Have you ever had that feeling in your gut that lets you know something in your life is off? I’m sure you’ve had this feeling before, and if not, lucky you! But the majority of people experience some tensions in their day to day life, and it can become even more difficult to navigate the immensity of our lives without feeling that something is off in our marriage.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of despair when you feel your spouse pulling away and wondering if they are considering divorce. So go with your gut and pay attention to your spouse’s signals because there are some tell-tale signs your spouse might want a divorce.
Here are those signs to look out for:
The Sex Has Come to a Screeching Halt
Sex is a large part of intimacy for couples, and sex ebbs and flows in relationships. It is just how life works, but if your love life has come to a screeching halt, then I’d be wary that your spouse is no longer interested or at least not in you.
This doesn’t just mean that no sex is happening, period. If your spouse is denying your sexual advances, and/or not initiating physical intimacy, and it has been going on for an extended period of time, I would start to read this as a sign that something in your marriage could be off. And your spouse could be considering “splitsville.”
A lack of sex can be a byproduct of a lack of attraction and/or sex drive caused from other problems in your marriage. If you’re no longer emotionally intimate, chances are your physical intimacy will fall to the wayside.
There are many reasons why sex fades, and it is usually when someone is under appreciated and/or you stop communicating. A big contributor to your lack of sex can also be an increase in arguing without any conflict resolution. But we will get to that later in the article.
Your Spouse Makes More and More Plans Without You
If your spouse begins to make more plans that don’t include you, this could mean that they no longer enjoy quality time together or that they are planning for your life apart. I wouldn’t jump to this conclusion right away. Don’t immediately think your spouse wants a divorce if they are just having a busy week and you are at home alone a lot.
Understand that it is a possibility that if your spouse is exhibiting any of these other signs I’ll mention throughout this article in conjunction with the lack of time at home, this could be a sign that a separation is being considered.
If your spouse’s focus dramatically shifts to things outside of your marriage, they could no longer feel the need to salvage what is left of your union. An example of this is that your spouse spends more and more time out of the house and makes excuses not to be around you.
This could show itself by staying at work later, and or going out with their friends more frequently. And, or, if you have children, the children become the primary focus of the family.
Here is a very clear way to tell if your spouse is considering you less. Does your spouse define their life less as a couple and more as an individual?
If you’re unsure, look for when your spouse refers to you. Do they refer to you as their partner? If yes, they will use the “we’ voice; however, if your spouse is considering their life without you, they will use the “I” voice more and more. And you will notice them taking more ownership over property. For example, “my car” no longer “the car.” Things that might have once been shared now have a singular owner.
The Way Your Spouse Used to Show Love no Longer Exists
People show love in different ways. Some show it through touch, some through kind words, some through gifts, or through spending time together. Everyone has a certain way that they give love to their spouse.
For example, say your wife used to get up early every morning with you to make you breakfast and she would sit and have her coffee with you. This was possibly one of her ways of showing you she cared and that she wanted to spend some time with you even if it was a quiet, tired haze before you both started your day.
Some people feel loved through quality time and others through simple appreciation for the small things that they do. And without those things, they can feel neglected and or taken advantage of.
“Psychologist William James said that possibly the deepest human need is the need to feel appreciated.” – Gary Chapman
Now say that your wife has stopped doing this all together. Don’t read too much into this if she is sick. But if this has been your routine for a number of years and all of a sudden it stops, I would suggest looking at your marriage because I bet she feels like her commitment to your relationship is not being met. Or, more drastically, this could just be a sign of her giving up on your marriage.
Showing someone you love them takes time and energy as opposed to just rolling over in bed and responding, “I love you, too.” It takes agency, and thoughtfulness to actively show someone you care, regardless of how you show it. If it’s through quality time and they are constantly on their phone or watching TV, then they aren’t respecting your time together.
If people aren’t putting energy into the way they show love, this is a pretty clear indication that something in your marriage is not right and this could be the beginning signs that your spouse is giving up.
No Conflict Resolution
Healthy relationships have proactive ways to resolve conflict that don’t usually involve hurting each other’s feelings.
If your partner has given up and is essentially ignoring the problems and making no effort to resolve them, then things have gotten to a point where they no longer feel the need for reconciliation. Whereas before, your spouse would address things in a way so as to not hurt your feelings, now they’re at a point where they don’t care if they hurt your feelings. And/or don’t even bother bringing it up because, in their mind, they are already on their way out of the relationship. And repair is no longer a priority.
If they have given up on healthy conflict, they have given up on your relationship. And they’re most likely exhausted and ready to move on.
When your marriage is in a state of turmoil, all interactions become difficult. If your partner is at this stage and making all interactions difficult, it means that they are unhappy and could be considering leaving.
And or when your marriage is stagnant, meaning you are just going through the motions, one partner could be giving up without verbally saying it; however, they are giving up physically through their lack of trying.
The Focus of Your Marriage Becomes Solely on The Kids
If Intimacy with your spouse has gone out the window, and quality time is a thing of the past, and your spouse is focused on your kids, then I would begin to worry.
It’s not uncommon for children to occupy the majority of the attention within a family, but spouses still make time for one another because we know that relationships don’t work when we neglect the major players—husband and wife.
When we neglect our spouses, and focus solely on our children with no regard for our spouses, we begin to damage the relationship, which makes our spouses feel neglected and sometimes even unloved.
“People stay in marriages because they want to, not because the doors are locked.” – Paul Newman
If your spouse is spending an inordinate amount of time and energy on the children and making no effort to spend time with you alone, it is because that is the easiest way to navigate your relationship at the moment. And they could be biding their time until they get the courage to discuss the possibility of divorce or separation.
These signs aren’t gender specific. And I wouldn’t bet your marriage on just one of these popping up in your marriage temporarily. However, if a number of these signs have been apparent in your marriage for an extended period of time, I suggest it’s time to confront your spouse.
The sooner you have an honest conversation with your spouse, the sooner you will know where you and where your marriage stands in terms of divorce or if both of you are willing and prepared to work through these obstacles. But if one partner isn’t interested in repair, things get difficult and a thick skin is necessary.
I hope these 5 signs help you to figure out whether or not your spouse is sending you signs that they want a divorce.