready to walk, then your next step would be reading through Guyvorce to arm yourself with knowledge. Ultimately you deserve to live a good life, whatever decision you decide to make.
If you’re in the middle of a divorce, how did you know when your marriage was over? Do you feel like your marriage is over or is there still a chance? Leave a comment below.
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