When married couples realize their relationship is falling apart, they turn to marriage counselling for professional advice. The sad truth is, people don’t go to couple counselling until things have gotten terrible, and sometimes, beyond repair.
In many cases, short trips to the marriage therapist’s office can help couples save their relationship. They’re able to discuss issues and find ways to resolve them. But there are cases when the marriage problems have reached the point of no return – and marriage counselors can acknowledge the signs that there’s nothing else they could do to save the relationship.
If you and your spouse are going through difficult times, or if you know people who do, here are warning signs that marriage will eventually end up in divorce.
Walking on eggshells every single day
Perhaps one or both of you have unpredictable moods and outbursts. Even the littlest things can lead to overreacting or becoming emotional or abusive. The result? You live with the dread or hesitation to interact in order to “keep the peace.” You avoid talking to each other. You filter every sentence to avoid senseless drama.
A home is not a home if you feel like walking on eggshells every day – it’s like a prison. If the household is as toxic as this, then you’d be better off living apart.
You have a destructive fighting style
One of the signs of a toxic marriage is when it has come to the point that every mistake or complaint gets called out as an example of one’s larger flaw. “You should cut back your spending a bit” is way different than “you’re always spending way too much, you’re selfish and irresponsible.”
Little arguments are healthy. But constant quarrels involving screaming matches, contempt and disrespect, and inability to listen are not.
Your partner irritates you in different ways
Once upon a time, you admired everything about your partner, like the way he talks and moves. But now, you just feel annoyed and disgusted by him and his habits.
You hate everything he says – including his voice you admired in the first place. You’re quick to find a fault in everything. There’s contempt involved, and it makes it impossible for you to recall why you once loved this person, to begin with.
Habitual verbal abuse, subtle or non-subtle
Criticism or harsh comments, name-calling, finger-pointing, and swearing– all these go hand in hand with the feeling of disgust or contempt for your partner. No screaming required to justify that your relationship is going nowhere but divorce.
The trust is gone
It may sound cliché but if trust is broken in marriage, then the relationship will soon collapse. Nothing breaks trust faster than infidelity, which is one of the leading causes of divorce.
Although both trust and marriage can be repaired, it depends on the person who broke the trust. The spouse needs to be willing to start telling the truth and sacrificing some of their privacy to rebuild the trust. But if not, and the other one isn’t willing to trust and forgive, then there’s no point of getting back together.
One or both of you hold onto grudges
People make mistakes, acknowledge them, ask for forgiveness, and swear to make up for it. The moment you forgive them, you’re implying that all is well. But if you keep bringing up that issue from a year ago, that means you’re still not over it and you’re allowing it to sabotage your marriage.
Holding onto a grudge leads to a collapse in relationships. It’s like rust, which silently erodes your ability to trust your partner. Things will never work out unless you talk it through and try to let go of the feelings of resentment.
You don’t turn to each other when you’re sad or happy
For sure you’ve heard this a couple of times: you know your relationship is healthy if your partner is also your best friend. That said, if you’d rather seek your girl best friends for comfort, that’s a clear indication of a growing rift.
Perhaps, you’re not comfortable sharing stories with your partner for fear of criticisms or additional quarrels. You probably don’t trust your spouse anymore. Or maybe, your partner is the reason why you’re stressed.
Another sign of a collapsing relationship is when you don’t laugh together anymore. When you’re happy, you’d rather share the joy with other people, and celebrate without your partner.
One or both parties think and act like they’re single
You know you’re estranged if you can’t help but think of the future without your partner – and looking forward to it. You’re making financial plans and decisions with the assumption that you’ll be on your own. You’re fantasizing about single life. You’re even open to the idea of dating.
You don’t touch anymore– or even make eye contact
You don’t hold hands anymore. You frequently sit with your legs or arms crossed and position yourself with your back to your spouse. You’re even uncomfortable looking at each other. Sometimes, you find yourself exiting any space he or she is in.
How often you touch your partner and how often he/she touches you in response tell a lot about your relationship. This is not just about sex and all those romantic gestures – when the physical contact is gone, so is your connection to your partner.
There’s a lack of emotion
Constant yelling is obviously not an indicator of a healthy relationship. But the lack of emotion can be an even bigger problem. They don’t fight anymore. They don’t cry over issues. They just don’t care.
The lack of emotion means the couple has gone past the point of hurt and resentment and has cut off all the feelings toward one another. When they walk in the therapist’s office emotionless, as if they can’t wait to get out of the session, it implies they’ve already decided that the therapy won’t work.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Relationship Room Couples Counseling, a couples psychology institution specializing in relationship counseling and therapies for couples and families. She may be hopeless romantic but she’s got some straightforward pieces of advice about love, dating, and relationships.
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