The last thing on anyone’s mind when they’re exchanging nuptials with their partner on their big wedding day is the possibility of divorce. Unfortunately, divorce remains a harsh reality in modern society, affecting three out of every 1,000 people in the U.S.
Many married couples are able to work through relationship problems and stay in it for the long haul. However, there are times where no amount of counseling can fix a broken marriage. Here are the top ten reasons for divorce that can also be serious red flags no one should ignore.
1. Abuse Is Taking Place
Whether it’s emotional, physical, or a combination of both, any kind of abuse is grounds for divorce. If your safety or the safety of your children and pets is being compromised, you need to get out of the marriage now before someone is seriously hurt—or worse.
And it’s not just physical abuse that can lead to divorce. Yelling, screaming, insulting a partner, and showing other displays of anger can be damaging. So is being manipulative and playing head games such as gaslighting a spouse or withholding money or sex from them.
Unfortunately, the abuser is unlikely to change, no matter how much apologizing they do and the promises they make. The only solution is to leave.
2. An Addicted Partner Is Unwilling to Get Help
When a partner has an addiction—whether it’s to drugs, alcohol, gambling, porn, or sex—it can wear away at the other person’s self-esteem. It may also be creating financial stress in the marriage if they’re blowing the household’s savings to fuel their addiction.
It is possible for a weary marriage to get past this, but only if the addict is willing to accept that they have a problem and seek help. No amount of pleading from the other spouse can make them do this; they need to decide to do it on their own. Otherwise, you’ll have no choice but to walk away.
3. Someone Is Cheating
Infidelity is a huge reason why many couples get divorced, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your marriage can’t survive an affair. However, it depends upon many circumstances such as if the straying was a one-time incident or if the partner is a serial cheater.
Cheating may happen as the result of a really bad patch in the marriage or because the one doing it lacked self-esteem. If they truly regret their actions and are willing to seek counseling with you to work out relationship problems, it may be worth trying to save the marriage.
Keep in mind that once infidelity in a marriage takes place, it has forever changed your relationship dynamic and you may always have trust issues. But some people may be unable to stay true to one partner. If you’re working hard on the marriage and they can’t stop seeking out other people for fulfillment, it’s time to hire a divorce lawyer.
4. You’re Not on the Same Page When It Comes to Having Kids
Whether you want to be a parent or not, your plan for children is something that should be discussed with your partner long before you walk down the aisle. Sometimes people who never dreamed of becoming a parent or wanting more children change their mind when they find the right person.
However, if your spouse married you because they don’t want kids and believed you felt the same and you start begging them for a baby, this deceit or change in heart can ultimately break up a marriage. Having a child is a major lifestyle change with repercussions that can affect everyone involved. If both of you want kids, you also need to agree on the same parenting style.
If someone wants kids but the other person doesn’t, it’s usually a deal-breaker that warrants a divorce. You may be better off finding another partner who shares this dream with you.
5. You Fight Over Money
Disagreeing about how money should be spent and saved is another reason why marriages end. One spouse may be racking up credit card debt and putting financial strain on the household, or a job loss can lead to stress and arguments over money. Or maybe one partner has complete control over the bank accounts and determines when the bills get paid every month.
Along with plans for having kids, money is another matter that should be discussed with your partner before tying the knot. It’s important to have a partner that is financially responsible and knows when to save and when to splurge.
But sometimes life throws us curve balls beyond our control that lead to money woes. If you and your spouse can’t get on the same page about how money should be managed in the household going forward, the marriage may not have a chance.
6. The Intimacy Has Vanished
A lot of people think of intimacy as having sex, but that’s only one part of the definition. Showing affection towards your spouse, such as giving them kisses and hugs, is intimacy as well. So is displaying interest, such as asking them how their day was or encouraging and supporting them as they seek a goal or accomplish something.
They may sound like little things, but affection can help keep a marriage glued together, especially during trying times. When these things go out the window, it can make a partner feel unloved and unappreciated.
A lack of affection and intimacy that can’t seem to be brought back (especially if the thought of touching your spouse makes you recoil) is a red flag a marriage is on its last legs.
7. One or Both Partners Has Changed
If you married young and have been married for a decade or more, you may not recognize the person you exchanged vows with. And we’re not talking just physically, but the fact that people can change as they mature. Your once shy spouse may now be more confident or may have decided they want to pursue a new career that they were always afraid to go after when they were younger.
Sometimes these changes can be beneficial to a relationship, as everyone wants a partner who will grow and bring out the best in them. However, if you’ve both changed into people who no longer share the same goals or values this can be bad news for a marriage.
8. No Communication
Similar to a lack of intimacy, the lack of communication can sink a marriage fast. When people avoid confrontation and discussions over important matters and let things fester, it can lead to contempt for the other person.
Good communication also means being able to express how you are feeling to your partner without a fear of being judged or dismissed. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a supportive spouse during a difficult time can help strengthen your bond.
If attempting to communicate with your partner just leads to shouting and fighting or them walking away, you may realize this is not a pattern you wish to repeat for the rest of your life. A divorce may be imminent.
9. A Partner Is Controlling
Many people experience a loss of freedom when they wed such as not being able to see their friends as often as they would like to, or not having as much time for themselves. This is normal and is part of every day wedded life. But if your partner is controlling—such as dictating your clothing, how you wear your hair, and when you can spend time with family or friends—this is very unhealthy behavior that can break up a marriage.
Underneath every control freak is an insecure person who has trust issues or fears losing control of their own life. It can be very difficult for a controlling individual to change their ways. Your only solution may be to divorce them.
10. One or Both of You Just Don’t Care Anymore
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you just don’t feel it anymore for your marriage. You may feel emotionally and physically drained from trying to reach your partner and seeking advice on how to rescue your marriage. If you, your spouse, or the two of you just don’t care anymore about what happens to the marriage—even if you’re going to couples therapy—it may be time to part ways.
Remember These Main Reasons for Divorce
Hopefully, you or someone you care about will never experience any of these reasons for divorce, but at least you’ll know the warning signs. Some of these can be fixed if both partners are willing to work on them, but sometimes the signs are telling you it’s time to walk away.
Check out our latest relationships posts for tips on maintaining a happy, healthy marriage even through tough times.