Divorce Time: When Do You Know It’s the Right Time to Divorce?

By:
Michael Tierney
Updated
July 24, 2022

Divorce is never intended to be the first choice when you encounter troubled times in your marriage. It is perfectly reasonable to want to try and resolve things with your spouse and save your marriage if at all possible. However, sometimes you cannot reconcile the disagreements between spouses, and the marriage begins to approach a breaking point. While this is not to say you cannot make a last-minute comeback to a loving and equitable marriage, the odds are unfortunately lower the longer the conflict continues.

There is not always "someone at fault" when marriages begin to deteriorate, but sometimes the best thing to do is begin going your separate ways. When marriages reach this breaking point, it's common to bounce back and forth and feel uncertain about your decision to start divorcing your spouse.

Solution It is important to note that there is no "right time"; what you need to look for are signs that the marriage has become unsustainable.

When these signs manifest in your marriage, it can be in your best interest to begin anew and separate from your spouse. However, these signs might not be obvious to everyone, especially since you likely love your spouse and might subconsciously ignore them. There is no shame in this response, but it can harm your happiness. This article will illustrate the signs that divorce might be on the horizon so you can decide for yourself.

You Avoid Each Other

One of the biggest signs that divorce might be growing more likely is that you and your spouse are no longer acknowledging each other.

While you might be under the impression that fighting is the biggest sign of an impending divorce, you would be mistaken. Fighting, as unpleasant as it is, is a normal occurrence in healthy couples as no one will always agree with their spouse. While fighting can lead to hurt feelings and anger, it is still a form of communication. The real red flag is if you and your spouse are avoiding each other to avoid conflict or addressing your issues.

When you and your spouse avoid each other, it signifies that one or both of you no longer cares about maintaining the relationship. This lack of interaction and declining care in addressing the issues can be a surefire sign that divorce is imminent. Conflict avoidance is one of the leading causes of divorce in the country since avoiding a conflict only generates more animosity. However, you cannot alleviate the created animosity since neither party is willing to confront the other about it.

Married Couple Avoiding Each Other

The situation resembles the ouroboros loop (the serpent eating its tail). Avoiding conflict creates more problems, the problems lead to more discontent, the discontent is not addressed due to avoidance, and the cycle continues. If you have tried to address the issues with your spouse only for them to walk away from the conversation or make an excuse to avoid discussing it, your spouse is resigned to being at odds with you. If your spouse is unwilling to take the steps toward conflict resolution, divorce might be the only option, as avoidance and reconciliation are mutually exclusive.

However, avoidance is not the only major sign of impending divorce. Sometimes, conflict is all too common in the relationship but is not meant to resolve anything.

Every Conflict is About Winning

While avoidance is a huge sign that divorce might end your marriage, excessive arguments could bring the same result. However, while arguments are not inherently a problem, the way the arguments are conducted could indicate your spouse's commitment. If you and your spouse are having a heated argument, it should be in pursuit of resolving the problem that sparked the argument. Unfortunately, this goal is often lost as the argument can devolve into being about winning.

The argument has already failed when it becomes about winning and proving your spouse wrong instead of fixing the problem. It shows that your spouse cares more about being right than promoting a stronger relationship. Rather than addressing the faults that caused the argument, your spouse might deflect using a "well you" statement.

Married Couple Arguing

For example, if you are confronting your spouse about how much they spend on fast food, they might respond with a statement like, "Well, you spend how much on makeup?" They will attempt to divert the blame and justify their actions by throwing something back in your face.

While, in another circumstance, they might be justified in addressing the situation, the fact they are using it to defend their actions is a manipulative tactic. It allows them to dismiss your concerns and try to "beat you" in the fight, so they do not need to change their lifestyle. This competitive nature makes divorce seem almost preferable since there will likely be no compromise from your spouse and no room for growth in the relationship.

If an argument seems to be about winning more than addressing the issues, it might be time to consider divorce. That being said, this alone does not necessarily warrant such a response. However, there is another sign that is more obvious and far more terrifying.

They Are Becoming Controlling

Freedom is the right of every human being in the world. Wars have been waged in its name to ensure that others could never control us against our will ever again. Unfortunately, your spouse might be one of those who believes your marriage entitles them to control your life to suit their needs. A controlling spouse often demands access to your devices and correspondence to maintain their hold over you. However, this is only the tip of what a controlling spouse is capable of.

Spouse Becoming Controlling

Solution A controlling spouse could make you feel like you cannot live a life of your own and exist at your spouse's discretion.

This is a horrific life to live and not what a marriage should exemplify. Unfortunately, controlling spouses are more common than we would care to admit. If you find yourself caught under your spouse's controlling gaze, it is reasonable to look for an escape wherever possible. Unfortunately, this type of behavior is extremely difficult to correct and usually ties into an underlying personality disorder. In this case, divorce might be the only way to escape their grip.

