We all know that there can be horrific betrayals in a relationship that lead to divorce. You could discover that your partner is a serial cheater. Maybe they fall into drugs or other self-destructive behaviors, and you need to walk away. At its worst, a relationship can become abusive, and ending it is a matter of life or death. However, consider the fact that sometimes a relationship simply runs its course. There is no “fault,” and no one is to blame. The relationship is just no longer satisfying, and it has little hope of surviving.
Divorce is hard at the best of times, but it doesn’t need to be traumatic or devastating. In fact, ending your marriage before it becomes toxic could be a pleasant solution. You can, as adults, agree to move on without one another. If your timing is right, you could even part as friends.
In this article, we discuss some signs that the relationship may be over. These are not the earth-shattering, obvious signs described above. Some of them are quite mundane. If any of the following feels true in your relationship, take a moment to consider the future of your marriage.
You Have Simply Grown Apart
Ideally, a marriage consists of two people on the same team. They have similar relationship goals, and there is a future they want to achieve together. Sometimes, however, life takes you in different directions.
Relationship experts sometimes refer to “game-changers.” These are unexpected events in a person’s life that change everything. Perhaps someone discovers a new interest that takes up most of their time. Maybe one spouse discovers a new dimension to their personality they want to explore. At the best of times, these sudden changes can put a strain on the relationship. At worse, they could end it.
If you see your partner evolving in a way that makes you uncomfortable, the worst thing you can do is try to stop it. Talk to them, and listen. Take stock of how these changes may affect you and whether you wish to continue. You may find that you enjoy watching their evolution, and the whole process brings you closer together. Conversely, their trajectory could lead you to a life you don’t want. When that is the case, you may need to move on without them.
Growing Apart Is Common Among Couples Who Married Young
Many people don’t have a strong grasp on themselves when they are young, and some never fully attain self-awareness. Science tells us that the brain doesn’t reach full maturity until age 25 or so. When people marry young, there is still a whole world of growth, discovery, and development before them. Sometimes, that natural development leads to incompatibility.
Growing Apart Can Lead to Incompatible Interests
Don’t underestimate how much your hobbies affect the rest of your life. Imagine a couple, Sarah and Jim. As time passes, Jim grows more introverted. He becomes more interested in books, film, video games, etc. Sarah, on the other hand, becomes more active. She spends all her free time at the gym. On weekends, she’s begging Jim to take her out dancing, ice skating, or some other physical activity. Although they may still get along, they could eventually feel more like roommates than romantic partners.
Growing Apart Can Lead to a Lack of Commitment
At some point, you may have heard this parable: “Marriage isn’t two people each giving 50%. Marriage is two people each giving 100%.” For many, this statement holds true. As a couple grows apart, either party can lose interest in the marriage. They spend more time and energy on their new interests than on the relationship. Some couples can function within such a construct, but many can’t. People often want to feel needed and indispensable. If their marriage no longer meets that need, it may be time for them to move on.
The Relationship is Unequal
In our modern world, many people want their relationships to be equal. They want to feel like they have power and a “say” in their relationships. If you feel like you must constantly ask permission before making a decision, or you see your partner doing the same, take notice. This is a red flag. Sometimes these power imbalances can be fixed, but sometimes people are too stuck in their current pattern and cannot change.
You Continue to Change Your Agreements
People often get wrapped up in the swirl of romance. They believe that their love is enough to sustain the relationship and overcome any obstacle. This is a lovely ideal, and it may work for some couples, but marriage is a pragmatic, real-world matter. Without a concrete plan, you could continue to find yourself constantly changing course. Matters concerning money, kids, and even chores can constantly fluctuate without drawing a plan and sticking to it.
If you are constantly altering the “rules” of the home, but the marriage is otherwise working, you should consider a postnuptial agreement. It works exactly like a prenup, but it is created after the wedding. It doesn’t just protect wealth and assets. With it, you can make decisions regarding how the money is spent, who handles which chores, who has decision-making power over which aspect of the kids’ lives, etc. A marital agreement isn’t the most romantic option, but having such things in writing can help you focus on what’s important, the connection between you and your partner.
Sometimes, People Are Just Generally Unhappy
It’s good to search for the root of any problem, but sometimes, you just have to listen to your emotions and your body. If either of you simply isn’t getting what you need from the relationship, and it doesn’t appear to be something you can fix, it may be time to end it. You don’t need to worry about blame or fault; you need only to be certain that you’re making the right choice.
If you need help ending a marriage amicably, contact our office. We specialize in helping couples end their marriage and transition to the next phase of their lives. For a free consultation, you can call (949) 558-2624 or contact us online.