8 Warning Signs of Divorce

15 May 2022

Though it can seem like it at the time, divorce is rarely a bombshell that no one sees coming. There are warning signs of divorce in every relationship that seems clear as day in retrospect. Identifying those warning signs of divorce can be difficult at the moment, however. 

Black and white image of a caucasian woman sitting in bed next to a window looking somber

Instead of letting a failing relationship blindside you, prepare yourself. Educate yourself. Look for the warning signs of divorce so that you can make the necessary changes before it is too late. After all, those flashing lights indicating that the train is coming don’t do a whole lot of good if the train is barreling down on you, now do they? 

Not every relationship is salvageable, but with the proper warning signs, you can make the changes that can potentially save the relationship. At worst, those warning signs can help make the upcoming prospect of divorce a little easier.

Every couple should be aware of these eight warning signs of divorce.

1. The Biggest Warning Signs of Divorce: You Aren’t Happy

While we all tend to look for warning signs from the other person, there are times where it benefits to look within. When you are in a good relationship, you will be happy the vast majority of the time. Fights and disagreements are fair here and there, but things are peaceful and content for the most part.

When those fights become commonplace, however, is when the trouble can arise. You may notice that you aren’t as happy around them as you once were. You may even dread having to spend time with them at all.

Or perhaps you notice certain traits out of them. Have they become unreliable, critical, hostile, or have shut down the majority of the time? Maybe they are lazy and unresponsive. These are all signs that the relationship could be on thin ice. Whatever the case, being unhappy all of the time – either of you – indicates that the relationship is in serious trouble at the very least.

In either instance, talking things out is the only course of action. Depending on where the hostilities lay, this can be a difficult ask. But only after sitting down and talking honestly with one another can you both come to an understanding of where the issues lay.

Letting the issues fester, whatever they may be, is a surefire way to have a blowup later on down the line. It likely won’t be pleasant to discuss the issues at hand, but it is also the only way to find out the other person is unhappy before it is too late.

2. Avoiding Each Other

It should go without saying that the healthiest of relationships involve two people that want to spend time with one another. Especially at the beginning of the relationship, you simply can’t get enough of each other.

That love felt at the beginning of the relationship is hard to sustain in quite as passionate a level, but it doesn’t have to go away entirely. And when things go in the complete opposite direction, that is one of the major warning signs of divorce.

It can start subtly enough. Perhaps the little things annoy you, putting you on edge at a moment’s notice. But then it begins to escalate and becomes something major.

Have you ever come home from work, saw your partner’s car, and just sat outside because you can’t bear to go inside? Perhaps you have found yourself with the inherent, overwhelming desire to spend time with your friends, your family, or really doing anything else far more.

If one partner starts to avoid the other for any reason, it is a major issue. There needs to be some level of love and desire in the relationship. When you or your spouse find that you are avoiding the other, it needs to be addressed.

Talking to each other may not be enough. Professional intervention may be required if there is any hope of saving the marriage. Doing nothing will simply lead to a potentially explosive confrontation and likely will do nothing but further damage. After all, if you can’t stand to even be near one another, what is the point of being in a relationship to begin with?

3. Interactions Aren’t Positive are Warning Signs of Divorce

Believe it or not, there is a little bit of science and math behind a healthy relationship. We know that the majority of happy couples will fight but not all that often. The question then becomes, “how much is too much to fight?”

Well, there is actually something known as an interaction ratio. That ratio is 20:1 – for every negative interaction, there should be 20 positive ones. This is according to accredited marriage researcher John Gottman.

Conflicted couples, meanwhile, tend to be closer to the 5:1 range. Couples that are on the cusp of divorce are at .8:1, meaning they have fewer positive interactions than they do negative ones. Obviously, most couples don’t keep track of these interactions but can and should be able to generally ballpark it.

Those negative interactions don’t necessarily have to be fights, either. It can be bickering, a nasty attitude, being short with one another, and a few other things. Those negative interactions, even if they don’t lead to a fight in the moment, will ultimately cause resentment in the other person.

Positive interactions can be small things, too: a hug, a kiss, asking how a day went, offering to help with dinner, etc. They aren’t earth-shaping acts, but they all play an integral role in the health and stability of a relationship.

If you and your spouse are interacting negatively more often than not, it is one of the major warning signs of divorce. When a relationship gets to this point, there typically needs to be professional intervention if there is any hope of saving the relationship.

4. Listen to Your Instincts About Warning Signs of Divorce

Like it or not, sometimes our gut instinct is the right one. There may be times, even in marriage, where your instincts are screaming at you that the situation just isn’t right. It can be difficult to acknowledge; we generally don’t want to see the fault in this major relationship in our lives.

Even if things are great for the first little while, there may come a time where your stomach feels like it is always in knots when thinking about the relationship. When that happens, it is your gut literally telling you that something isn’t right.

Gut instinct can be a difficult thing to gauge, especially with something as important as a marriage. Even if your natural instinct is to leave, to run, you will no doubt second guess yourself. That can be enough to cause turmoil in the relationship.

Wanting to leave can be due to many different reasons. Perhaps you suspect your partner is being unfaithful. Perhaps you notice that the differences in your likes and dislikes are far wider than you originally thought.

Whatever the case, feeling that gut instinct that you need to leave is one of the warning signs of divorce. It is perhaps the most difficult one to acknowledge and not push away, but it can be just as vital as all of the others. 

