By Divorce.com staff
Updated Feb 01, 2023
Marriages are not always salvageable, even if family therapists claim otherwise. Sometimes the best thing you can do is let go of a failed relationship and move on.
But how do you know if your marriage is over?
There are several telling signs, such as the lack of efforts to maintain the union and the ongoing conflicts. Let’s not forget about infidelity and domestic violence, which are even more compelling reasons to end a marriage.
In this article, we’ve collected 7 expert opinions containing the list of signs your marriage is over. Note that you probably won’t have all of them present in your relationship.
But sometimes, even one or two are critical enough to call it quits.
Dr. Noelia Leite
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at noelialeite.com
After some time of living together, it is natural that many couples lose their intimacy and connection. The good thing is that, in many cases, it is possible to reignite the spark. Couples who present the characteristics below tend to fix the issues and experience a very satisfying relationship, improving their sexual, physical, mental, and spiritual health.
However, some signs may show that it might be too late. For example, suppose you have experienced some negative situations below and tried to work through them with no significant changes. In that case, it could be a sign that your relationship might be coming to an end.
Lack of Commitment.
Commitment is one of the pillars of a healthy and long-lasting relationship. It is when each party knows their pertinence in the world and “which team they belong to.”
It is when you know your partner is there for you and will never let you down because they know their place is by your side. If you do not feel your partner committed, it is unlikely that a relationship will last longer.
Lack of Trust.
Trust is pivotal to keeping a healthy and long-lasting relationship. It is when you know your partner’s mind and actions are coherent with what they say.
Attitudes weigh much more than preaching. There is no way to foster trustworthiness if one is constantly kept in lies or erratic behaviors.
It is not what we say; it is how we say it that matters. Learning to communicate is a crucial factor for keeping couples together. Unfortunately, many couples jeopardize their relationships by not being able to foster empathy and compassion for their partners.
Then, they engage in unhealthy communication strategies to avoid responsibility and accountability. Common unhealthy communication strategies include being defensive or victimized and using sarcasm, stonewalling, gaslighting, blaming, and intimidation.
A healthy relationship needs a safe environment to continue growing. A toxic environment is when a pervasive pattern of abuse happens, including physical, verbal, emotional, and spiritual abuse. In a toxic environment, shouting, competition, revenge, anger, resentment, envy, threats, and battering prevail.
Suppose you feel like you are walking on eggshells. In that case, there is a low probability that a healthy relationship will continue.
Couples with shared values and goals are more prone to stay together for extended periods. For example, common objectives include raising kids, buying a house, financial stability, and traveling. But when couples no longer share joint goals, they have a higher probability of ending their relationship.
Lack of cooperation and thoughtfulness.
Couples need to nurture their relationship, and both partners must put in the same effort.
Nurturing a relationship entails:
- - cooperating rather than exploring or competing,
- - complimenting rather than judging or criticizing,
- - engaging rather than ignoring,
- - being gentle rather than rude.
Dr. Heather Browne
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at drheatherbrowne.com
Are you wondering or worried that your marriage might be in trouble?
Are things feeling off, irritating, frustrating, or boring and blah?
Are there signs that could be problematic that you want to look into?
The answer to all of these questions is yes.
Okay, deep breath. You know there’s a problem. You feel it in your gut. And you are going to find out precisely what you can do.
So, what are 5 signs of being on the lookout for?
Starting from the most obvious to the least, which also parallels problematic to drastic.
#5You guys are screaming, yelling, and fighting and rarely resolve issues. This problem will exacerbate your differences and your split if you don’t change this. You’ve got to find a way to help your communication improve.
#4One or both of you have become selfish and thoughtless about your partner. Dates are missed, events are canceled, and work hours are extended without consideration of the other. As a result, you aren’t working together.
#3It feels like you are roommates. You get along well, but there is little or no intimacy. You don’t desire each other. And sex seems like too much work or doesn’t sound appealing at all. You no longer find your partner sexually attractive or simply don’t feel like having sex with them. This is getting serious, folks!
