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Signs Your Husband (or Wife) Wants a Divorce

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What are the signs that your spouse wants a divorce?

It’s a thought that can cause mountains of anxiety or keep us up at all hours of the night. Once you start thinking about it, you may start seeing signs everywhere. That stress can have us second-guessing every action, good or bad. 

Every marriage is different, so there is no foolproof list of the signs your husband or wife wants a divorce. However, we’ve compiled a list of common occurrences that can point towards a spouse looking for the door. Feel free to reflect on them as a sort of ‘Is It Time for a Divorce?’ quiz, but remember that every marriage is different, and your situation will be unique. 

Your Spouse Has No Urge to Argue with You

When we think of marriages that are on the rocks, our first thought is often loud arguments. Screaming. Cursing at each other.

However, while these are definitely not a sign of a healthy, respectful marriage, it’s when things turn silent that the situation becomes far more sinister. 

If you’re arguing with someone, it means that you’re trying to get the other person to either agree with you, or, at the very least, reach a compromise. However, if there is no bickering or arguing, it means you don’t care about reaching an agreement with the other person at all. 

When this happens, it’s not about fixing or resolving problems. It’s about ignoring issues and avoiding conflict whenever possible. Indifference becomes the default state, and apathy is more destructive to a marriage than anger. 

This is especially painful to deal with because this can seem like a welcome change. If you’ve been fighting every day and suddenly you’re not arguing, that can feel amazing. Unfortunately, it’s anything but. 

No Interest in Spending Time with You

Another reliable sign your spouse wants a divorce is his or her lack of interest in spending any time with you. 

This does NOT mean that they want to have a bit of alone time or hang out with their friends without you. This is specifically when they want to spend ALL of their time away from you. They’re actively choosing to work on projects that keep them at the office longer or do activities that keep them away from home at a near-constant rate.

signs your husband wants a divorce

Avoiding you can also extend to future plans. If you broach topics about upcoming vacations or holidays, are they indifferent about them? For example, if you have a romantic getaway to the beach or the mountains planned, do they seem disinterested in what should be something to look forward to? 

Avoiding you can also extend to future plans. If you broach topics about upcoming vacations or holidays, are they indifferent about them? For example, if you have a romantic getaway to the beach or the mountains planned, do they seem disinterested in what should be something to look forward to? 

Again, you need to keep in mind that these excessive attempts are meant to avoid spending time with you. Later hours at work could just mean she’s gunning for a promotion or is tackling a hectic project, not that she’s trying to stay away. Wanting to spend time with friends alone could just be him wanting to have a few friends outside of marriage. It’s when these actions are uncharacteristic of them or they have failed (or refuse to) provide any reason why. 

‘Independent’ Financial Movement

Many couples prefer to keep their finances separate and have mutually agreed upon fiscal responsibilities, so this is for those that have maintained joint accounts and finances. 

Independent financial movement means a wife opening new accounts in her name, a husband taking out a new line of credit, moving significant sums of money out of joint accounts without explanation, or similar financial decisions. 

These decisions are a sign that your spouse wants a divorce because they could be attempts to establish credit in their own name or prepared the needed work for a life apart. Many people flounder financially during a divorce, blindsided by the confusion of independently managing everything. This can be a sign that your spouse is attempting to get a “head start” and avoid that floundering. 

Expressing Contempt for You, Your Hobbies, or Your Choices

Every married couple fights and every couple does things the other one doesn’t approve of. However, despite that, healthy couples work very hard to ensure that their comments or criticisms come from a place of respect. 

man getting divorced after signs his wife wanted a divorce

When your spouse shows contempt for you, your interests, your opinions, or your marriage as a whole, that’s a bad sign. When we do not respect something, we have much less of an interest in maintaining it. 

Your Spouse is Resentful of You or Your Marriage

When your husband or wife cracks jokes at your expense, are the jokes something that you can both laugh at? Or are they barbs that are meant to hurt you, even if just a little bit? When they criticize, is it an attempt to be constructive and make things better, or do they want to cause you discomfort? 

It can be hard to tell if your partner is resentful. However, if you have a feeling or know that there are things they could be resentful for, this can be a sign that your spouse wants a divorce. It shows general unhappiness with your marriage and that they’re thinking of how much better their life would be outside of it. 

Resentment is more than just arguing; it involves how arguments are happening. The spouse stops arguing about the problem and instead argues about their partner. 

For example, instead of the problem being, “I want Thai food, but you want sushi,” the problem is, “We always get sushi! We never get what I want!” 

Sex Stops or Loses Passion

There’s an agreed-upon ‘fact’ that physical intimacy tends to fizzle down as marriages get on in years. So a slight dying down of sex doesn’t have to foreshadow a greater problem. However, when there is a sudden dive in sexual activity (or it stops completely), it can be a cause for concern.

Note: Like most things, a sudden lack of sex drive can mean a number of things, not necessarily disinterest. Talking to your partner is important. A lowered libido could mean depression, stress, or a number of other factors. 

You Feel Alone in Your Marriage

couple sad

This doesn’t just mean physically like we previously covered when discussing whether or not your spouse was ignoring you. It also means that you feel alone despite being right next to your spouse. There’s no laughter or discussion; any attempt to bridge the gap is met with stonewalling. 

Of all the signs that your husband wants a divorce, this can be the most hurtful to deal with. It can make any attempt to bridge things impossible because your husband or wife shows no interest in discussing things with you. It makes everyday life in your marriage difficult to bear, as the person that is supposed to be there to help you has completely disappeared. 

No Urge to Fix Things in Your Marriage

This is the key sign out of all of the others listed. Because, even in the happiest marriages, things happen. Things can get bad — stress piles on us and we snap badly at each other, we drift apart as the years go on, or the flame starts to flicker out. Those events can be normal and remedied with work, but only if both parties are willing to fix things. 

A couple that can get through these problems will want to work together to resolve them. However, if you bring up making an attempt to resolve some of the problems in your marriage and your spouse’s reaction is anger, indifference, or running away, then that can be worrisome. 

This lack of an urge to resolve marriage problems can be the biggest sign your spouse wants a divorce. So many issues can be handled with clear communication and a willingness to fix the problem, but without that, it doesn’t matter how good of a counselor you work with or how clear your communication is.  

Keep in mind that some men and women are frightened by the idea of “trying to fix things”. Sometimes they feel that a marriage is supposed to be ‘natural’, and conscious attempts to fix it would be ‘forcing it’. Other times, the idea of a meeting with a counselor is immediately dismissed because of a negative stigma. It’s important to know where a spouse’s objections to resolve your problems come from.  

What Should I Do If I See These Divorce Signs in My Marriage?

What Should I Do If I See These Divorce Signs in My Marriage

Remember that just because your husband or wife is ticking off a few of these boxes, it does NOT mean you should go straight to a divorce lawyer. It may just mean that you need to sit down and have a discussion, visit a counselor, work with a divorce coach, or even decide if you want to stay in the marriage. 

Just because a marriage is on the rocks doesn’t mean that it’s dead. However, it does mean that some action will need to be taken to help. 

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Tanya Land-Williams

As a personal life coach, I thought I was more prepared than anyone for what to anticipate as my own divorce loomed over me. I was wrong! So I’ve decided to help others as they face the same ordeal. What I share are some of the things no one told me, things I had to learn the hard way going through – and coming out on the other side of divorce.

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