Just as it’s good practice to go through your medicine cabinets and pantries every so often to make sure the expiration dates have not passed, it is also good practice to make sure your marriage has not passed its’ expiration date and on the cusp of being time to file for divorce.
Sure, I know emotional and financial attachments are not the same thing, as …well, things, but just as eating food that is past the expiration can cause harm so can staying too long in a bad marriage or relationship. The health risks, both physical and emotional can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds. A stressful marriage can leave you vulnerable and heartbroken literally and can cause higher blood pressure, depression, and a whole host of other conditions according to a 2006 study from the Journal of Cardiology.
So to be sure your body and mind are on the right track in your marriage, here a list of some signs it is way passed time to divorce:
1. Lack of intimacy. I’m not just referring to sex, although the lack of sex is surely a sign that the intimacy has waned. It begins with less affection, touching, less sharing of feelings, less understanding of each other, all of which ultimately lead to less sex. Lack of sex leads to poor connections with each other which is the kiss of death for many relationships. Lack of intimacy and sex are also catalysts for affairs, which are often devastating in getting through.
2. There’s always tension between the two of you. Are people stressed when they are with you and your spouse because the two of you get over-emotional, defensive or aggressive and switch tones from friendly to adversarial in seconds? This is not a good sign, not to mention you will be kicked off the invite list for future events. You and your partner should THRIVE in each other’s presence – or, at a minimum, you shouldn’t be getting in each other’s way. If the tension between the two of you keeps you from being spontaneous, makes you second-guess yourself, and makes others feel uncomfortable in your presence then it’s time to either deal with the problem (once and for all) or move on.
3. Lack of respect. All healthy marriages require mutual respect. We should be with people who admire us, are proud of who we are, speak highly of us to others, take our opinions seriously, and truly want to hear what we have to say. In fact, I think without respect there is little love shared. It is important to feel understood and listened to and without respect, spouses tend to feel dismissed and rejected.
4. It’s no longer we, it’s now me. In healthy marriages, both spouses work as a team in all things: parenting, running the household, and supporting each other, but if you have both taken on separate paths and rarely talk with one another about anything except schedules, it does not look good for your future together.
5. You’re waiting for your partner to change. If you are constantly expecting your spouse to change, then you are stuck in a victim mindset. It’s like standing at a crosswalk waiting for the other person to push the walk button and blaming that person as to why you’re late to work. If you want someone to change or see change happen, then make change happen from within. However, if you can’t accept your partner as they are right now, then you’re not in love with your partner – you’re in love with the idea of your partner – either who they once were, or who you want them to be.
6. Lack of compromising on wants and needs both big and small. If you and your spouse disagree on where to live, what to spend money on, whether or not to have children, how often to have sex, help with chores, and on and on, and cannot find a happy medium on most things, that is not a good sign for the longevity of your marriage. A major part of marriage is compromise and trying to fulfill your partner’s needs while also making sure your own needs are met.
7. Constant arguing. Arguing in relationships is normal and a necessary part of communicating to a higher level. But, arguing all the time is not normal and certainly not healthy. If you are always in a state of conflict with your spouse and you cannot reach a middle ground, then you are clearly on the fast, unhealthy track to divorce.
8. You’re always wondering whether you should be with this person. If you are constantly daydreaming of leaving and not interested in fixing things, then it is very unlikely the marriage stands a chance. If you’re always questioning whether or not to stay in your relationship, then there are two things going on – either you don’t know yourself well enough to know whether you should be in your current relationship, or you DO know yourself well enough to know it isn’t working for you. In either case, the answer is the same (though the reasoning is different) – it’s likely time to do something.
9. Hopelessness. When we are hopeless, it means we have given up. We no longer have the spirit within to continue. We may want to for the sake of our vows, or for our children, but we have tried and tried a million ways to fix it, but the ground keeps moving beneath us. For when we are hopeless we have surely reached the expiration date of our marriage.