#2 You or your partner enjoy other people’s company more than each other’s. You prefer to be away. And you are saying away more and more. You might not have had an affair, but you find yourself desiring others emotionally and sexually.
Plus, you are working on your appearance to be attractive to others. If you don’t resolve this, there is a strong possibility of an emotional, if not sexual, affair.
#1And here is number #1. Both of you or one of you doesn’t care what your partner does. One or both of you have checked out. You don’t get mad, sad, or concerned since your partner isn’t important. You feel like nothing really matters now.
This stage is critical. And although your relationship might be beyond repair, you still need to try and get help right away.
Couples often think that fighting is the worst but as you can see, not caring, not trying, and no longer desiring each other is when your marriage is just a moment away from being erased. So be careful.
Unless you want a divorce, it’s critical that you start talking, spending time together, and letting your partner know that you want to make things work if you both are willing to put in the effort.
Angela Mary Vaz
Relationship Expert at mindspacecafe.com
There is no proper communication between both partners
Communication is what holds a relationship together. Love isn’t enough. If both partners cannot communicate with each other about how they feel, especially when they are stressed, upset, or going through their own problems, the marriage isn’t going to work out.
It is crucial to tell each other what is happening and respond to each other with love and understanding.
There is no trust
No matter how long the relationship has been going on, if either of you can’t trust the other - the marriage is bound to fail. Sometimes, even without an affair taking place, people find it hard to trust their partners. No relationship can survive without trust. I’ve seen many relationships and marriages break due to a lack of trust.
Your partner is showing no interest in the relationship
If your partner is not showing any interest in spending time with you and is constantly on the phone or always making excuses that they’re too busy - it is an impending sign that the marriage is going to end. It can also be due to heavy stress or depression. The only way to find out is to sit down and talk to your partner about this.
Your partner has no respect for you
I find that as we grow older, we become more used to our partner’s behavior. And I have noticed that many people get accustomed to the lack of respect their partners show them simply because they have been in a relationship for so long. But if you feel that your partner is constantly criticizing you, putting you down, and never even considering your opinion before making a major decision, this means that they do not respect you or value your opinion - and it’s a sign that your marriage is over.
Your partner abuses you
Abuse doesn’t always have to be physical. Even if the partner abuses you only emotionally or mentally - gaslights, constantly criticizes and taunts you, and condemns you to the point where you look forward to them leaving the house - it still means that your marriage is unhealthy.
Your goals and visions no longer align
People change, and it’s inevitable. Sometimes two people can grow apart with time, and you can’t do anything about it. For example, maybe you want kids, and he keeps saying he’s not ready. Or perhaps you want a career, but he can’t make peace with it.
Or maybe you and your partner have developed different needs and want to do different things in life. If you have sat down to talk about it and are still at an impasse, it is a sign that maybe the marriage is over.
A licensed professional counselor from Neurofeedback & Counseling Center
Marriage is supposed to be a commitment that lasts forever, “till death do us part.” However, this is not always the case, as many marriages end in divorce. Fortunately, there are several signs that your marriage may be over.
If you or your partner do not wish to put effort into the relationship anymore, it is a sign that things are ending. For instance, if your relationship is rocky, you are constantly fighting with each other or upset, and neither of you wants to try to fix these issues, it shows that one or both of you do not care about the relationship anymore.
Constant fights and disagreements are also a sign a marriage is in a tailspin. If you cannot speak to one another without a fight ensuing, something is wrong. An occasional small argument here and there is typical, but not during every conversation.
The never-ending conflict and stress are not healthy for either of you.
Fighting all the time is not healthy, but let’s say the argument is so bad, and someone shouts the phrase, “well, let’s just get a divorce.” That cannot be taken back and should not be spoken about if they do not mean it. Even if they apologize and say they did not mean it, it came from a place of truth to some degree, or why else would they say it?
