When asked why couples fight, separate, and eventually divorce, more often than not people point to three big issues: money, children, and cheating. However, there are several additional relationship woes that are less often discussed but equally damaging, according to marriage therapists. Below we will examine some of these potential signs of relationship demise and how they may impact the dynamics of the divorce process.
You Never Fight
Although it seems counter-intuitive, failure to argue can be a serious red flag in a relationship. The willingness to engage in an argument shows an investment in the outcome, while not caring enough to argue can be a sign that you or your spouse has checked-out of the relationship. If you and your partner have simply drifted apart over time, this may make for a more amicable divorce wherein both parties communicate, compromise, and ultimately split with mutual respect. In these situations, mediation can often provide an alternative avenue to traditional litigation, saving time, money, and stress for everyone involved.
Your In-Laws are a Third Party in Your Relationship
When you marry, your spouse’s parents become your “parents-in-law.” Unfortunately, this can provide certain parents with a sense of entitlement to comment on, intervene in, and otherwise attempt to control significant parts of your married life. Whether it involves the way you raise your children, the way you spend your money, where you live, or other issues, this overbearing behavior can create a massive rift in your marriage. If your spouse fails to deal with it appropriately, the divide between you can develop into an irreparable chasm that destroys your relationship. In certain situations, resentment against your former in-laws can lead to issues during or after divorce. For example, if you attempt to prevent the grandparents from seeing their grandchildren, they may seek visitation, creating further issues for you and your family.
Resentment Looms like a Black Cloud
Whether it is you or your spouse holding onto something from the past, this resentment can poison your relationship and continuously emerge when conflicts arise. For example, if your spouse always brings up a past mistake during current arguments, it is difficult to work through issues that arise in the here and now. Not only can resentment spell the end of a relationship, but it can also lead to the most acrimonious divorces, as former spouses are concerned more with punishing their partners than resolving issues and moving on.
“You’re Here but You’re Not Really Here”
You’ve heard the phrase so many times: “You’re here but you’re not really here.” When you and your spouse are not emotionally connected, it can feel similar to being in a crowded room yet totally alone. Physical presence is a start, but is by no means the only necessity for a successful relationship. Life is extraordinarily fast-paced and demanding, with work commitments, play dates, and phones that have become surrogate body-parts. However, failure to push all of the noise aside to truly connect with your partner can leave you feeling alone in the midst of your relationship. If this emotional disconnect does lead to divorce, it is essential to work on communication and compromise during the divorce process. Remembering that “life got in the way” can allow you to forgive yourself and your partner and to find neutral ground while working through important issues such as child custody, alimony, and division of assets.
“Opposites Attract” Backfires
Jerry Maguire said it best: “You complete me.” Many times, we are attracted to a counterpart that seems to compliment us, to fill-in the parts that we are missing, or provide a balance to our personality. For instance, she has a tendency to worry and he is very laid back. She is a social butterfly, while he prefers more time at home. Unfortunately, when you and your partner are too far apart on the personality spectrum, what initially attracted you to them can become a source of serious contention in your relationship. In these situations, it is best to share as much as possible with your divorce attorney so that he or she can develop the best approach for dealing with your spouse and his or her attorney during negotiations.
You Misinterpret Your Need for Space
In a relationship, we often operate under the misconception that we need to be with our partner all of the time. If they go somewhere or do something without us and we don’t miss them, we can perceive this as a sign that something is wrong. In fact, a relationship is not a full-time job. It is a partnership in which both individuals should have the space to pursue their own desires and interests. Balancing time together with time apart is extremely important to the success of a relationship and is much easier said than done. If you and your spouse have different ideas about time and can’t find common ground, your divorce can provide you with the opportunity to learn about yourself and your needs, preparing you for success in your next relationship.
For additional information pertaining to this issue, access the following article: The 6 Most Overlooked Reasons People Get Divorced