No one goes into marriage wanting to get divorced.
Rather, we all have visions of finding our prince and living happily ever after.
Unfortunately, most marriages today end in divorce. Mine did after 18 years. It was a surprise to me but the signs were all there.
Since then, and working with many clients over the years, I have learned that there are 5 unmistakable signs that you are most likely to end up divorced and I can spot at 50 yards a couple who just won’t make it.
What are the signs that indicate you are most likely to end up divorced? Let me share…
#1 – Unrealistic expectations have been set.
Often times, when people enter into marriage, they believe that they have found their soul mate. That this person will be their lover and their best friend and the father of their children and that love will guide them through it all.
Unfortunately, these expectations just aren’t reality based. No one can be everything to one person. To expect someone to be everything to you is setting yourself up for disappointment.
People in the healthiest marriages are people who have many people in their lives, people who are their friends and mentors and support systems. They have their partner for love and intimacy but many other people who can be there for them, for fun and support.
So, go ahead. Marry that prince of yours. But be realistic in your expectations of what your relationship will look like and don’t let yourself be disappointed.
#2 – Communication has become impossible.
Marriages that end in divorce usually involve people who just can not communicate. They aren’t able to talk about their feelings and they aren’t able to listen to other’s talk about theirs.
Marriage is a lifetime journey and two people occupying the same space for such a long time can be challenging. To manage it effectively, it’s important that people communicate.
When issues arise, it is important that they are addressed head on, with clearly spoken words and someone on the receiving end to hear them. It is important that there is a give and take so that everyone’s needs are met so that both people feel safe and secure in the marriage.
Couples who can’t communicate, who aren’t able to share their issues, are couples who will start looking elsewhere for someone to be in a relationship with because the one they are in seems beyond repair.
#3 – People can’t read minds.
How many times have you thought He should know that I need him to pay attention to me after the kids go to bed. Who wouldn’t want that?
Yes, in the movies, the hero is always able to look at his woman and guess intuitively what she wants but, unfortunately, it just isn’t like that in real life.
IF you want something, ASK FOR IT. Tell you partner specifically what you need so that he can give it to you.
I can promise you that your man wants to do whatever it is that makes you happy but expecting him to read your mind about what it is is setting yourself up for disappointment. You might start searching for somebody else to read your mind and that could end your marriage quickly.
#4 – Things are taken personally.
I have a client who takes everything personally. She asked her husband to stop on his way home from work and look at the windows that she had chosen for their house renovation. Unfortunately, he forgot. Work got busy and then he got hungry and he just forgot.
My client, instead of being understanding or angry, took his actions a reflection of his feelings for her. If you loved me, she said, then you would have remembered to look at the windows.
My client’s husband, after 15 years of this kind of response to his actions, finally gave up trying to please her and left the marriage.
It is important that one understand that other people’s actions are not necessarily a reflection of the way they feel about you. Of course, at times they are, but to think that if every action your partner takes is a reflection of his feelings for you then your marriage is doomed.
So, when he lets you down, let him know that he did so but don’t think that it’s because he doesn’t love you. Because, most likely, he does.
#5 – Change doesn’t happen.
The number one reason why, after a tumultuous marriage, divorce happens is because people refuse to change.
Of course, as marriages go on for years, people evolve. After 20 years of marriage, I was definitely a different person than the bright eyed girl who walked down the aisle that day.
And, as my husband and I realized that we were no longer seeing eye to eye, we went to therapy. And in therapy we both identified things that needed to change for us to stay married.
Unfortunately, the things that needed to be changed – my lack of interest in sex and his interest in drinking – just weren’t changeable. We tried but, ultimately, we failed and we went our separate ways.
So, if faced with needing to make some change to save your marriage, work hard to do so. Divorce can be hard and if you can do anything to stop it, do it!
Marriage is messy. We all enter into it with the best intentions but we often get lost along the way.
If you want your marriage to succeed, make sure you choose someone you can talk to, don’t set your expectations too high, don’t expect mindreading or take things too personally and be willing to make change if it’s the right thing to do.
You can do it! It’s worth it!
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I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.