If your partner is never at home, or maybe you also find excuses for not staying home, this shows you do not wish to be in the same physical space with your partner. They may claim long hours at the office, going out with friends, or coming home late at night.
Ideally, it would be best for your marriage if you spend more time with your spouse and enjoy their company. However, not wanting to be around each other should tell you both that your relationship may not work out.
Pricilla M. Martinez
Mental Health Counselor at regroop.org
You’re happy to be away from them.
A surefire way to know if your relationship may end soon is to gauge your energy around your partner. It is especially true when you’re away from them.
If you feel a sense of peace or can be yourself without your partner, it’s a sign of tension between you. When you’re approaching the end of a marriage and don’t wish to accept it, you may find yourself walking on eggshells to avoid the final straw.
It may also be a reason you compromise your opinion or personality to meet expectations or keep the peace.
Now, being away from them feels like freedom to be and do what aligns more with your needs. It creates the opportunity to explore who you are without them. And the fear of loneliness shouldn’t stop you.
According to a Huffington Post article, one in three adults is afraid of being alone.
The silence is deafening
Your relationship may be withering away in silence – often imploding because of all the things left unsaid and unresolved. And so, some spouses feel like they’re living with a roommate rather than a loving partner.
If one or both of you avoid confrontation, it’s challenging to resolve issues as they come up. So, before you know it, a disagreement about taking out the garbage will fester into an issue about respect, shared responsibilities, or valuing your partner.
Couples who don’t work together to resolve their issues will find their small differences compound into irreconcilable ones over time.
Thus, work with a therapist or coach that can help you learn how to engage with and resolve conflict as a preventative measure. If you’ve reached the point of no return, your lawyers or a mediator can help you figure out how to split things amicably.
You envy other couples.
What you envy about other couples is the very thing missing from your relationship. So, pay close attention to why you’re jealous of people on social media or in your friend group.
Be mindful because you could be jealous of how someone lives rather than their relationship. For example, are you jealous of the vacation the couple next door took to Santorini?
Or, are you jealous they look so happy sitting on the porch drinking their coffee every morning?
Envy isn’t a negative emotion that you’ve probably always believed it to be. Instead, it shows you what you want but lack at the moment.
You’re starting to flirt more often.
Flirting can be healthy, even when you’re in a relationship. Yet, if you find yourself doing it more often or micro-cheating, it may indicate that things are over. Experimenting with what it would be like to date other people usually happens when you’ve started to give up on fixing the issues in your current relationship.
For some, it can also help supplement the things missing in their relationship. Perhaps it’s the ego boost people need to give them the green light to leave their relationship. But on the other hand, it may also help them uncover what’s happening in their marriage. Either way, your relationship won’t last much longer if the flirting keeps escalating.
Eduard Andrei Vasile
Personal Development Counsellor at bornandreborn.com
Marriages can be challenging. Whenever we discuss this topic, I realize that marriage is like a factory or a complex system. So many components make a couple’s story work or not.
Unfortunately, some relationships or marriages just won’t last, no matter how hard we try. So naturally, there are some signs we can take into account to diagnose the end of a relationship.
You stop appreciating each other
If at the beginning of the relationship we only had nice words to offer, a moment comes when we realize that we no longer see anything admirable in our partner, and they feel the same about us. It does not mean the end of a marriage in every single case.
However, it is a red flag that you should not ignore. It can be just a phase or a signal that the relationship is under strain. In some instances, such an attitude can destroy a marriage.
They have become physically and verbally aggressive
There is no excuse for assault, and you should never tolerate it. Of course, the decision is up to you, but aggression does not lead to anything good. By allowing this to happen, we will be left deeply traumatized, both physically and mentally, and with much to heal.
You no longer see a future together
Mutual plans are essential in a happy marriage. The moment they no longer coincide or are different, it is an alarm signal. We all have some things we want to have or achieve and those we don’t like, such as moving to another country or having a child. Some of them are important enough to make or break a relationship.