Don’t think that your gut instinct is a valid one? You can always try checking with a family friend or a trusted confidant to see what they think. Not that their answer is the end all be all, but it can either reinforce how you’ve been feeling in one way or another.

5. Friends and Family Tell You It’s Wrong

Perhaps one of the biggest factors in a relationship can be the role of friends and family. We all want approval from our loved ones when it comes to the person that we plan on spending the rest of our lives with.

That’s not to say that successful relationships can’t happen unless the entire family loves you or your spouse, but it is an important building block. When there is dislike between one person in the marriage and the other person’s family, it can cause major distress. That, unfortunately, includes life in general, not just family gatherings.

It is also important to note that family members not liking a spouse is not necessarily a death knell. It is their opinion, yes, but it is just that. If you feel like you have a strong relationship, don’t let nosy family members interfere.

Having said all that, one of the warning signs of divorce is when your friends and family members tell you to leave them and break it off. More often than not, they simply want what is best for you, and they do not see these things in that other person.

Another thing to remember is that family members are simply looking out for you. Talking to them to see their point of view – why they don’t like your spouse and why they want you to get rid of them – can be important for getting a sense of perspective.

At the end of the day, having a quality relationship can be a difficult thing in general. When family dislikes your spouse and makes it well-known, it can make things all the more difficult. Talking with your friends and family to understand their reasoning can help.

6. Warning Signs of Divorce: Everything Feels Difficult

Let’s get one thing clear right away: relationships are hard work. Even those that seem the smoothest and easiest require a lot of work from both spouses. Anyone that tells you otherwise is delusional or lying to themselves.

Having said that, a good relationship should have the good far outweigh the bad. Fights happen. We are human beings, after all. But those fights should eventually lead to reconciliation, and the two parties should want to make that happen.

When nearly every interaction starts to become painful or a chore, that is one of the warning signs of divorce. Even the little things – she needs you to go get something from the kitchen, what do we feed the kids for breakfast, who needs to go get dinner – can feel like massive tasks.

Little interactions that become dramatic and difficult indicate a foundational issue. Moreover, the conversations will reflect that difficulty and drama. They will be painful, heated, provocative, and even downright abusive at times.

When that happens, it is indicative that at least one party is growing tired of the other. It indicates that there is some underlying tension there that has not been discussed. Sometimes it can be as simple as discussing the issue with your spouse. Other times, it’s far more deep-seated and needs to be addressed by a professional.

If you can’t get through an interaction with one another without fighting, it may wind up being best to part ways. It all depends on your situation, who wants to save the relationship, and who simply wants to just start the process of moving on.

7. A Sudden Change in Behavior

Making a change in lifestyle can certainly be a good thing. Perhaps there has been a decision by your spouse or yourself to lose weight. We all want to look better and feel better, so that can be understandable.

But sudden changes by one partner in a relationship can be something of a concern and can even be one of the warning signs of divorce. Maybe your spouse drops a lot of weight and starts to take an interest in their appearance more seriously.

Perhaps the largest red flag is when one spouse starts spending a lot more time away from home. For even the most “innocent” of reasons, it can still be majorly detrimental to the relationship. There is ultimately a feeling that being away from home is not only desired but a good thing.

When these sudden changes happen, including spending time away from home, it can be indicative that there is infidelity going on. Infidelity and money are two of the largest reasons for divorce in both the United States and Canada, and this is one of the most common instances of infidelity.

Ask yourself this: has your spouse been spending a lot of time away from home? Have they taken a renewed interest in how they look? Has there been any mention of a friend or coworker lately that maybe wasn’t there before? Those are your major red flags.

It can be difficult to accept, but people change, and their desires change as well. If you think that your spouse has been exhibiting those signs, it is important to talk to them about it. Let them know how you feel. If there is something going on, they may be honest about it. But it is a concern no matter how you look at it.

8. Living Like Roommates

How many times in life have you seen or heard of a divorced couple that talked about living like roommates? There is no overt discussion of the problems at hand, but it is apparent to anyone looking from the outside in.

Even if there is no fighting, there are other signs that there are problems in the marriage. One of the most telling warning signs of divorce is that there is a living arrangement and nothing more. No spending time together. No caring for one another. Barely interacting with one another is all the more obvious.

When couples lose that luster, when they feel like there is nothing left, they may hang on by simply ignoring one another. Sleeping apart is perhaps the most telling sign. Sure, things like severe sleep apnea can cause it, but there is generally a greater issue within the relationship at work.

If this sounds like your current relationship, it is time to ask the hard questions. Why are you still together? What do you hope can be achieved by staying together? Do you think your spouse feels the same way?

Living together but leading separate lives is basically the same as being divorced. And if you are okay with that kind of existence, making it official only makes sense. Think about it like this: does picturing yourself without them lead to any feelings of sadness? If the answer is “no,” your only recourse is to begin to move on with your life.

Fairway Divorce Solutions

When it seems as though divorce is inevitable, it is important that your rights are protected. Divorce has become this long, drawn-out process where both sides lose and only the lawyers win. Skip that archaic process by using Fairway Divorce.

Our proven method of individually negotiated resolutions will ensure that both sides get a fair shake. We aim to make divorcing a better, more amicable process—no more expensive, bitter, nasty wars that can stretch for years.

Start today by filling out our contact form. It is the first step towards divorce resolution unlike any other.