A controlling spouse is no laughing matter, as it can easily cross the line into abuse the longer they can get away with this behavior. In situations where your spouse is overbearing and controlling, waiting for things to improve could harm your chances of emancipating yourself from them. You will likely need to take steps to separate yourself from them as soon as possible and begin the divorce process covertly. However, other signs are a little less terrifying but just as reasonable.

They Provoke Conflict

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum from our first point, sometimes a marriage gets to be so hostile that your spouse looks for fights. When a spouse has lost all faith and interest in their marriage, they choose to pick apart every one of your behaviors to argue again. This behavior is used to keep your self-esteem low, so you feel you are the problem since they have so many "examples" of your flaws. Provoking a conflict is one of the greatest weapons a distant spouse has to avoid putting in the effort of reconciliation.

When your spouse is finding reasons to pick a fight, even if the subject is something minor like your fashion, it could be a sign that divorce is in your best interest.

Usually, a spouse will only resort to pointless arguments and provocation as a form of projection. They are either picking these fights because they are insecure about the things they are picking fights over or because they have begun cheating on you. Regardless of why this is happening, continued examples of this behavior warrant a reconsideration of your relationship.

Spouse Provoking Conflict

While divorce might not be strictly necessary to recover from this behavior, the underlying cause behind the arguments could be more severe than the arguments themselves. Depending on what the underlying cause turns out to be, a divorce might be the best option. Marriage is not meant to be all conflict, especially if the fights your spouse provokes are about the above pattern of being about winning rather than resolution.

In some cases, your spouse might combine the provocation of conflict with avoidance. They will start an argument for the sake of arguing and then walk away in the middle of it to keep you from resolving the situation. It is a common technique to distance themselves from you emotionally and cause you to feel like the problem.

Finally, one last reason for divorce is far more common than any other. Unfortunately, it is also one of the more heartbreaking reasons for divorce.

They Are Cheating

We mentioned before that a spouse who provokes arguments might be projecting and exaggerating their issues with you due to infidelity. When your spouse is having an affair, they tend to divert all their attention to their hidden partner and look to justify why they "needed" a new partner rather than staying loyal to you. As a result, they emphasize your perceived flaws or create flaws out of minor details to try and justify their actions. However, infidelity is demonstrated through more than just an argumentative disposition.

Several signs might indicate that your spouse is having an affair. Identifying these signs can help you get to the bottom of their infidelity so you can prepare yourself legally and emotionally. However, figuring out that your spouse is cheating on you is only part of the battle. If your spouse is cheating on you, it can not only be grounds for divorce but can help the proceedings end in your favor.

Spouse Cheating on Partner

Divorce courts tend to favor the victim of an unfaithful spouse and split the assets in your favor. Although, divorce does not have to be the first response to an unfaithful spouse, and you can try and talk things out with them. However, if your spouse is cheating on you, it is generally because they no longer have an attraction to you or are no longer emotionally invested in the marriage. In these cases, divorce is the most common and most reasonable response as it shatters trust and spits in the face of the institution of marriage.

Unfortunately, infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce worldwide. Between 20 to 40% of divorces are due to infidelity. This statistic can be disheartening since it makes infidelity a more likely issue for your relationship. However, it is not imminent, and you should only consider divorcing over infidelity if it is proven that your spouse is cheating on you.

If your spouse is exhibiting any of these behaviors, it could signify that divorce is not only imminent but necessary. However, there is still more to understand before you consider pursuing a divorce.

Learn the Law

Divorce is not a pleasant legal battle to go through. This, along with the desire to salvage love from a failing marriage, is why it is reserved as a last resort. Before you pursue a divorce, you need to be positive that there is no possible way of reconciling with your spouse first. Sometimes, talking things through is enough to make things right between you and your spouse and correct the damage. Unfortunately, sometimes the issues are too severe to fix, and divorce is the only option left. This is not something to be ashamed of, but we recognize that the decision is not one made lightly.

Learning Divorce Law

If divorce does seem to be imminent, it can be beneficial to learn more about the process and laws surrounding divorce cases. Doing so can help you prepare for post-marriage life as well as protect your interests during the proceedings. We know the biggest concern is that your marriage might be coming to an end, and we know it is painful. We only hope that the information provided here and throughout our website is able to help you make an informed decision, and we wish you the best.

Written By:
Michael Tierney
Michael is a legal writer and graduate of WSU. Prior to becoming a legal writer, he had 6 years of experience as a legal assistant and office manager for a family law attorney. He's written about numerous legal subjects from helping spouses who are stuck in toxic situations to the intricacies of custody battles. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and building custom keyboards.
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