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When Is It Time to Divorce?

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Deciding to end a marriage is one of the hardest steps you can take, and while it's not an easy choice, sometimes it's necessary. But how do you determine what is a bad patch that can be worked through and when it's time to divorce? Our Raleigh divorce attorneys share common signs that it may be time to end the marriage.

Domestic Abuse in the Marriage

Domestic abuse, whether it's physical, mental, or emotional abuse, in a relationship is often irreconcilable. Even though there are often periods of happiness, abuse is typically cyclical: Abuse takes place, the abuser apologizes, and a "honeymoon phase" of peace and happiness occurs. Too often, something triggers another incident of abuse, and the longer a couple is together, the shorter the periods of peace and the more frequent the abuse.

Without counseling, divorce should be a serious option in order to protect yourself and your wellbeing.

Infidelity Has Occurred

Infidelity is often hard to move past, and many spouses divorce over extramarital affairs. While forgiveness and healing can take place and the couple can overcome this challenge and renew their intimacy and trust, both parties must be willing to move forward. If one spouse continues to cheat or engage in untrustworthy behavior or the other spouse simply can't forgive the other for their transgressions, this is a sign that it's time to divorce.

Your Partner Won't Seek Addiction Treatment

Addiction affects millions of people, and it tears families apart. While addiction is an illness, whether it's prescription medication, alcohol, or gambling, if the person refuses to admit there is a problem or refuses to seek help, it may not be healthy for your well-being to stay in the marriage. Having a spouse who is struggling with addiction can expose your children to unsafe experiences, or if they get arrested, having a spouse serving jail time can compromise your living situation. You can't force someone to seek treatment for addiction, but you can take care of yourself.

One Spouse Causes Financial Hardship

Financial problems are the leading cause of divorce, more than infidelity and domestic abuse. However, simply struggling with money is not necessarily a sign of divorce. The issue often comes when one spouse is causing the family to be in financial hardship, such as if your spouse has a gambling problem, goes into debt due to shopping, or is causing the family to live beyond their means in order to "keep up with the Jones'."

When both of you can't agree on how to spend money over a long period of time and it's continually a point of contention in the marriage, divorce is most likely the end result.

There Is No Communication

There's no question that communication is essential in a healthy relationship. If there is an issue, even a minor one, and one or both spouses ignore it and refuse to discuss it, or any attempt to communicate breaks down into an argument, this is a serious concern. An inability to communicate about emotions, parenting, finances or any of the challenges you face as a couple can cause your marriage to fall apart.

Going Through the Motions

While a routine in a relationship is normal, and it may seem impossible to keep things interesting after several years, if you feel like you or your partner is unable to make an effort to communicate, spark intimacy, or show affection, this is a red flag. Marriages take work and if one partner refuses to put in any work or takes advantage of the other, and counseling or other means to improve the marriage don't help, it may be time to move on.

You Have Already Tried Counseling

The decision to divorce is as big of a decision as the one to get married, and one you want to consider carefully. If you feel it may be helpful, try couples counseling. Sessions with a professional may be what you both need to nurture communication and see each other’s perspective and may help you see things in a new light. 

If you have already tried couples counseling, but one or both partners don’t seem to be benefitting, your next step may be divorce.

You Find Yourself Making Plans to Leave

Even before you know for sure that a divorce is the right choice, you might find yourself getting your affairs in order to separate. If you catch yourself planning for a future without your spouse—moving money into separate accounts, looking to relocate, searching for a new job—it may mean you have one foot out the door already. 

You Don’t Argue — Ever

While chronic conflict is obviously a bad sign, some disagreement is actually healthy. 

When you are in a relationship with another person, there are bound to be moments of stress and weakness, or moments of disagreement. It’s a good sign to be able to talk through these disagreements, to communicate your needs even when it’s difficult, and yes, sometimes, even to argue. 

When you stop arguing and both cannot muster the energy to stand up for yourselves and your relationship, that’s a red flag. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How many marriages end in divorce?

Between 40% and 50% of first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. However, the divorce rate for second and third marriages is even higher: 60% for second marriages and 73% of third marriages.

What is the most common reason for divorce?

According to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, 43% of divorces are caused by "basic incompatibility", 28% by "infidelity", and 22% by "money issues". The remainder of divorces are linked to parenting disagreements, substance addiction, and abuse.

“Basic incompatibility” may sound vague, but it encompasses factors like lack of communication, physical intimacy, and differences in goals and values. 

What age do couples divorce most often?

Couples file for divorce at any and all ages, but around 60% of couples filing for divorce in America are between the ages of 25 and 39 when they do so.

On average, an individual filing for divorce is around 30 years old. 

What are signs that a relationship may be ending?

According to marriage researcher John Gottman, Ph.D., there are four communication habits that seem to correlate to the likelihood of divorce. 

Over the course of decades, Gottman studied thousands of couples, examining their interactions and monitoring their satisfaction in their relationship. He found that couples who demonstrate four particular behaviors are more likely to grow unhappy, and therefore more likely to opt for separation. Those behaviors are: criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt.  

If these behaviors are common, and there is no successful repair to the damage they cause when they are shown, couples will begin to feel less and less like their needs are being met.

Schedule a Consultation with Our Raleigh Divorce Attorneys

If it is time to step away from the marriage and choose divorce, having a divorce attorney or family lawyer to guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf can help you move on into the next chapter of your life. Schedule a consultation with an attorney today by calling us at (919) 230-2094 or filling out the form below to get started.

Protecting your Privacy ~ Your privacy is our primary concern. At the Doyle Divorce Law Group, we understand the importance of protecting your privacy and will never share your contact information with a 3rd party. Contacting our law firm does not imply any form of an attorney-client relationship. Note that information on this site does not constitute legal advice. Contact our divorce lawyers for help.

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Protecting your Privacy ~ Your privacy is our primary concern. At the Doyle Law Group, we understand the importance of protecting your privacy and will never share your contact information with a 3rd party. Contacting our law firm does not imply any form of attorney-client relationship. By submitting this form, you are consenting to our privacy policy.
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