The Common Signs You Need a Divorce: A Detailed Guide

Though that oft-quoted statistic of 50% of marriages ending in divorce is declining, it is a sad but true fact that many marriages do end.

The signs you need a divorce can appear long before you even get married and many decades later. It is often no one’s fault. But the longer you stay together instead of getting a divorce, the unhappier you both will be.

And when you are brave enough to take the leap, you will both feel freer, lighter, and happier in the end. If you don’t leave it until things get bitter, you might even stay friends.

Not sure if your marriage problems are bad enough to be thinking about the “D” word? Here are some common signs to watch out for.

Most of Your Exchanges Are Negative

Think about the last three interactions you had with your partner. Were you chatting about the TV show you watched together or little Gracie’s ballet recital? Or were you arguing about socks on the floor, paying bills, or a forgotten errand?

Life is never sunshine and sparkles all the time. Every couple will argue sometimes, but the vast majority of your conversations should either be positive or neutral.

Couples need to be able to communicate their fears, wants, and needs to their spouse knowing that their partner will listen to them. And you should be able to disagree without raising your voice.

If not, that is a strong sign of serious marriage issues.

Your Reasons to Stay Together Are Not Good Ones

Many couples stay together too long because of “sunk cost”. This term refers to payments or resources you spent/used in the past and continue to spend/use only because of this past investment.

So, if you are staying married only because you have already spent a long time together, that is not a good reason. You are clinging to a relationship that no longer serves you and denying yourself future happiness.

Here are some other false reasons to stay together:

  • Family, friends, or kids will get upset
  • Too expensive or stressful
  • Want to stay in the family house
  • Like your lifestyle too much

These are all reasons to get divorced, not stay together. And if you have told yourself any one of these reasons, it is time to call a family attorney.

You Avoid Your Spouse When You Can

It might be subconscious at first, but if you find yourself staying out of your spouse’s way for any reason that is not a good sign. This might be working later than you need to or going to bed when you know they are already asleep.

Avoiding your spouse might also be because of the “ick.” This is a colloquial term for when partners start to find romantic contact with their partner off-putting. They avoid kissing, hugging, or having sex with their partner because they now find it repulsive.

There is often no coming back from the “ick” and it is one of the strongest signs you need a divorce.

You Tend to Complain About Them to Others

In stereotypical heteronormative relationships, wives complain about their husbands’ laziness with their friends. And husbands complain about their wives’ nagging. That’s normal, right?

But you should want to talk about your spouse’s achievements or what you both did together at the weekend, not their flaws. If you can only talk about your spouse in a bad light, that is not a great sign.

Your Values or Priorities Are Not Aligned

Not having the same values is one of the most obvious signs of a divorce. Does one of you want children and the other doesn’t? Does one of you want to stay in your small hometown and the other move to a big city?

If you do not have the same values, it will never work. And forcing the other to change their mind will only lead to resentment.

You Are Making Dramatic Lifestyle Changes

Are you or your partner making unexpected or out-of-character lifestyle changes? Has one of you picked up a gym habit, lost a lot of weight, started a time-consuming hobby, or changed your usual style?

This could be a good thing. It could mean you have a renewed interest in the relationship and want to improve yourself for your partner. But it could also mean that one of you is reinvesting in themselves and not the relationship.

Ask yourself whether this new change has created a positive impact elsewhere in the relationship. If it hasn’t, it could be one of the signs you need a divorce.

You Lead Separate Lives (Like Roommates)

Sometimes, couples on the verge of breaking up don’t shout, scream, or complain 24/7. They may coexist well. But that is all they are doing.


Do you do things together on a weekend and in the evenings? Do you eat meals together and have shared hobbies, interests, and friends? Because if you do not spend any fun time together, that does not sound like a healthy relationship.

Your Family and Friends Notice the Issues

Domestic violence victims can hide the cracks of their abusive relationships well. To their friends and family, they can appear happy and content in their marriage.

But in most other cases, your friends and family can tell that you are having serious marital issues even before you realize it. They notice it when you avoid your spouse at family gatherings and the way you talk to each other.

And most important of all, your closest loved ones know when you are not happy. And if you are not happy, you need to do something to change that.

Don’t Ignore These Signs You Need a Divorce

No one ever wants to admit that they need a divorce. It feels like a failure and no matter your circumstances, getting divorced is never easy. But if you recognize some of these signs you need a divorce, it might be something you should consider.

Not only for your sake but for your spouse and any family you have, too.

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