You are too different
Differences may attract partners, but only when they complement the partners. When these differences clash with each other, the relationship deteriorates. For example, one of the partners wants to adopt seven children, while the other wants to travel the world.
If you can find a compromise, that’s great, but be aware of those differences that might undermine your relationship in the long run.
You have been cheated on
I do not recommend breaking up immediately after infidelity, as the fault lies in the middle. However, repeated infidelity that becomes a habit and hurts one of the partners is a real problem.
You fight every day
Some domestic discussions are healthy and welcome in a marriage. However, quarrels that happen daily and have no finality do nothing but gradually degrade the marriage.
We’re not all meant to stay with a particular person for the rest of our lives, which is okay. But sometimes, ending a failed marriage is what we need to find peace and balance.
Divorce Healer & Relationship Coach at wendysterling.net
Communication is broken
While it is unintended, communication does break down in marriages and causes conflict and resentment between couples. In many cases, it leads to divorce when left unaddressed.
It is essential to understand what a communication breakdown looks like in your marriage and figure out ways to solve it. If that is not possible, you may choose to speak to someone else (a friend or a therapist), or else the discomfort and strain you feel might make you hide your head in the sand.
Sometimes the partners may dig their heels in and become unwilling to compromise and find a middle ground. However, to turn the tables, you must prioritize communication and work together. On the other hand, if you feel like the effort is one-sided, you need to be honest with yourself and decide what would be best for you in the long run.
You feel suspicious about random generous acts
This one hits close to home because it became a HUGE indicator of something going on. For my 40th birthday, I wanted to go to Vegas with my friends, so my husband planned a trip for us.
However, during the journey, the extravaganza that was a part of it felt very strange because it was not “me” or “us.” It felt like he was compensating for something. Sure, he bought me flowers randomly. However, this was on a whole other level. It was a clue that something was going on; for me, it hinted that he was having an affair.
It also showed me that our marriage's foundation had been broken. All my partner’s efforts looked like a bandaid to “fix” our problems. Relationships require healthy communication and trust, none of which were alive in our marriage.
When you fight, divorce becomes an option
While no one gets married thinking of divorce as an option, one day, it may become a reality. Unfortunately, it is often a result of constant fighting and living like roommates when all you see are their flaws. Resolving a conflict is a way intimacy is created, as it is a chance to grow together as a couple. But if the opposite happens, you know your marriage is on the rocks.
Your ability to handle conflict will determine if your relationship can survive. It is normal for two people not to agree or see eye to eye on everything. After all, you are different people with different interests, opinions, and dislikes. And when a conflict arises, it’s paramount to resolve it jointly, considering the interests of both parties.
Memories create more joy than the present moment
Shared memories are vital as they can be the glue that keeps your marriage intact. However, when life gets stressful and demanding, you can either look back on those times as a pillar of strength to get back to that place or decide that the relationship has run its course.
If you feel like your memories are better than reality, don’t give up. You can still save your marriage. However, it takes two people to work hard on the relationship to get back to a place of wanting to create new, happy, joyful memories together.
Spending time apart brings more joy than spending time together
Actions speak louder than words, so if your spouse suddenly begins spending more time at work or goes out with friends without you, it could signify something is amiss.
If you are not actively making time to be together (because life gets hectic) before lining up other plans, there is an issue with the intimacy in your marriage. When you genuinely love your partner, you make the other a priority and desire to create quality time together; and you don’t compromise it.
However, if you don’t see the other person investing the time and energy into making the relationship work, don’t settle for less.
The list of signs that a marriage is on the verge of failure is not limited to the examples given. Although the experts above talked in detail about how to know when your marriage is over, you may have your own reasons for leaving. The experience of couples may differ depending on the situation, and the things that destroy one relationship don’t affect the other.
However, you may wonder if there is a way to save your marriage. The most effective solution is communication and recognition of problems. But that’s not all. You must also want to make amends and solve issues in collaboration with your spouse. If necessary, involve a third party, such as a family psychologist, who is initially set up to save your union.