20 Questions to Help You Know If It’s Time To Divorce
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By Michela Montgomery, Featured Columnist - May 25, 2017

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Have you started wondering if it's time to get out of your marriage? Are you and your spouse fighting more than you're getting along?

Many couples have moments of wondering: "Would I be better off if I wasn't married?" Sometimes this is just a fleeting thought that's easily brushed off as a bad mood, hard day, or lingering resentment.

But, when the thought continues, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help make the decision easier.

20 Questions to Help You Know It It's Time To Divorce

1. Are you unhappy most (or all) of the time?

Having a fight is one thing, but if you find yourself unhappy more than 50% of the time, then it’s time to examine what’s behind that feeling.

2. If it wasn’t for the children, would you leave?

Children are the number one reason I hear women say they can’t leave. We worry divorce will be too difficult on them, scar them or give them emotional issues. But having children watch as you stay in a marriage that is emotionally damaging can be just as bad.

3. Do you avoid talking to your spouse to avoid a fight?

I have a girlfriend who teased that her house was like “the Cold War”. They rarely spoke unless they had to, or it was about the kids because otherwise, it turned into a screaming match. If you’re constantly walking on eggshells to avoid upsetting your spouse, it’s a sign.

4. Are your friends and family telling you your relationship is unhealthy?

Friends and family know us better than anyone. If everyone is telling you that they’re worried about what effect your relationship is having on you, maybe it’s time to listen and closely examine their concerns.

5. Is there ANY physical abuse?

This is a no-brainer, and something I have zero tolerance for. Whether it’s “just pushing”, or rough squeezing of the arm in the heat of anger…doesn't matter. There is NO reason for you to tolerate physical abuse in a marriage. Ever.

6. Is there emotional abuse?

This can take many forms. Passive aggressive relationships, the narcissistic spouse, guilt, lying, threats…whatever form this takes, it's emotional abuse. Whether you stay for months or years, emotional abuse leaves wounds that can scar you forever.

7. Is the thought of physical intimacy terrifying or repulsive?

If you’re afraid of sleeping with your spouse for any reason, that’s a HUGE danger sign. If the thought of him leaves you cold – or worse, retching – then it’s time to find out why. People go through periods in their life where they “aren’t in the mood”, but I’m talking about a prolonged period where you’d rather gnaw off your own arm than sleep with your spouse.

8. Do you find yourself daydreaming about being single?

I’ve said this before – we are not talking about being the girl who slathers down Captain America’s body with oil before a shoot. (I’m all over that one.) I’m talking about needing to be “free” – to the point where you are literally dreaming about what you’d do if you weren’t married.

9. Are you engaging in emotional affairs outside of your marriage?

One spouse isn’t getting what they need in the marriage, so they tell a “friend” of the opposite sex one day at lunch. Which turns to dinner, which turns to texting, talking on the phone late and night and finally…well, you get the picture. If you’re not getting what you need from your spouse, then the one you need to be telling…is HIM. 

10. Is your spouse TOO emotionally dependent on you?

Togetherness is great, but if your spouse can’t be alone – because he has no friends, hobbies or activities he does without you, it puts a lot of pressure on you. Everyone needs an outlet – outside of being married.

11. Do you feel emotionally alone most of the time?

You don’t have to be single to feel alone. In fact, many of the women I’m friends with said that they felt most alone lying right next to their ex-spouses. A spouse should be your partner, your ally…even occasionally your cheerleader. If you’re flying solo emotionally, time to decide whether it’s what you want to deal with forever…or not.

12. Are you scared to leave because of the emotional fragility of your partner?

If your spouse has told you that he “doesn’t know what he’ll do without you”, or gives hints that he would want to die if you weren’t together…it’s a warning sign. Your spouse could be suffering from depression, anxiety or have a serious disorder that requires therapy or intervention. You cannot be someone else’s emotional life preserver – it never ends well.  

13. Do you find yourself hiding money “in case” you need to leave “one day”?

If you’re burying cash in a cigar box under your son’s dead parakeet…something is foul. And I’m not talking about the bird.

14. Have friends stopped coming around because of your spouse?

This is a big one. Spouses don’t get along with all of our friends, but when he literally finds fault with every friend that you have…or worse, drives them away when they’re over…it’s time to evaluate who has the problem.

15. Do you feel like you can’t relax or be yourself when you’re with your spouse?

One of my girlfriends once told me that she knew her husband was a keeper when she was able to pass gas and not draw criticism. Now, I’m not “passing” judgment, but if you can’t have simple biological functions without knowing it won’t result in repercussions, will you be able to keep that up forever?

16. Are your emotional needs never met?

You tell yourself you don’t need an acknowledgment of Mother’s Day. Or your birthday. Or your anniversary. Or a kind word on a hard day. Or a hug. Eventually, everyone has emotional needs. Pushing yours aside will only make you feel like you don’t matter. 

17. Are your physical needs being neglected?

People are of the misconception that it’s only the men who suffer in this department, but I’ve heard from LOTS of women who simply aren’t getting their physical needs met in their marriage. I’m not just talking about sex. Hugs. Touching. A kiss. Just like babies flourish with physical touch…so do grown-ups.

18. Do you feel as though being with your spouse is holding you back from true happiness?

You love going to the theater, but he thinks it’s stupid. You want to try camping, but he tells you it’s “barbaric”. You took an art class, but every time you left he punished you when you returned. If you have dreams and they aren’t supported by your spouse – ask yourself whose happiness he’s really thinking of.

19. Does your spouse engage in behavior that puts stress on your family?

One of my best friends called to tell me that her husband’s road rage was so bad that he’d jumped out of the car and threatened to beat up another driver for cutting her off in a parking lot. Her children were crying, she was screaming at him, begging him to get back in the car. If your spouse won’t seek help for behavior that’s damaging to the family, it’s time for you to re-evaluate.

20. Are you constantly “convincing” yourself to stay in your marriage?

I used to have an internal monolog with myself about my marriage. I would tell myself that it wasn’t that bad, that I could keep going; and then I would mentally list all of the good things about my marriage. Over the years, that list got shorter and shorter until one day…there was no list. If you have to convince yourself, chances are, there’s a problem that can’t be fixed by “reasoning”.

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