No relationship is perfect. People argue, want different things, have different priorities – that’s normal life. But when a relationship is in serious trouble there are a number of signs that will confirm this.
As featured in our ‘You are only human’ guide to divorce – read more here
You may suspect you’re in an unhappy or loveless marriage – but you may not want to totally believe it. The indicators given here may help you to decide. If any of these hit home with you, it’s time to take a hard look at whether this is a marriage you want to stay in.
You don’t feel safe and secure in the relationship or your home, and you feel you are walking on eggshells and can’t be yourself. If there is any
physical or emotional abuse please leave the family home immediately.
• Being in the relationship causes you more pain than joy on a daily basis.
• You don’t enjoy each other’s company. Spending time together fills you with dread, you make excuses not to go home and you would rather
spend time with other people.
• You aren’t having sex anymore, and maybe even the thought of it repulses you. There is no visible affection like kissing, hugging or holding hands.
• You feel that you have nothing in common and nothing to say to each other. If something happens, either good or bad, you tell someone
else before you think to tell your partner.
• You feel alone even if you are in the same room. There is no connection, you are both doing your own thing, whether that’s watching TV, playing on a games consul, chatting via Facebook or mobile phone. There is no laughter or fun when you are together unless other people are involved.
• You are ‘busy being busy’. You distract yourself from focussing on your relationship or how you are feeling. You know you are unhappy and
dissatisfied with the marriage and your life but as long as you can focus on other people and things you can put up with it. Any prolonged time together such as summer holidays or Christmas creates tension, anxiety and stress.
• You don’t feel significant to your partner. You don’t feel seen, heard or understood. You do not feel respected, or perhaps you do not respect your partner. You feel they have let you down repeatedly, that you can’t trust them because of unhealed resentments that they might not even be aware of. You feel that his career, her horse, the children, the dog – in fact, anything and everything is more important than you are to them!
• You feel you are being criticised, attacked and blamed for something every time your partner says something to you, and you react by being
defensive or attacking back. This results in one or both of you feeling contempt for each other and making sarcastic, degrading remarks to imply you know better, are superior and they are inferior.
This communication usually ends in stonewalling and emotional withdrawal, which leads to deterioration in communication and further
evidence that your thoughts, needs and desire to be heard are consistently dismissed, which has created an impenetrable barrier.
• The thought of spending the rest of your life together fills you with dread. You frequently imagine a happy future without your partner.
Having said all this, there may still be hope – as everything I’ve listed here can be resolved. This might be by getting the help of a relationship
counsellor, through reading books or watching online programmes on relationships. Importantly, though, both of you have to want this.
However, if you think the relationship is unsalvageable and you or your partner no longer want to fight for the relationship, then divorce may be the only answer.
Sarah Ashworth, Counsellor
SA:SI Strategic Intervention sasiuk.com