When you say "I do," you intend to stay married to your partner forever. But as time goes on, things may happen that could make you rethink that promise. For instance, maybe one of you has evolved in a way that lessens you and your partner's compatibility. On the other hand, perhaps external factors, including a new job, a cross-country move, or the addition of children to your family, have created too much tension for your relationship to bear. If you feel like your marriage has spiraled to an irreparable place, you may want to consider divorce. Forcing yourself to stay in an unhappy marriage may not be the answer for you or your partner.
To navigate this emotional and difficult terrain, we asked Australian psychologist Noosha Mehmanli Anzab for some expert guidance.
Meet the Expert
Wondering if it's time to call it quits on your marriage? Consider a few of Anzab's insights, starting with acknowledging how your relationship in its current state makes you feel. Keep reading for some additional indicators that may tell you when it's time to divorce.
Small Irritants Have Become Sources of Anger
Anzab says, "Small irritations in all aspects of life can start to impact you in a huge way. We've all experienced this feeling. Maybe something that you once found endearing in your partner is now the source of your frustration." For example, if you used to love how loudly he sings in the shower, it may drive you crazy now. Anzab suggests opening up lines of communication between you and your partner before your annoyance and frustration turns into hatred and disconnect. So if you notice that her hair in the brush that you share is starting to really bug you, talk to her about it before it becomes a much bigger issue.
There's No Common Ground on Important Issues
"We all know the saying, 'opposites attract,' but unfortunately, that's not necessarily true," Anzab admits. At the beginning of a relationship, points of difference may be exciting, refreshing, and motivating. However, there is usually a limit on how much you're willing to compromise. Anzab adds, "Non-negotiable needs, such as deciding on a place to call home or whether or not you want children can become sources of resentment and detachment."
Generally, when you love someone, you make an effort to be flexible—especially when it comes to accommodating our partner's needs—but sometimes, you may have to put your foot down and choose what you want. If your partner refuses to meet you halfway on essential issues or she has non-negotiable needs that are worlds apart from yours, you may be headed for a split.
Work Seems to Trump the Marriage
Every relationship, no matter how perfect it may seem, doesn't come without challenges. In marriage, a common external stressor comes in the form of work-related issues, including career-life balance or financial difficulties. Anzab says, "External stressors can bleed into our personal lives and relationships. When we feel unsupported, we feel rejected, isolated, ignored, unworthy, or even unloved." Any of these feelings will surely put tension and stress on your relationship.
We all know the saying, 'opposites attract,' but unfortunately, that's not necessarily true.
If you feel like he prioritizes his career more than he does his marriage, have a conversation with him about it and tell him how you feel. If nothing seems to change after some time passes, you have to do what's best for you and your sense of self-worth.
Complacency Has Taken Over
"At some point in a marriage, it is common for individuals to stop pursuing independent growth. We become so focused on helping the relationship grow that we often forget to grow as individuals," Anzab warns. A happy marriage consists of two happy individuals, so don't forget to do things that give you a sense of satisfaction and individualism. When you find yourself feeling complacent in your own life, you should consider the fact that your relationship may have made you feel that way. You won't be able to contribute positivity and love to your marriage if you feel bored or complacent.
The Relationship Feels Toxic
How to know when it's time to divorce? When you start feeling unhappy in your relationship because one or both of you is engaging in destructive behaviors. For example, maybe she started drinking more alcohol than she used to, and it's becoming problematic. Maybe his night out with the boys has turned into lies about his whereabouts. "Be mindful that it is perfectly normal to end a relationship if it is becoming strenuous or toxic for both parties," Anzab suggests.